Sept 28, 2022
Attack of the Monster Musical: A Cultural History of Little Shop of Horrors, scholar Adam Abraham. Book talk, book signing, and songs. [Video below]
How many hit musicals are based on films that were shot in two days at a budget of $30,000? The answer is one: Little Shop of Horrors. Roger Corman’s monster movie opened in 1960, played the midnight circuit, and then disappeared from view. Two decades later, Little Shop of Horrors opened Off-Broadway and became a surprise success.
Attack of the Monster Musical: A Cultural History of Little Shop of Horrors chronicles this unlikely phenomenon. The Faustian tale of Seymour and his man-eating plant transcended its humble origins to become a global phenomenon, launching a popular film adaptation and productions all around the world. This timely and authoritative book looks at the creation of the musical and its place in the contemporary musical theatre canon. Examining its afterlives and wider cultural context, the book asks the question why this unlikely combination of blood, annihilation, and catchy tunes has resonated with audiences from the 1980s to the present.
At the core of this in-depth study is the collaboration between the show’s creators, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. Told through archival research and eyewitness accounts, this is the first book to make extensive use of Ashman’s personal papers, offering a unique and inspiring study of one of musical theatre’s greatest talents.
Adam Abraham is the author of When Magoo Flew: The Rise and Fall of Animation Studio UPA and Plagiarizing the Victorian Novel: Imitation, Parody, Aftertext. He has also written for film, television, and theatre. Now a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Auburn University, he previously taught at Virginia Commonwealth University, New York University, and Oxford.