OAKLAND -- Woodminster Summer Musicals is getting an early start to its new season with the spring production of "Little Shop of Horrors" next weekend.

The popular musical features an exotic plant with a big carnivorous appetite as well as the ability to belt out R&B tunes (and curse).

The musical was first staged in 1982 and is one of the longest-running off-Broadway shows of all time. Featuring music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, the show is based on a 1960 film of the same name, which aimed to poke fun at 1950s science-fiction thrillers and included Jack Nicholson in its cast.

"Bringing a professional production onto the Holy Names campus will make a lively addition to the university's cultural life," said Joel Schlader, a theater professor at Holy Names and artistic director for the Woodminster musicals. Musicians for Woodminster shows are members of Musicians Local Number 6, while actors are part of the Actors' Equity Association or community volunteers.

"Performing indoors is a change for us, but at this time of year, we think our audiences will gladly trade the starry night sky for a roof," said Harriet Schlader, managing director.

Woodminster's 2013 summer season starts with "Annie Get Your Gun," followed by "A Chorus Line" and "Legally Blonde: The Musical."


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Singing auditions for the shows are set for 12 to 4 p.m. on April 13-14 at the Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park. Dance auditions take place at 10 a.m. on April 14 at the same location.

IF YOU GO
What: "Little Shop of Horrors"
When: 7 p.m. Thursday and March 15, March 21-23; 2 p.m. March 17, 23-24
Where: Holy Names University Theater, 3500 Mountain Blvd.
Tickets: $30 to $50
Information: 510-531-9597, www.woodminster.com