Little Shop of Horrors
Feed the need for musical hilarity with this delicious sci-fi smash about a man-eating plant.
Restrictions May Apply
Show Essentials

Full Synopsis


A voice, not unlike God's, describes a deadly threat to humanity's existence that has surfaced in the most unlikely of places. Crystal, Ronnette, and Chiffon come on and introduce...the Little Shop of Horrors. They warn the audience to beware of the dangers that lie ahead ("Little Shop of Horrors").

Act One

We are in Mushnik's Skid Row Florists shop. Hours slowly tic by on a clock. At 10 a.m. an earsplitting crash echoes from the back room. Seymour assures Mushnik, who is reading the paper, that nothing is broken. At 11;00, Audrey, Mushnik's dizzy blonde employee, comes in with a black eye. Even though he has had no customers all day, Mushnik scolds her tardiness as another crash erupts from the back room. Noticing Audrey's black eye, Mushnik suggests that her boyfriend is not a nice boy. Audrey reminds Mushnik that you don't meet nice boys on skid row. Seymour comes out and proceeds to dump a tray of re-potted plants. Mushnik yells at him, but Audrey intervenes. Fed up with everything, Mushnik chases Ronnette, Crystal and Chiffon off of his stoop. Things are rough for everyone in Skid Row, but Seymour has a dream to get out ("Downtown [Skid Row]").

At six o'clock, without having had a single customer, Mushnik announces that he is closing the flower shop for good. Seymour suggests that the shop should move in a new direction. He has been working on a strange and interesting plant, which he has named Audrey Two. Seymour says they could display Audrey Two in the window to attract customers. Mushnik scoffs, but a customer shows up and asks about the strange and interesting plant in the window. As the urchins back him up, Seymour describes how he bought the plant from an old Chinese man during a total eclipse of the sun ("Da-Doo"). Fascinated by the story, the Customer decides to buy one hundred dollars worth of roses. After the Customer leaves, Mushnik puts Audrey Two in the window and offers to take Seymour and Audrey out to dinner. Audrey declines because she has a date with her professional rebel boyfriend. Instead of dinner, Mushnik orders Seymour to stay with Audrey Two who looks unhealthy. Left alone with the plant, Seymour does not know what it needs - he's tried feeding it everything, but it's still sickly ("Grow For Me"). When Seymour accidentally pricks his finger on a rose, he realizes what Audrey Two is hungry for: blood.

Some time later, a radio show interviews Seymour proclaiming him a botanical genius for inventing a new kind of plant. Seymour reminds the listeners that Audrey Two is on display at Mushnik's Skid Row Florists. Although he is unhappy that Seymour did not give the shop's address, Mushnik is thrilled by his newfound success. Chiffon, Ronnette, and Crystal great Seymour upon his return and celebrate his success; meanwhile, Audrey Two is snapping at the humans ("Ya Never Know"). Audrey rushes on and apologizes to Seymour for missing the broadcast; she was handcuffed to her boyfriend. Ronnette, Chiffon, and Crystal suggest Audrey get a new man - Audrey doesn't think Seymour would want her. Still, she dreams of the life that she and Seymour could have in the suburbs ("Somewhere That's Green").

A week later, the flower shop is undergoing a major renovation. Because Audrey Two has been attracting a lot of customers, Mushnik, Seymour and Audrey are making much needed improvements to the store ("Closed for Renovation"). Audrey Two is now five feet tall with spiked leaves. Mushnik asks Seymour about a very important funeral account. When Seymour admits that he's forgotten about it, Mushnik yells at him and storms off. Audrey tells Seymour that she thinks Mushnik's too hard on him. Seymour feels he owes Mushnik for getting him out of the Skid Row Home for Boys when he was a child. Audrey thinks Seymour should raise his expectations and offers to take him shopping for new clothes. Surprised that Audrey wants to be seen in public with him, Seymour asks if she's free that night. Unfortunately, Audrey has a date.

