As she prepares to say goodbye to Little Shop of Horrors after an extended run, Lena Hall called the role a “bucket list” moment in her impressive career. “Ever since I was a little kid, I used to sing along to it. We have the cast recording, I believe on tape, and my sister and I would just like sing all the songs all the time,” she told HollywoodLife.com in an EXCLUSIVE interview, admitting she had “only ever known the movie.” “I had never seen an actual production of the show until I joined the show!” she laughed.
Lena joined the long-running production of the Alan Menken cult-classic in October, just in time for spooky season, and has remained as Audrey since. “I love working with Michael Mayer and he had just floated the idea by me a while ago was like, ‘would you ever be interested in playing Audrey?’ and I was like, ‘hell yeah!’ That is like such a dream role,” Lena recalled. “Then that became a reality! I did it because of Michael and because the production is like second to none!”
The first ever performance of Little Shop was in 1982, and when asked why she believes the show has withstood the test of time, Lena said she believes it’s because it’s so relatable to “what we’re all going through.” “It was written at the time of the Cold War, which made a lot of sense because it’s this small thing, a plant, and you don’t know what it is and you mess with it and futz with it and feed it and it gets bigger and bigger and become so so powerful, you can’t control it anymore. And here we are again, we’re staring at that similar situation yet again,” she explained. “And even still, the metaphor can be the fame monster. People get so desperate for fame, they forgo their morals just to make it happen and it becomes this monster inside of them that just takes over and makes them do things they would never do.”
When considering the character make-up of Audrey, the Tony Award winner admitted she was “surprised” to find how “insecure” the young woman is. “She has no self esteem and nor would you having grown up in the situation that she grows up in,” Lena explained. “When I was hearing the lyrics and learning the songs, and breaking down the character, she’s been through a lot. She’s a really, really tough girl, but she has no self esteem, which is why she allows someone like Orrin to hurt her, because she doesn’t think that she deserves any better.”
“It was surprising, but as the layers started to pile on, it became so clear to me who she is,” Lena said. The star continues as Audrey in Little Shop Of Horrors at the Westside Theater in NYC through the first week of February. Get your tickets now!