In the eyes of the director: Lacey’s vision for “Little Shop”

Picture 10Where do a geeky florist, a tragic debutante and a carnivorous plant meet? Yes that’s right, in “Little Shop of Horrors.” The Bellevue College Theatre Arts Department has a new musical brewing. The actors, crewmembers and the production team spend their nights at rehearsal in preparation for the performance of “Little Shop” from March 6-9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Carlson Theatre.

As sets are built, costumes are constructed and lines are memorized, Phil Lacey guides the cast and crew to the creation of an impressive production. Lacey earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Performance with an emphasis in dance from Whitworth University. Lacey has worked in the Seattle area professionally for the last seven years.

Lacey discovered his directing abilities when he was a child. The oldest of three boys, he would orchestrate his brothers into musical or “circus” performances in elementary school. The progression of his career led him to BC’s Theatre Arts Department. For Lacey, “Little Shop of Horrors” is intriguing because much of its quality lies under the surface. “Yes, it is about a geeky florist, a tragic debutante and a carnivorous plant from outer space, and that’s a fun place to begin. But when you delve into the relationships and the light and darkness that resides within all of us, you reveal a much more convoluted and exciting show,” said Lacey.

Lacey and the production team decided to set the show in the original Skid Row, Pioneer Square, which puts the action in BC’s backyard. “I think that this darker, more dramatic show, which is still hilarious, will appeal especially to college students looking for something new and exciting,” said Lacey.

Lacey has a straightforward approach to directing the cast. “I’m trying to get the cast to find truth in these characters. Yes, they are iconic geeks and debutantes and villains that must be played with a heightened sense of theatricality, but deep truths about ourselves are found in the characters as well,” he said.

The production team’s job is crucial at this point of preparation for “Little Shop.” Lacey gave an update on current building progress of the show. “[Our] music director Sara Hanson and choreographer Eva Stone are doing spectacular work shaping the style and sound of the show. The set designer Jason Philips, costume designer Anastasia Armes and lighting designer Evan Ritter have embraced this more gritty take on the show and are creating the world of the 1960s Pioneer Square with a truly gorgeous vision. The lovely and talented Liz Craswell is ruling us all with a benevolent fist of iron as the stage manager,” he said.

With final exams approaching on March 18-20, students will need study breaks and entertainment. “Little Shop of Horrors,” should provide comedic relief for stressed out students. The  $10 admission fee is money well spent for a night singing along to Alan Menken’s classic showtunes. Come spend a night with Seymour, Audrey, Mushnik, “Audrey II” and company  to appreciate what Phil Lacey and the production team puts together.