Ursula the Sea Witch and the Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors were both villains featured on my “31 Days of Villains” Pinterest board that I completed throughout the month of October. Posting these two back-to-back got me thinking about certain similarities they shared.
First, a little history. In 1982, Little Shop of Horrors, a musical based on a 1960 B-movie, premiered Off-Off-Broadway, later transferring Off-Broadway for an award-winning and successful 5-year run (which my parents and grandparents actually saw, for the record).
The musical, for those who don’t know, concerned hapless florist Seymour Krelbourne who, upon finding a “strange and interesting plant,” finds his luck changing as the plant, named “Audrey II” after the lovely co-worker he has a crush on, gains fame for its peculiarity. The catch: It can only grow by feeding on blood. As the plant gets bigger (and starts talking), Seymour finds he can no longer feed it on his own, and is prompted by the plant to start killing people to keep it, and his fortunes, alive.
The plant is eventually revealed to have plans to spread, feast on blood, and take over the world. And, based on the ending of the original show, it does! *
Seven years later, Disney released The Little Mermaid, a film which jet-launched the company out of its animation slump and into the Disney Renaissance, which later lead to the establishment of the Disney Princess line. It won an Oscar for “Under the Sea,” the first of Disney wins in the Best Original Song category throughout the ’90s. (I think we all know the plot well enough that I don’t have to reiterate it here).
A trash-talking show about a bloodthirsty plant, and a quintessential, squeaky-clean Disney Princess film. What could these musicals possibly have in common?
Well, for one, their music teams.