Arts & Entertainment

Little Shop Comes to Hopatcong

Patric McGuire sitting in the back of Audrey II to control her "eating." Credits: By Jane Primerano
Audrey I, Cassidy Sandry, waters Audrey II. Credits: By Jane Primerano
Audrey II sucks Audrey I into her giant maw. Credits: By Jane Primerano
Audrey I is eaten by Audrey II Credits: By Jane Primerano
Audrey II starts out as a tiny plant. Credits: By Jane Primerano

HOPATCONG, NJ – The real star of Hopatcong High School’s spring musical is hulking, green and covered in Spandex.

The musical is “Little Shop of Horrors,” possibly the least cuddly collaboration between Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, who created the big Disney movies of the 1980's and 90's.

Audrey II, the flesh-eating plant is shown in four sizes, from fitting in a two-pound Maxwell House can to large enough to eat the cast.

Sign Up for E-News

“We spent several long nights here,” commented Michael Batche, the show’s technical director, on the work he and art teacher George Segale did on the four Audreys.

The public gets a chance to see how they did, and how the students perform, on Thursday, April 18; Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20 at 7 p.m., and on Sunday, April 21 at 2 p.m., in the high school auditorium.

On Thursday, after school, they were done with rehearsals, but working on an informal run-through.

“They are a very enthusiastic group,’ noted Joe Ross, director of all Hopatcong plays for the past decade.

He and the students do a straight play each fall and a musical each spring.

Ross and Batche picked the offbeat musical.

"And the music department liked it, too.” Ross said.

The pit orchestra is made up of students and professionals, conducted by Matt Testa.

Besides Audrey II, the stars are students, led by Kevin Foy as Seymour who owns the flower shop in the title. A senior, Kevin has been in seven plays since freshman year. A first this time is his having to sport a faux arm, and operate a puppet Audrey as he carries her. Wearing a Navy jacket during the run-through, Foy said he will probably enlist after graduation.

The female lead is Audrey I, played by Cassidy Sandry, a sophomore doing her fifth play. She was practicing her pratfalls, as she is eaten by Audrey II while watering her.

Mushnik is Alexander Lekhtman, a senior in his first play.

"I have done track every spring since fifth grade,” he explained. “That dissuaded me from doing plays, but I always wanted to and my senior year, I knew I had to do it at least once.”

He is headed to New York University to study music.

Unseen but important to the show is Patric McGuire who operates the largest Audrey II. He sits on a bench in the back of the plant and makes her snap and chew. The folks “eaten” by Audrey II can crawl past him out the back.

McGuire was approached by the faculty.

“The last play I was in was eighth grade,” he said, noting he was seen on stage then.

He will attend County College of Morris in the fall and then plans to attend The Art Institute either in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.

Ryan Taesler operates the third Audrey II pod.

"It’s hard work,” he said, “you need muscle.”

A freshman, he noted he auditioned before the pods were created.

Also hidden from view is Sierra Hudson, the voice of Audrey II. A senior, she has also been in seven out of eight plays. This time, she stands offstage and recites Audrey II’s dialogue. She describes the theatre group as “just like a big family.” She will attend Seton Hall in the fall, majoring in marketing and communication.

Ross admits “Little Shop” is the most technically complicated show he has put on, and it cost money to build the four pods.

“It’s not a cheap show,” he added.

The rest of the cast is: Chase Wolff as Orin Scrivella; Gregory Pellinger as the puppeteer of the first Audrey II puppet; Ashley Cole, Emily and Shaina DiNapoli, Jeanette Larosiliere, Alexis Lerner and Keely Johnson as “The Ronnettes;” Sean Higgins as SkipSnip, Michelle Reid as Mrs. Luce; Brady Dougherty as the radio interviewer’ Alexis Mott as Patricia Martin nad Cristian Delgado as Mr. Bernstein.

Other members of the crew are Amanda Anastasia, Amanda Feeley, Tina Glosser, Jen Levine, Kirsten Maegerlein, Emily Magyar, Joe Nowak, Allie Rohlff, Angela Schooner, and Andre Tan.


