#TheaterPH - The Sandbox Collective Stages Campy Cult Classic Little Shop of Horrors

On the heels of their sensational season opener, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Sandbox Collective is set to open the second show of their 10th anniversary season, Little Shop of Horrors: A Bloodthirsty Musical Comedy.

Directed by The Sandbox Collective’s managing artistic director, Toff de Venecia, the show is set to return to the company’s roots of producing groundbreaking and cutting-edge theatrical work. While in recent years, The Sandbox Collective has gained a reputation for interactive and immersive productions, Little Shop of Horrors, says De Venecia, will instead highlight a different side of theater. “Little Shop of Horrors has always been like musical theater of the absurd. A talking plant that eats people? It doesn’t get any more absurd than that. Exploring the show from that theatrical vantage point will allow us to dream up a surrealist world in which to bring to life this beloved classic with tinges of horror, whimsy, and hope.”

The cast will feature Reb Atadero and Nyoy Volante alternating in the role of the lovelorn Seymour. Last seen as Mark Cohen in Rent, Reb is an actor, singer, host, voice actor, director, and content creator. He was also recently seen on stage as M in Lungs, and Michael in Tick, Tick…Boom! Reb is an Aliw Award and Philstage Gawad Buhay nominee for multiple productions. “King of Acoustic Pop” Nyoy Volante was last seen in The Sandbox Collective’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. A multi-awarded singer-songwriter, TV, Film and Theater actor, Nyoy enjoyed a critically-acclaimed run as Lola in Kinky Boots, and has been hailed for many performances onstage. He is a resident judge in Tawag ng Tanghalan on It’s Showtime, the country’s longest-running singing competition.

Sharing the role of the unlucky-in-love heroine Audrey will be Sue Ramirez and Karylle Tatlonghari. Making her theatrical debut, Sue Ramirez is a film & TV actress whose performances have crossed genres, with Ang Babaeng Allergic sa Wi-Fi, The Broken Marriage Vow, and Dead Kids among them. Sue is a two-time Star Awards nominee, for her performances in Love Lockdown and Just The Way You Are. Last seen onstage in Rama, Hari, Karylle is a multi-awarded singer, actress, and longtime co-host of It’s Showtime. Other theatrical performances include The Sound of Music, Cinderella, and Carousel. With a career spanning decades, Karylle has received nominations from Gawad Buhay, the PMPC Star Awards, the Awit Awards, and Monaco’s Golden Nymph Awards.

The villainous dentist Orin will be played by Markki Stroem and David Ezra. Markki is a singer, theater and film actor, and radio DJ. A Cornerstone Talent since he first joined Pilipinas Got Talent, he can currently be heard every weekday morning on The Morning Rush RX93.1 and will be representing the Philippines in Mr. Universe 2024 later this year. His stage credits include Next To Normal, Camp Rock, Carrie, Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady, Jersey Boys, Awitin Mo At Isasayaw Ko, Hair, Side Show, Angels In America, Mula Sa Buwan, Sound of Music, and most recently concluded his run as Benny Coffin III and Tom Collins in Rent. Making his theatrical comeback, David is a two-time Aliw Awardee, winning Best Actor in a Musical consecutively in 2017 & 2018 for his performances in Aurelio Sedisyoso and Binondo: A Tsinoy Musical. He has also won the Aliw Awards for Best New Artist and Best Concert Collaboration. David was also seen as Heneral Emilio Aguinaldo in Mabining Mandirigma, Ibalong: The Musical, Himala: Ang Musikal, Sideshow, and Ang Huling El Bimbo.

Portraying the flower shop’s proprietor, Mr. Mushnik, is First Gentleman of Philippine Theater Audie Gemora. Multi-awarded theater luminary and current president of Philstage, Audie has appeared in over 40 plays from Broadway/West End productions to original Filipino works. He has won Gawad Buhay awards for his performances in Sweeney Todd, The Producers, La Cage Aux Folles, and in 2019, won Best Actor in a Play at the Aliw Awards for his performance in The Dresser. Audie was last seen in The Sandbox Collective’s 10th season opener The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Stepping into the role of the bloodthirsty plant Audrey II is singer and actor OJ Mariano. Best known for his work with The Company, OJ has also appeared in Sweet Charity, Rent, Company, and Ang Huling El Bimbo. Julia Serad, who plays one of the street urchins, will also play Audrey II in select performances.

The Street Urchins will be played by Julia Serad, Abi Sulit, Paula Paguio, and Mikee Baskiñas (who doubles as female cover) in select performances. 

Julia, who will also be playing Audrey II at select performances, competed in the 2015 World Championships of Performing Arts and brought home 5 gold medals for the Philippines. She successfully represented Mindanao in GMA 7’s The Clash and secured her seat as one of the top five finalists. Julia received a Gawad Buhay citation for her performance as the Queen in Snow White and the Prince. She was most recently seen in Buruguduystunstugudunstuy: Ang Parokya ni Edgar Musical. Abi was most recently seen in Rent, Snow White and the Prince, and Daluyong ng Diwa. Her other theater credits include Sa Wakas, Hair, Godspell, Rak of Aegis, Once on This Island, and Shrek. Paula is a singer-songwriter and is also known as The Chameleon Diva. She was the voice behind the iconic song “Pop-Off Ate” which was featured in the 1st season of Drag Race Philippines. Her other notable performances include: Guadualupe: The Musical, Miong, Carousel, and Pingkian: Isang Musikal. Mikee is a soprano alumna and former Vice President for Personnel of the UP Los Baños Choral Ensemble. Mikee pursued a career in musical theater, joining productions like Guadalupe The Musical, Mabining Mandirigma: A Steampunk Musical, Showstoppers, and Musikal II. A voice teacher and vocal coach of P-pop artists and groups.

Originally staged in 1982 off-off-Broadway and turned into a musical film in 1986, Little Shop of Horrors is based on the film by Roger Corman, with screenplay by Charles Griffith.

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is directed by Toff de Venecia, with Ejay Yatco as musical director, Mio Infante as scenographer, Kayla Teodoro as puppet designer, Stephen Viñas as choreographer, Joseph Matheu as lighting designer, Joee Mejias as video designer, Philleep Masaquel as technical director, Elliza Aurelio as FOH, hair and makeup head, JV Rabano and Lorenzo Corro as photographers.

Heading the production team is executive producer Anna Santamaria, together with Sab Jose-Gregorio as marketing and PR director, Maine Manalansan-Veneracion as design director, Charyl De Guzman as production manager, Loreta Arroyo as marketing & PR manager, Salve Van Schoonhoven, Myka Cue and Mariella Laurel as marketing and PR associates, Marielle Filoteo as social media associate and Pachot Festejo as stage manager

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS will run all weekends from July 6 to 28, 2024 at the at the Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Theater, Bonifacio Global City. Shows will run at 3:00 pm & 7:30 pm on Saturdays & Sundays, and 8:00 pm on Fridays. Stay tuned for further announcements! 

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