Heith Lawrence made his stage debut May 11 in a school production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” a horror/comedy/rock musical from the 1980s. The Moore Haven Middle-High School freshman played the lead role of Seymour Krelborn, a meek flower shop employee.
“I tried out because people were talking about it and I thought maybe I could do that,” said Heith, 14. “I like music and I like performing.”
When he auditioned, Heith didn’t know what role he would get and was surprised when he got the lead.
In the show, Seymour discovers a new species of plant that only eats human flesh. Smitten with his co-worker Audrey, Seymour named the plant Audrey II in her honor. The more Audrey II grows, the hungrier it gets. Seymour learns the plant’s secret and feeds it his own blood. As the plant gets larger, it gets hungrier and more aggressive. The show gets a little gruesome, but in a humorous way.
“It was a lot of fun,” Heith said. “The character is kind of like me in real life; I can be clumsy at times, too.”
Heith’s mother Myra Gopher knew she had a talented son, but didn’t know the extent of it. They like to sing in the car together and Heith has taken piano lessons since he was 7 years old.
“He surprised us all,” Gopher said. “Some teachers from [Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School] came to the play and truly enjoyed it. They asked where he got his voice.”
Heith is taking guitar lessons at school; it was the music teacher who suggested he try out for the show. Once he got the part, Heith had to dedicate time to rehearsals, which he said was fun and worth the effort. He learned he has a good memory; it wasn’t difficult for him to memorize the lines and the songs. He thinks that could help him in his academic classes as well.
“Being in the play meant a lot to me because coming to a new school with a lot of people that don’t know me, I would just be an ordinary student,” he said. “Now that I’ve performed on the big stage with a whole bunch of people watching gave me a chance to get some attention. I learned to be more sociable and definitely more confident. It was the best thing ever, it was amazing.”