Kagan-Moore says Roger Corman made the first "Little Shop of Horrors" film in the 1960s. "He famously shot it in two days and an evening," Kagan-Moore notes.
Corman, he adds, made a lot of Hollywood B movies and sometimes was called "King of the Bs." The low-budget Bs included exploitation, horror, sci-fi and Western films. A young Jack Nicholson was in Corman's "Little Shop of Horrors."
Twenty years later, in 1982, "Little Shop of Horrors" was crafted into a musical, Kagan-Moore says. Four years after that, it was made into a film with Rick Moranis and Steve Martin.
There are a lot of songs in the musical that often are strung together, but there also is significant character development and notable theater conventions.
"One of the significant group voices in the play is the group called the Ronnettes," Kagan-Moore explains. "They do rhythm backing - 'Little Shop of Horrors' is very much centered in the '50s rock and roll culture. The Ronnettes (played by Meredith Bell, Sarah Jennings and Jonica Smith) serve various kinds of functions in the play. They're street urchins for a part of the show, and at other times they act as a kind of Greek chorus. And at times, the play has elements of a kind of Greek or Faustian tragedy."
One of the challenges of producing "Little Shop of Horrors" in Weisiger Theatre is the stage.
"It is very much a proscenium play, and we have a consummate thrust house in Weisiger," Kagan-Moore explains, adding fellow dramatic arts professor Matthew Hallock has worked with him to solve some of the challenges. "We had to adapt the space to the play."
Other challenges are pretty standard, he notes.
"There's a fairly significant amount of choreography - not 'Chicago'-style. ... There's singing and group work, and then just last week, we got the puppets in we rented," Kagan-Moore says. "There are four different puppets for Audrey II, ranging from a little thing that will fit in your hand to a very big (piece) for a big actor to fit inside of. The puppets (worked by Adam Haigh and Katie Pfohl) are very real actors in the show."
The director says they're trying to convey the roots of "Little Shop of Horrors": a sort of B-movie horror classic.
"What's interesting about 'Little Shop of Horrors' is, for a film shot in two or three days, it's become a kind of cult classic," Kagan-Moore notes. "We're trying to channel that whole world of Hollywood B-movie horror posters - all that kind of stuff."
And hopefully the audience will find that interesting, the music enchanting, the acting strong "and walk away having had a really good time," he adds.