Meanwhile, on the street, Orin Scrivello, in a black leather jacket, asks Crystal, Ronnette, and Chiffon where the flower shop is so he can pick up his date. Realizing that Orin gave Audrey her black eye, the girls descend on Orin and beat him up. Orin offers a truce and explains that he is not a monster. He explains his work requires a fascination with pain and suffering; he is a dentist and describes his life's calling to cause pain and misery ("Dentist!").

In the Florists, Orin is amazed by Audrey Two. He tells Seymour that he shouldn't stay on skid row because the plant is a ticket to something better. Audrey tries to explain that Seymour is loyal, but Orin ignores her. Seymour says he'll think about leaving like Orin said. Orin and Audrey leave. Mushnik has overheard this and he worries that Seymour will leave, and take Audrey Two. To get him to stay, Mushnik offers to adopt Seymour as his son ("Mushnik and Son"). Mushnik rushes off. Now happy that his luck has changed, but feeling dizzy from feeding Audrey Two so much of his own blood, Seymour starts to go to get some dinner. The plant wilts, but Seymour assures it that he will feed it in a few days. Suddenly the plant speaks. It demands to be fed. Seymour says he has no more blood left. The plant promises Seymour fame and success in exchange for more blood. Seymour has strong reservations about killing people, but the plant reminds Seymour that a lot of people deserve to die. At that very moment, Orin and Audrey return. Audrey has forgotten her sweater, and Orin slaps her around for it. Seymour and the plant reach the same conclusion about the plant food ("Git It").

Later, Seymour finds Orin at his office and points a gun at him. Orin easily takes the gun from Seymour, wrestles him into the dentist's chair, and threatens him with the drill. Orin then pulls out a container of laughing gas, complete with a gas mask and puts it on himself to get high. In a gassed-out blissful moment, Orin disappears behind the chair. Seymour realizes that he should kill Orin now while he has the opportunity, but he cannot bring himself to pull the trigger. Meanwhile, Orin cannot get his gas mask off and realizes that he could asphyxiate to death. After much internal ethical debate, Seymour decides not to remove Orin's gas mask. Consequently, Orin laughs himself to death ("Now [It's Just The Gas]").

As Seymour feeds Orin's body parts to the plant, Crystal, Ronnette, and Chiffon remark about the creepy things happening in the flower shop. Lighting strikes and all goes dark.

Act Two

The sign in the flower shop window now reads 'Mushnik and Son.' The store is bustling with phone calls and customers. Late for a meeting with his lawyer, Mushnik runs out as Seymour runs in after making another delivery. Audrey and Seymour handle a deluge of phone calls from customers ("Call Back In The Morning"). When the clock hits six, Audrey and Seymour are exhausted. Seymour tells Audrey that he's been shopping for a new wardrobe and shows off his new black leather jacket to her. Audrey is overcome with emotion. Seymour, taking off the jacket, tells her that he just wanted to impress her. Audrey admits that she feels guilty for being glad that Orin is missing, and she secretly hopes he had a terrible accident. Seymour tells her that she deserves a nice guy, but Audrey disagrees: she dances at a tasteless nightclub for extra money. Seymour sees the girl underneath the makeup and he vows to be her friend ("Suddenly Seymour"). Seymour and Audrey embrace passionately. Mushnik walks in on them. Staring at Seymour, Mushnik ominously asks Audrey if she'd like to visit her dentist friend. Seymour reminds Mushnik that Orin disappeared and sends Audrey home. When Audrey is gone, Mushnik notices little red dots on the floor. Seymour insists he spilled punch. Mushnik then informs Seymour that he was called to the police station because a Mushnik shopping bag was found in Orin's office. Mushnik charges over to the trash and pulls out a dentist's outfit; he accuses Seymour of killing the dentist in order to get his girl. Seymour maintains his innocence until Mushnik shows him a picture of his baseball cap that was found in Orin's office. Twoey starts to subconsciously urge Seymour to feed him, contending that Seymour will lose everything if Mushnik takes him to the police ("Suppertime"). Seymour tricks Mushnik into going inside the plant, which immediately eats him.

