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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the movie adaptation of Little Shop of Horrors. The musical was a huge success Off-Broadway and it would have been natural to move it to a larger, Broadway theatre. But David Geffen, who had underwritten the musical’s move from its original, ninety-eight-seat Off-Off-Broadway theatre, the WPA, to the Off-Broadway Orpheum, was now working in the movie industry, developing projects for Warner Bros., thus providing lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken with the unusual opportunity to develop a film adaptation of Little Shop. The film reconciles a broad understanding of what made the show work on the stage (by not allowing the landscape of the movie to become too large) with the need to accommodate a different medium (songs were dropped and new ones added). The movie was a huge success, showing how the behind-the-scenes decision to move to film rather than a Broadway theatre (as happened with the Off-Broadway Hair, for example) sustained Little Shop’s commercial and critical success.

Keywords: David Geffen, Little Shop of Horrors, Howard Ashman, Alan Menken, WPA

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