Pushcart Players Artistic Director Performs in “Little Shop of Horrors” at Short North Stage

L to R: Paul Whelihan, Turner Riley, & Mia Angelique in ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’ (Photo Credit: Jennifer Zmuda)

Pushcart Players artistic director, Paul Whelihan will be performing the role of Mr. Mushnik in the Short North Stage production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

This sci-fi, cult-hit musical comedy will play from March 17 through April 16 at the Garden Theater in Columbus, OH.

“Little Shop…” is a timeless tale of Seymour Krelborn, a meek floral assistant in New York’s Skid Row, who stumbles across a new breed of plant he names “Audrey II” (after his coworker crush).  The foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivorous plant promises unending fame and fortune to the down-and-out Krelborn as long as he keeps feeding it — blood.  Eventually, Seymour discovers Audrey II’s out of this world origins and intent toward global domination.  The production features stunning puppetry and favorite hit songs like “Suddenly Seymour,” “Skid Row,” and “Somewhere That’s Green,” and is directed by Thom Christopher Warren of Broadway’s “The Lion King.”

“Our ‘Skid Row’ is peopled by artists who see beyond the platinum wig and broken eye glasses, into a love story between two protagonists,” said Warren, “against whom the deck was simply stacked. Clearer still is the reminder that love, longing, and even capitalism exist beyond the parameters of gender or color, thriving within the full spectrum of human thought and behavior.”

Photo Credit: Mary Zass

Paul Whelihan performs, directs, and stage-manages off-Broadway (47th Street Theater, 59 East 59 Theatres, NY Fringe Festival, 54 Below, TheaterLab) and regionally (Bickford Theater, Forum Theater, Royal Poincianna, Broward Center, Centenary Stage, Growing Stage, Luna Stage Company, The Company Theater Group, Premiere Stages, Quillo Arts Center). Roles include Tevye in “Fiddler…,” Pseudolus in “…Forum,” Noah in “Two By Two,” Miss Texas in “Pageant,” and Crouch in “Not Now, Darling.” In the virtual world of last season, he performed the roles of Marc in “Art-The Play,” and Nunzo in “Over the River and through the Woods.” Whelihan originated the characters of Gruber in “The Flame Keeper,” Branch Rickey in “Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting,” Stanley in “Kiss the Bride,” and the Mayor in Sheldon Harnick’s “Dragons.” He has written and produced 10 plays for young audiences including the ground-breaking “Treasure Island,” in which the entire company spoke, sang, and used American Sign Language to illuminate the story.

“I think Thom Warren’s ‘Little Shop’ casting is inspired,” said Whelihan. “By departing from the traditional views of well-established characters, an inclusive, deeper resonance to their story emerges. I’m really grateful to be part of this unique interpretation. And grateful that I could keep my day job [Pushcart Players] while doing it!”

Pushcart Players is the award-winning professional touring theater company specializing in arts education for children. Twice nominated for an Emmy©, Pushcart is the recipient of numerous state and private awards for excellence and innovation. A social-profit organization founded in 1974, Pushcart brings substantive musical theater, workshops, and residencies to young people and their families in schools and theaters nationwide. The company has traveled more than 6.5 million miles nationally and abroad, from the rural red schoolhouse to the nation’s White House. (www.pushcartplayers.org)

Short North Stage is a professional theater company dedicated to bringing first-class live performance to the Short North Arts District in Columbus. Residing in the distinctive and historic Garden Theater, Short North Stage hosts and produces performances weekly, ranging from Broadway classics and edgy off-Broadway musicals, comedies and dramas to cabarets, dance and everything in between. With three performance venues within the Garden Theater, including the original main auditorium, the intimate Green Room, and Ethel’s Stage Left Lounge, each show brings a truly unique experience. (www.shortnorthstage.org)

“Little Shop of Horrors” show times are 7pm Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and 2pm Sundays and select Saturdays at The Garden Theater, 1187 North High Street, Columbus, OH. Tickets range from $39 – $54 with student rush tickets available for $20 at the door. Group discounts are available. Short North Stage offers Opening Night Party event tickets available for Friday, March 18 that include food and beverage with the cast after the show. Visit www.cbusarts.com for ticketing more information.

Information can also be found on BroadwayWorld

Leave a Reply