Distraught and disturbed, Seymour leaves the flower shop. Ronnette, Chiffon, and Crystal accost him like squealing teenage fans. They tell Seymour that another Uptown big shot is looking for him. Offers are coming in fast and furious from news programs, agents, and speaking tours. Realizing that his success will come with more killing, Seymour has secretly decided to kill the plant. However, he realizes Audrey might not like him without the success the plant has helped him win. Determined to keep Audrey, Seymour reneges on his decision and takes the offers as the girls remind him that the meek get what's coming to them ("The Meek Shall Inherit").

The plant, now taking up most of the stage, demands to be fed. Busy writing his lecture tour speech, Seymour promises that after they are photographed for Life Magazine, it will never be hungry again. The plant continues to demand food, and Seymour becomes hysterical. Audrey worries that the stress of running the shop is getting to Seymour. She asks when Mr. Mushnik will return. Seymour reminds her that he is visiting his sister in Czechoslovakia and will be gone a long time. Seymour asks Audrey if she would still like him without Audrey Two. Audrey admits that she'd still love him. Hearing this, Seymour decides to kill the plant after Life Magazine takes their picture; then Seymour and Audrey can have the suburban life together they always dreamed of. Audrey doesn't understand what Seymour is talking about. Assuring her that he will explain everything, he sends her home.

The clock strikes midnight and the plant continues to demand food. Seymour offers to get a pound of rare roast beef. The plant, seeing Audrey return, agrees. Seymour leaves. Unable to sleep, Audrey needs to talk to Seymour. The plant reveals it can talk, and then tricks her into getting close ("Sominex/Suppertime - Reprise"). It begins to eat her. Seymour charges in and pulls Audrey out of the plant. Weak and dying, Audrey asks Seymour about Mushnik and Orin. Seymour admits that he had fed them to the plant. Audrey tells Seymour to feed her dead body to the plant, so that the plant will bring him all the wonderful things he deserves. Seymour refuses, but Audrey convinces him that if she's inside the plant, they will always be together and she will finally be some place green like she always wanted ("Somewhere That's Green - Reprise"). He feeds her body to the plant.

Patrick Martin from World Botanical Enterprises enters, finding Seymour shattered by Audrey's demise. Martin wants to take leaf cutting from Audrey Two and sell them to every florist in America. Pretty soon, every household in America will have its own Audrey II. Martin goes back to his truck to get some flowerpots. Seymour realizes that the plant has been planning world conquest all along. The plant tells Seymour that it is too late to stop it. Seymour pulls out a gun and shoots the plant. The plant laughs. Seymour forces the plant to eat rat poison. The plant just spits it out. Seymour grabs a machete and climbs into the plant, intending to hack it up from the inside. The plant closes in on him and spits out the machete.

Martin returns with pruning shears and flowerpots. Ronnette, Chiffon, and Crystal describe how the plants ate Cleveland, Des Moines, Peoria, New York, and the theater. Audrey Two grows larger as the faces of Seymour, Mushnik, Audrey, and Orin appear in the plant's flowers. The faces warn the audience to avoid this fate ("Don't Feed The Plants"). As the company continues to warn to the audience not to feed the plants, vines come down over the audience's head, and the plant engulfs the theatre. Lights go to black as the audience is eaten.

← Back to Little Shop Of Horrors
Cast Size: Small (Up to 10 performers)
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

A Note on Casting and Setting

The description of the set and characters in the front of the libretto-vocal book for Little Shop of Horrors were derived from the original 1982 production's Stage Manager's script and are not meant to restrict the way in which licensees stage or cast their productions of the show. Rather, they are an insight into how that production was presented.

In casting your show, an inclusive approach is suggested. While any actor can play any role in the show (i.e., there are no requirements or restrictions other than to perform the book, music and lyrics as written), it is encouraged that the roles of Crystal, Ronnette, and Chiffon be played by actors of color. There is no such suggestion with regard to any of the other characters, regardless of how those characters have been cast in other productions. The gender of the characters, however, must remain as written in the script.

