Central wraps up musical

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The curtain closed Sunday on Central High School’s (CHS) first musical theater performance in more than three decades.

People came from across the region to see the show and support the students, led by CHS choral and theater director Amanda Ellis.

The show, The Little Shop of Horrors, tells the story of awkward botanist Seymour Krelborn, who was portrayed by junior Robert Carwile III, an employee at Mushnik’s Flower Shop. When Seymour discovers an unusual plant that feeds on human blood, his life takes a series of unexpected twists and turns.

“It was very easy to relate to (my character) because he’s a nerdy guy with little hobbies, and I’m a nerdy guy with little hobbies,” Carwile said.

Zaine Crouse, who played Krelborn’s foster father, Mr. Mushnik, said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“It’s been great being able to be around people and friends and get to know them better,” Crouse said of his time in the show.

According to Ellis, the cast, crew and pit band worked hard to put the show together starting in January. Ellis said she thought the show went very well.

Some students said they had never been involved in theater before. One of those students, Dendra Johnson,

who played Ronette, said she was glad to have the experience.

“I’ve never been in theater. I didn’t think it was for me,” Johnson said. “When I started “Little Shop,” I started to get the hang of it and I liked it. I love singing, (so) I do plan on doing more shows next year.”

Maurice Ellis, Amanda’s husband and the band and music director for the show, said the process had been lengthy but rewarding. He said he was proud of how the show turned out.

“It means a lot,” he said. “It shows our music program is strong … I hope we see at least a musical once a year.”

Amanda reflected her husband’s sentiments, noting she was proud of the cast and crew and looked forward to more musicals in the future.

“I think we had a very successful weekend for the first musical we have produced in over 30 years,” she said. “We had a great response from the community and the students worked really hard and adapted well with having that live audience,” Amanda said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to try a different musical next year. Depending on the funds that we have, we’ll definitely be looking into options for next year.”

Pictured, from left, Ayanna Crisis, Briana Witherspoon and Dendra Johnson listen as Gabrielle Aubel, who played Audrey, sings of a place she dreams of living one day in “Somewhere That’s Green.”