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Mj Rodriguez Redefines White, Cis Role in Little Shop of Horrors

Mj Rodriguez Redefines White, Cis Role in 'Little Shop of Horrors'

Mj Rodriguez Redefines White, Cis Role in 'Little Shop of Horrors'

The Pose star shines in the Pasadena Playhouse's production of the cult-classic musical.

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The Pasadena Playhouse's production of the cult-classic musical Little Shop of Horrors is redefining musical theater with the inclusion of Pose star Mj Rodriguez. 

The 1980s musical, which Disney producer Alan Menken based on a 1960s black comedy film, focuses on a failing flower shop on Skid Row. An employee named Seymour stumbles upon a strange plant that attracts enough customers to save their shop. As Seymour sets his sights on winning over Audrey, his coworker and love-of-his-life who consistently shows up to the shop with bruises and broken limbs at the hands of her abusive boyfriend, a fatal chain of events is set in place. 

In mainstream Little Shop of Horrors productions and films, Audrey is usually played by a white, cisgender woman. 

Which is why Mj Rodriguez, an Afro-Latina trans woman, taking over the role is a breath of fresh air. 

Identity of the castmates isn't at all brought up in the show, but it feels especially poignant hearing Rodrigez sing (as Audrey) about feeling like an outcast, or suffering abuse at the hands of a narcistic dentist, or soulfully crooning lines like, "Nobody ever treated me kindly/ Daddy left early, Mommy was poor."

The undertones of Rodriguez's role ground the musical firmly in 2019, sprucing up a show I've seen half a dozen times into something new—and so breathtaking to watch. 

And she's not the only reason to see this beautiful show. Be More Chill star George Salazar induces chills as Seymour, Glee scene-stealer Amber Riley slays the house down as Audrey 2, and Matt Wilkas couldn't be any funnier if he tried as Orin Scrivelle, DDS.

Little Shop of Horrors plays at the Pasadena Playhouse through October 20. Watch a stunning performance of "Suddenly Seymour" below!

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Taylor Henderson

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one! 

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one!