Seymour Krelborn
An insecure, put-upon florist's clerk and eventual hero. He is a genuine, well-meaning man who is taken for granted because of his clumsy ways and poor social skills.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: A2
Bleached-blond, Billie-Dawn-like, secret love of Seymour's life. She has poor self-worth and education, but incredibly good looks and a sweet and vulnerable demeanor.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: G#3
Mr. Mushnik
The seasoned owner of the failing East Side flower shop and Seymour's nosy boss. He is profit-driven, greedy, and manipulative.
Gender: male
Age: 55 to 65
Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: G2
Orin Scrivello
An egotistical dentist with a passion for leather and sadistic tendencies. Audrey's abusive boyfriend, who is targeted by Seymour.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 40
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: G2
The Plant (Audrey II)

Puppet. An anthropomorphic cross between a Venus flytrap and an avocado, the plant has an appetite for human flesh that is appeased by Seymour. Puppeteer doubles as other sizes of the plant.

Voice Of The Plant
An actor/vocalist located offstage. The voice is that of a conniving, street-smart 'villain.' A funky Rhythm and Blues voice is best.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 50
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: G2

Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon are Black street urchins, acting as the occasional Greek Chorus. Young, hip, and smart, these girls are the only ones who have a grip on reality.

Gender: female
Age: 20 to 35
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: Ab3

Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon are Black street urchins, acting as the occasional Greek Chorus. Young, hip, and smart, these girls are the only ones who have a grip on reality.

Gender: female
Age: 20 to 35
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: Ab3

Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon are Black street urchins, acting as the occasional Greek Chorus. Young, hip, and smart, these girls are the only ones who have a grip on reality.

Gender: female
Age: 20 to 35
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: Ab3
Full Song List
Little Shop Of Horrors: Prologue (Little Shop of Horrors)
Little Shop Of Horrors: Skid Row (Downtown)
Little Shop Of Horrors: Da - Doo
Little Shop Of Horrors: Grow for Me
Little Shop Of Horrors: You Never Know
Little Shop Of Horrors: Somewhere That s Green
Little Shop Of Horrors: Closed for Renovations
Little Shop Of Horrors: Be A Dentist
Little Shop Of Horrors: Mushnik and Son
Little Shop Of Horrors: Git It (Feed Me)
Little Shop Of Horrors: Now (It s Just the Gas)
Little Shop Of Horrors: Call Back in the Morning
Little Shop Of Horrors: Suddenly, Seymour
Little Shop Of Horrors: Suppertime
Little Shop Of Horrors: The Meek Shall Inherit
Little Shop Of Horrors: Finale (Don t Feed the Plants)

Show History


Little Shop Of Horrors, with book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken, is based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy film of the same name.  Ashman and Menken made many changes from the original film, such as moving the location from Los Angeles to New York and eliminating many characters in lieu of a smaller ensemble.  Arguably the largest change is in the ending, where instead of Mushnik and Audrey surviving to see the plant's carnivorous activities (as in the film), nearly all the characters are devoured by the plant.

This musical was only the second collaboration between Ashman and Menken, the first being a 1979 stage adaptation of a Kurt Vonnegut novel.  In writing the book, Ashman chose to use the frame of the story to satirize many different topics, including:  science fiction, "B" movies, musical comedy, and the Faust legend (in which a man sells his soul to the Devil).  In his music, Menken used many of the musical styles of the early 1960s, including rock and roll, doo-wop , and Motown.


