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Strom Thurmond Theatre Performances of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Begin Saturday, November 4

Johnston, SC – Music and choreography will be a huge part of the attraction for Strom Thurmond High School Theatre’s performances of the musical Little Shop of Horrors. Placed in the capable hands of musical director Claire Henry and choreographer Julia Crider, patrons are sure to be thrilled by the volume of talent on display when the show opens tomorrow (Nov. 4), at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets may be purchased for Little Shop of Horrors at

Directing a show’s musical performance can offer any number of challenges, including matching student voices with music written specifically for adults. Claire Henry says Strom Thurmond Theatre’s students have already exceeded her expectations.

“It can be tricky because you are asking high school students, who have young voices, to sing three and four part harmony in registers that are pretty high and challenging,” stated Henry. “They’ve been doing a great job and have been so impressive.”

Henry says the cast has continued to press toward excellence ahead of this weekend’s opening.

“There is always room for them to grow, but they’ve been getting better and better every night” commented Henry. “You never know what may happen the week of a show or before a show. That’s part of what is so thrilling about theater, because you just have to expect the unexpected.”

Cast members for Little Shop of Horrors include Mina Allen (Chiffon); Riley Brightharp (Du-Wop); Lillian Cockrell (Ensemble/Skip Snip); Natalie Dolph (Du-Wop); Dixie Drylie (Ensemble); Shamarion Freeman (Ensemble); Hayden Gregory (Ensemble); Kaylee Hallman (Ensemble/Mrs. Luce); Molly Harling (Audrey); Ty'Aijah Johnson (Plant Voice); Jericka Jones (Ensemble); KMari Jones (Ensemble); Dawson Kulp (Seymour Krelborn); Reece Lowe (Mr. Mushnik); Truman Massey (Ensemble); Ella Mathis Miller (Ronette); Nate Millings (Patrick Martin/Wino); Olivia O’Gorman (Ensemble); Gillian O’Gorman (Ensemble); Lindy O’Sullivan (Ensemble); Michaela Owen (Ensemble); Klara Rochau (Ensemble); Makayla Rushton (Du-Wop); Sunaisia  Saxon (Crystal); Kiersten Skinner (Ensemble/Bernstein); Allie-Grace Smith (Ensemble); Lilly Smith (Ensemble); Mason Toothman (Wino/Plant Operator); Erin Williams (Ensemble/Customer); Evan Williams (Orin Scravello); Harmony Williams Talbert (Ensemble); and Adelaide  Zelmer (Ensemble).    

For this production of Little Shop of Horrors, Strom Thurmond Theatre will be utilizing a different soundtrack, one with a more contemporary sound.

“We opted to use the new Broadway soundtrack, which replaces a traditional pit orchestra with more of a band and that’s fun,” said Henry. “It’s a little newer and more upbeat while still remaining timeless and fun.”

“As the music goes on, I just love the harmonies of the Du-Wops because girls singing in three-part harmony, you just cannot beat it,” Henry added. “There are upbeat songs and ballads. It’s just great. Every song has been a delight.”

For Crider, choreographing a show like Little Shop of Horrors can be time-consuming, needing sometimes two to three hours for each song. It’s a labor of love, for sure.

“It’s just me in my living room with my headphones so I’m not disturbing anyone,” she said.

Challenges for a choreographer can include a limited amount of practice time with the actors and varying levels of dance experience.

“My philosophy is if I can create something simple for them that makes them look good, that’s better than some fancy dance move no one can do, or something only half of them can do,” said Crider. “I try to come in at a middle ground and then if we can bump it up or we can also make it a little bit easier if we need to do that. It’s a real partnership because they are the ones that are actually doing it, so I give them the opportunity to make it their own.”

A challenge for cast members, especially the Du-Wops and those portraying members of the skid row, is how to continue to engage the audience with excitement while staying in character as someone down on their luck.

“We want them to have energy and get people to watch them, but they also have to be miserable as part of skid row,” she said. “Those are the types of things we’ve worked on.”

“I love this show,” she added. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Henry and Crider represent the tip of a very talented iceberg when it comes to supporting roles for the new show. Crew members include the following individuals: Set Design (Tyler McKinney); Sound Design  (Tyler McKinney); Lighting Design (Cory Herbst); Tracks Operator (Blair Massey); Box Office (Brenda McKinney); Ushers (Breylie Hodson, Elaina Clarke, Julie Palma, Aliese Upson and Haylynn Smith); Dessert Theatre (Blair Massey and Brenda McKinney); Dessert Theatre and Lobby Assistants (Stephanie Wallace, Liz O’Gorman and Victoria Adsit); Stage Manager (Lauren Ginn); Stage Crew (Lynn Rearden, Sarah Dampier, Eric Zelmer and Cameron Allen); Building Construction (Tyler McKinney, Steven McKinney, Brenda McKinney, Lauren Ginn, Lynn Rearden, Reece Lowe, Molly Harling, Ella Miller, Tucker Miller, Heyl Lowe, Derek  Zelmer, Adelaide Zelmer and Mary Grace Fallaw); Props (Lynn Rearden, Steven McKinney and Brenda McKinney); Spot Light Operators (Jenysus Washington and Peyton Gregory).

Public performances of Little Shop of Horrors will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 5, 2023, at 3:30 p.m. A second pair of performances will be held on Saturday, November 11, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 12, 2023, at 3:30 p.m.

ECSD Public Information