Follow The Alternative Press for Sussex County News and information, as well as news and information on The Alternative Press of Sussex County's Facebook Page.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police: Drunk Brooklyn Man Asks Police to Shoot Him

May 20, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A Brooklyn man was taken for observation when he asked police to shoot him after having crashed his car down an embankment on County Road 517 near the Sparta Middle School.  On May 17 around 2:06 a.m. Sparta Police Officers Brian Porter and Timothy Lynott found Joshua Lindland of Brooklyn asleep in the driver’s seat of a gray Audi against a tree, police ...

Sparta Police: Passengers Face Drug Charges in Traffic Stop

SPARTA, NJ – Two Wantage women face drug charges after the car they were in was stopped for a broken headlight on Route 15.  On May 5 around 2 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Ben Griffin pulled over Alex Torres, 22, driving a white Honda Accord with two passengers, police say.

The officer saw a metal marijuana grinder behind the driver’s seat.  The car and ...

JCP&L Latest Information, Free Ice and Water

SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ – As of 8:47 p.m. JCP&L is reporting 12,745 customers or 22.11 percent, are without power in Sussex County.  In Sparta 2749 or 32 percent remain in the dark.

JCP&L said they anticipate the “vast majority of the remaining customers to be restored to service by late Thursday.”

JCP&L customers without power can get ice and water ...

Ethical Or Political Stunt

May 20, 2018

On May 9th Sussex County Freeholder Director Jonathon Rose announced formation of the Sussex County Transparency Committee. A committee established to monitor the ethics of County politicians.  

Alarming is what was left out of this announcement. Besides naming the dynamic duo Lazzaro and Graham, two other names show cause for curiosity. Jonathon never acknowledged, nor did he ...

Support for Fantasia and Hertzberg for Freeholder

Dear Editor:

My name is Stephen Skellenger, and I’m writing what is my first Letter to the Editor to emphatically endorse Dawn Fantasia and Josh Hertzberg for Sussex County Freeholder. With these two, you are going to get uniquely-qualified individuals who exemplify servant leadership.

Josh is someone who seems to me to be a person who would give the shirt off his back to help anyone.

Upcoming Events


Sat, May 26, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Sat, June 2, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market


Sat, June 9, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sun, June 10, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Sat, June 16, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Thu, June 21, 2:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Summer Afternoon Garden Soiree

Home & Garden


Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Sat, June 30, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Newton's Petition to Move Election Certified, Tabled to May 30 by Council

May 15, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—The petition to move elections from May to November was certified by the clerk and presented to the Newton Town Council at the meeting on Monday night.  The petition has been circulating since April and was a point of controversy in the recent council election campaigns.

According to the town attorney, the town clerk certified “369 valid signatures of qualified ...

10-Year Old Boy Battling Cancer Receives Generous Donation From Randolph Hockey Family

May 20, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real life battles off the ice there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the Randolph Varsity hockey team, when they came together to deliver good wishes and ...

Find Your Dream Home During Our DOUBLE Open House Weekend!

The forecast for this weekend is rain, rain, and more rain---so why not spend your time touring your new home?  Team Nest Builder offers 2 wonderful Open Houses this weekend, PLUS a new listing for you to check out via video tour!

27 Hilltop Trail, Sparta

Step into your own fairytale with this Lake Mohawk, storybook-sweet 3-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom gem! Gather in front of the rustic ...

Help Feed Hungry Sussex County Families Through Foodstock

Did you realize food pantry shortages INCREASE during the summer months? Decreased donations and increased need due to the summer break from school lunch and breakfast programs leave many Sussex County families hungry.  

Enter Foodstock:  an annual spring countywide food drive started 15 years ago through the coordinated efforts of Pass it Along, United Way of Northern New Jersey, ...

3 Tips for Making Your Home-Ownership Dream a Reality


Here's Highlights:

Setting up an automatic savings plan that saves a small amount of every check = one of the best ways to save without thinking much about it.

Living within a budget right now helps you save money for down payments while also paying down other debts holding you back.  What are you willing to cut back on to make your dreams of homeownership ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!


SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

We Do This Work Because We Care

May 19, 2018

Sussex NJ – We Do This Work Because We Care

Project Help, Inc., is a 501(c)3 Charity whose mission is to help veterans and their families during difficult times. They assist veterans in New Jersey’s seven northern counties in getting back on their feet. 

“We work very hard to be able to sustain our veterans as they struggle with the many issues that are holding them ...