Little Shop Of Horrors premiered on May 6, 1982 at the Workshop of the Players' Art Theatre.  It then opened off-Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre in New York City's East Village on July 27 of the same year.  The production was directed by book writer and lyricist Howard Ashman and starred Lee Wilkof, Ellen Greene, and Ron Taylor.  It closed on November 1, 1987 with 2,209 performances under its belt.  When propositioned for a Broadway transfer, Ashman elected not to, claiming the show was perfect for where it was.  The musical also had its West End premiere at the Comedy Theatre, produced by Cameron Mackintosh.  It ran for 813 performances from January 1, 1983 to October 5, 1985 and starred Barry James and Ellen Greene (reprising her role from New York).

A revival of Little Shop Of Horrors was planned in 2003 with an ultimate goal of Broadway.  A pre-Broadway tryout began at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, Florida on May 16, 2003.  Several people from the original 1982 production were involved; Lee Wilkof (the original Seymour) was cast as Mushnik, Connie Grapo (Wilkof's wife and the assistant to Ashman on the original production) directed, and Martin P. Robinson (the original designer of the Audrey II puppet) enlisted friends from the Jim Henson studio to create more high-tech puppets.  In addition to Wilkof, the production featured Hunter Thompson and Alice Ripley.  Mixed reviews caused the production to lose funding, but Broadway director Jerry Zaks quickly took the helm.  The revival finally opened on Broadway at the Virginia Theatre on October 2, 2003, featuring a completely new cast with the exception of Thompson.  It utilized a bigger theatre to expand its instrumentation and buffing/writing new songs entirely.  It closed on August 22, 2004 after 372 performances.

The musical has seen subsequent success after the Broadway revival.  A U.S. national tour ran from August 10, 2004 to April 16, 2006.  A London revival started running on November 17, 2006 at the Menier Chocolate Factory, featuring a new Audrey II design.  Becoming a success, the production transferred twice in its run, to both the Duke of Work's Theatre and the Ambassadors Theatre, before closing on September 8, 2007.  A UK touring production then launched in 2008.

Cultural Influence

  • An extremely popular film adaptation of the musical was released in 1986.  Directed by Frank Oz, it featured a screenplay entirely written by Howard Ashman and featured a new song written by Ashman and Alan Menken, "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space" (which went on to be nominated for an Academy Award).  It starred Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene (once again transferring from the original production), Vincent Gardenia, and Steve Martin.  After the musical's ending tested badly with audiences, the filmmakers chose to rewrite the ending completely, with a happy resolution for Seymour and Audrey.  The film received many positive critical accolades.
  • A Saturday morning animated cartoon entitled Little Shop, based on the musical, ran for one season in 1991. Inspired by the success of Frank Oz's film, the cartoon toned down a large amount of the dark humor and violence, but still featured the same characters.
  • By the time the original closed, Little Shop Of Horrors was both the third-longest running musical and the highest-grossing production in off-Broadway history.
  • The story of the musical has been parodied in various television shows, including Family Guy, American Dad, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, and The Simpsons.
  • The success of Little Shop Of Horrors put the team  of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken on the map.  That helped catch the attention of Disney, who hired the team to write all of the songs for the hit Disney films The Little MermaidBeauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.


  • Though not winning any major awards, the revivals of Little Shop Of Horrors have garnered a good amount of nominations.  With the 2003 Broadway revival, Hunter Thompson was nominated for both the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Seymour.  The production itself also received an Outer Critics Circle nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Kerry Butler as Audrey) and Outstanding Revival of a Musical nominations for both the Outer Critics Circle and Drama League awards.  With the 2006 West End Revival, the production was nominated for three Olivier Awards, including Best Musical Revival, Best Actress in a Musical (Sheridan Smith as Audrey), and Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Alistair McGowan as Orin, et al).
  • Despite only having its Broadway premiere in 2003, the Tony Award system felt that the commercial success of both the off-Broadway production and the feature film allowed it to qualify for nomination under the revival category.

