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Harmony and horror in new school musical

With each drop of blood, the plant grows in size. Its hunger takes over, begging for more. This is not your normal, thought to be, up beat musical. The Little Shop of Horrors is a perfect mix of thriller, romance and comedy.

Carolyn Gross

To ensure each genre is portrayed correctly through music, Grosse Pointe South choir teacher and music director for Little Shop of Horrors, Carolyn Gross, has been working around the clock with students and staff. Gross has directed mostly middle school performances for over 20 years. This is her first time music directing a high school performance in the district, however, she is approaching this task with determination and excitement. In the beginning, Gross is given a book, called the libretto. She goes from beginning to end, teaching the students the material and walking them through each step.

“It’s working with everybody to make sure the music is right,” Gross said. “And then, during the performances, I’ll be down in the pit, conducting and making sure everything is coordinated.”

Because of the double cast for this musical, there are six girls playing three parts, called the “Street Urchins”. Gross explained that this is the trickiest part to teach because they sing throughout the whole musical in a three part harmony, she said it is a huge job. However, Gross described how dedicated and hard working these students are.

“My favorite part of every musical is just watching the kids get it and watching the kids bring characters to life,” Gross said.

Gross explained that in order to obtain a copy of a musical, it has to be rented from a company. Unfortunately, she said it can only be rented for eight to 12 weeks, which is not enough time for a high school production.

“So the only challenge we’ve had so far is we got a preliminary script, music off the internet, like a PDF,” Gross said. “And it doesn’t quite match what the real materials are.”

Despite the different scripts Gross is presented with, ensemble member Brady Barbour ’26 said that Gross is a good leader who knows how to get things done.

“Mrs. Gross has mainly contributed by teaching us the music,” Barbour said. “Normally we split it up and do it until we have it memorized.”

However, music directing is no simple feat. Gross said that Richard Wolf helps her throughout the process of teaching this musical masterpiece, jokingly saying she can do nothing without him.

“He’ll take one group into one room. I’ll take this group into this room then we’ll come back together,” Gross said. “It’s like having a right hand man.”

Along with Wolf, English teacher and director for the musical Daniel DeMarco works with Gross to create a wonderful performance. DeMarco is responsible for the acting performances in the show as well as coordinating the production design among each of the departments. He said that at each rehearsal typically focuses on one aspect of the show, however, on some days they rotate students from music, to dancing to acting.

“We will run scenes multiple times, working out details that make the entire scene function as it should,” DeMarco said. “We address blocking as well as characterization.”

DeMarco said he is anxious for opening day. He explained how hearing the score for the show every day makes him smile, even after a difficult school day. Working with Gross has been great for DeMarco, if he ever has a question about the musical aspect of the show, he said he will ask her, and the same applies if she has a question about acting.

“We speak to each other at rehearsals and correspond via text or email prior to upcoming rehearsals,” DeMarco said. “We share creative ideas about the script: singing, acting, blocking, anything that is on stage is open for conversation between us.”

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About the Contributor
Lucy Gabel '25
Lucy Gabel '25, Copy Editor
As an adventurous second-year staffer, Lucy Gabel ’25 will be taking on the role of a copy editor in addition to her extracurriculars and life outside of school. A ten-year softball player, Gabel is an avid lover of exercise and working out. This year will be her third season playing for South’s Varsity Softball Team, and she’s looking forward to returning to the field. In addition to her many school activities, Gabel is always trying to find balance through hanging out with friends and relaxing while watching “Gilmore Girls.” “When I’m not doing school, or hanging out with friends,” Gabel said. “I try my best to prioritize time by myself.” What she’s most excited about, though, is another year on Tower building her journalism skills and writing stories. “I like learning new things about people and shining a light on their stories.”

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