Lyric Arts had the opportunity to discuss Little Shop of Horrors with David Ulrich who plays a sadistic dentist, Orin Scrivello D.D.S. Check out what this multi-talented character had to share with Lyric Arts.
LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular rock musical interested you?
DU: Every music number is a hit. And this isn’t an easy show to do. You have to have a very talented cast to pull off a ‘big’ musical with only nine actors. Not many theatre companies can pull it off and I waited for over ten years to do this show with the right people at the right company.
LA: Talk about the character that you play in Little Shop of Horrors. How have you developed this character?
DU: I couldn’t be having more fun. Not only do I get to play the sadistic character of Orin Scrivello, D.D.S. – but I play most of the other male roles in the show as well. They all need to be defined so the audience has the illusion of five very different characters. Yup, I play FIVE; including a woman!
The character of the Dentist is tricky. He is very abusive to his girlfriend, Audrey. But he also needs to be affable and funny. After all, the Dentist isn’t the villain in this story, it’s the plant. I just read the script and let the authors words tell me what they need to say about the character. But I also have an arsenal of past characters I’ve played and scores of film and TV characters to pull from.
LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
DU: They are all so talented it’s hard to single out anything. It can be easy to copy the movie but I don’t see any of that happening here. Sarah, the woman playing Audrey, is a fabulous performer. It’s hard to think about Little Shop without the amazing performance of Ellen Greene but Sarah is doing the role with that same, sweet ‘naïve is bliss’ but bringing her own elements to the role.
One of my favorite things about being an actor is having that ‘backstage access’ that no one else sees. We come to rehearsal in our street clothes and talk about our lives outside the theatre. We watch each other create, make mistakes, ‘nail it’ for the first time. It’s such a treat to see the characters that you see, but also see how different we all are from these people we make up in our minds. Because you are so exposed when creating, you immediately bond and become a family. That’s ONE of my favorite things about this process.
Okay, I’ll say it. Our Do-Wop girls are all white. Their roles are typically played by all black women. It requires this sensual affair with music and done in a Supreme’s meets Tina Turner attitude. They all are gifted singers and they have created such a wonderful trio that, despite your love affair with the original, you’ll be thankful you witnessed these girls perform.
LA: Being that Anoka is the Halloween Capital of the World, how is this show appropriate for the Halloween season?
DU: Well, you better get your tickets now because this is the PERFECT Halloween show! It has a man eating plant for goodness sake.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
DU: I have been working in marketing and brand promotions for the last six years. But with a twist. I live onboard cruise ships for much of the year and promote everything from restaurants in ports of call to luxury watches and jewelry. I am looking to relocate here to Minneapolis so if you want an experience brand manager AND want to get free tickets to every show I’m in, just meet me after the show and I’ll give you my resume!
LA: Any other area that you would like to comment on?
DU: It’s always strange performing at a new company. You get comfortable with the people around you; the actors, musicians, technicians and director. Learning a new place is both nerve wracking and exhilarating. The entire staff at Lyric Arts and the production team for Little Shop have made this such a positive experience and I can’t wait to work with these people again. Thank you so much for supporting local theatre!!!
LA: Little Shop of Horrors opens Friday, October 16, and runs through Sunday, November 1. Tickets available by phone (763-422-1838) or online.