Critical Reaction

"Leaves the audience... feeling just like Audrey II between victims – ravenous for more."
– The New York Times

"This horticultural horror will have you screaming with laughter...."
– New York Post

"Giddy, irresistible entertainment...."
– Women's Wear Daily

NY Drama Critics Circle Award

1983 - Best Musical, Winner (Little Shop of Horrors)

Drama Desk Award

1983 - Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Nominee (Ellen Greene)
1983 - Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Nominee (Ellen Green)
1983 - Outstanding Director-Musical, Nominee (Howard Ashman)
1983 - Outstanding Director Of A Musical, Nominee (Howard Ashman)
1983 - Outstanding Lyrics, Winner (Howard Ashman)
1983 - Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, Nominee (Franc Luz)
1983 - Outstanding Music, Nominee (Alan Menken)
1983 - Outstanding Lyrics, Winner (Howard Ashman)
1983 - Outstanding Musical, Winner (Little Shop of Horrors)
1983 - Outstanding Music, Nominee (Alan Menken)
1983 - Outstanding Special Effects, Winner (Ron Taylor & Martin P. Robinson)
1983 - Outstanding Musical, Winner ()
1983 - Outstanding Special Effects, Winner (Martin P. Robinson)
1983 - Outstanding Special Effects, Winner (Ron Taylor)
2004 - Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Nominee (Hunter Foster)

Outer Critics Circle Award

1983 - Best Off Broadway Musical, Winner (Little Shop of Horrors)

Oute Awardr Critics Circle

1983 - Best Score, Winner (Howard Ashman & Alan Menken)

Grammy Award

1983 - Best Musical Cast Show Album, Nominee (Alan Menken & Howard Ashman)

Academy Award

1987 - Best Original Song, Nominee (Howard Ashman & Alan Menken)

Tony® Award

2004 - Best Actor in a Musical, Nominee (Hunter Foster)


Playbill Vault
Lortel Archives (Original Off-Broadway Production)


Based on the film by Roger Corman, screenplay by Charles Griffith


You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
Book and Lyrics by
Music by
Based on the film by Roger Corman, Screenplay by Charles Griffith
Originally produced by the WPA Theatre (Kyle Renick, Producing Director)
Originally produced at the Orpheum Theatre, New York City by the WPA
Theatre, David Geffen, Cameron Mackintosh and the Shubert Organization
**The following acknowledgements shall appear in a separate box or area on the production staff information page of all theatre programs:**
was originally
Directed by Howard Ashman
Musical Staging by Edie Cowan
The following credits and clauses must be adhered to in regards to your production of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS:
You shall use only the original New York/London orchestrations and arrangements in connection with your presentation of the Play.  You shall accord the following billing credits (in size and prominence of type not less than that used for the designer’s credits) on the main credit page of all theatre programs
Vocal Arrangements
Robert Billig
Robert Merkin
Puppets (Audrey II)
You may copy the puppet designs of Martin Robinson only for the purpose of constructing puppets for the use in the presentation of the Play under this License, and the designs, puppets and/or any copies or derivations thereof shall not be sold or distributed to the public without the prior written permission of the Authors.  You shall promptly return the designs in good condition to MTI upon the termination of your rights under this License.  All puppets utilized by you based on Mr. Robinson’s designs shall have noted on them the following:

Copyright © 1982 by Martin P Robinson. All Rights Reserved.

If Mr. Robinson’s designs are utilized, you agree that he will receive billing in all houseboards, programs and in all advertising and publicity under your control, wherever and whenever any designer is billed, and in size and type of type equal to the most favorable accordrd any designer as follows:
Puppets Designed
Martin P. Robinson
You assume all risks and responsibilities in connection with the production, operation and use of the puppets, without recourse of any kind to MTI, the Authors and/or Mr. Robinson.  All expenses of any kind in connection with the production and operation of said puppets shall be borne entirely by you.  You hereby agree to indemify and hold harmless MTI, the Authors and/or Mr. Robinson from and against any and all charges, costs, expenses, risks, demands or claims made against any of them by reason of the making of, production, operation and/or use of said puppets.
You must include in prominent fashion in every program for your production of the Play the following warning:

Video Warning

In accordance with the Performance License, you MUST include the following warning in all programs and in a pre-show announcement:


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