Feeding Audrey II: Evansville group gets help putting on show

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Ann Fiore
Wednesday, July 2, 2014

EVANSVILLE—“Feed me!” the carnivorous plant named Audrey II demands in “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Turns out, Audrey II craves not only flesh and blood, but also cold, hard cash.

This year, Evansville Community Theatre was able to feed both needs. Through a creative fundraising campaign, the theater group rustled up enough money to rent the authentic Audrey II puppet—and insure it, too.

“That's always been the sticking point why we've never done it (the musical). It's very expensive to rent,” said spokesman Dan Winter, referring to the pricey puppet. “It's kind of a big undertaking for a small theater.”

“Little Shop of Horrors” is a musical comedy about a skid-row floral assistant named Seymour, who becomes an overnight sensation after discovering a blood-loving exotic plant from outer space.

ECT will perform “Little Shop” the weekends of July 11-13 and 18-19 at Evansville High School.

Winter estimates that the theater group has raised more than $2,500 for the show.

Part of that came from a campaign through Indiegogo, an international crowdfunding website. The group made a video plea, and the website posted it. Lots of donations came from the Evansville area, Winter said, but many others came from strangers.

The rest of the money came from selling billboard-type signs that will line the set. Local businesses that invested got a few perks. If audiences look closely at the bums wandering on skid row, they might see lawyer Wally Shannon, bank president Steve Eager and certified public accountant Roger Roth among them.

“We did a really good job, I think, of getting the community involved,” Winter said.

Fate also smiled on the cast of “Little Shop,” which has both local and nonlocal actors from Verona, Fitchburg and Middleton.

Much of the fundraising kitty will pay for Audrey II's rental and insurance. The puppet appears in shows around the country, and the insurance protects it in case it's damaged.

Despite the expense, Winter's voice rose with excitement Monday as he confided that several crates containing Audrey II had just been delivered.

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