Grappo prod'n will not debut on B'way

In the first casualty of the new season, the Broadway-bound revival of “Little Shop of Horrors” closes its doors out of town. The tuner by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman finishes its tryout June 15 at the Actor’s Playhouse in Coral Gables, Florida. It had been announced to open August 14 at the Virginia Theater in New York City.

Marc Routh, one of the show’s producers, released the following statement:

“We feel an obligation to everyone involved with ‘Little Shop,’ and to the ticket-buying public, to insure that the work we present on Broadway represents the best work we can do. In spite of the great number of talented people involved, the elements of this production did not come together in the way we would have liked.”

So much for Florida reviews. Under the direction of Connie Grappo, the 2003 “Little Shop” production received mostly upbeat reviews from the local press. But then, so did the pre-Broadway run of “Urban Cowboy,” which performed at the Coconut Grove Playhouse last year, and got panned when it opened March 27 in Gotham.

The “Little Shop” revival, starring Alice Ripley and Hunter Foster, would have marked Grappo’s Broadway debut.

The man-eating Audrey II may yet be revived to devour Gotham. (The show ran Off Broadway for several seasons, beginning in 1982, but to date has not played Broadway.) The producers of the current production neither absolutely confirmed nor totally ruled out a future incarnation of the gothic tuner.

In a written statement, they announced: “The producers are in discussions regarding the possibility of a newly conceived production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors,’ to open on Broadway later this season, under the direction of Jerry Zaks.”

A Broadway vet, Zaks has won four Tony awards for his direction, and is currently helming the Lincoln Center Theater’s production of “A Bad Friend” by Jules Feiffer.

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