High school seniors Tiesha Joseph and Maddie Painter both say the musical The Little Shop of Horrors is their favorite play. The two Daniel Mills Apprentices, both on the performance track, enjoy the famous 1960s B movie turned Broadway show turned campy movie because of its great music and its moral: Fame, fortune, and celebrity are not worth giving up everything for.
Joseph, an Evans High School student, says she prefers drama to comedy but loves The Little Shop of Horrors for its songs. “I love the song ‘Somewhere That’s Green.’ I think it embodies what it’s like to dream of having the simple things in life,” Joseph says.
One of six children, Joesph says she got her first taste of performing when she landed the role of shepherd in a church play at seven years old. She believes being a Haitian-American may be part of what has motivated her to be an actor. “We Haitians have a long tradition of storytelling in our culture. I think bringing a story to life by performing it is something I was born to do.”
Not sure which college she’ll attend when she graduates next year, Joseph says she wants to focus on studying law and theater. She says she’s realistic and knows that being a professional actor may be difficult, so she wants a well-rounded education.
Joseph says she’s very thankful for the apprenticeship. “Being able to be an actor is not always accessible for someone like me—a Haitian-American from Pine Hills,” Joseph says. “I feel honored to have had this opportunity to get to work and learn from professional actors.”
Timber Creek High School senior Painter says she loves The Little Shop of Horrors because it’s funny and it has heart. The song “Suddenly Seymour” sweetly reminds audiences that the play may be weird, but it’s also a love story. “Audrey is falling for Seymour, and there’s a lot of emotion to it, but it’s a little funny, too,” Painter says.
Painter’s father actually played Seymour, the male lead of the play, in his high school’s production. Sometimes the two of them sing songs from the play together.
Starting her performance career in kindergarten doing school pageants, Painter says she loves doing comedic roles the best. “Life can be so hard sometimes. Who doesn’t want to laugh?” she says. “It’s magical. You could have a bad day, but after a good laugh, you forget how awful your day was,” Painter says.
Interestingly, Painter, who knows Joseph and vice versa, is also considering studying law and theater in college. “I’m thinking juvenile law or political science along with a minor in theater.”
Painter says wherever she ends up, she will always be grateful for being a Daniel Mills Apprentice. For her, the masterclasses were one of the best things about the program. Painter learned much about herself in a masterclass called Movement and Body, taught by Roberta Emerson.
“I felt like I was able to find a way to break down my internal walls. It was helpful for my acting and also on a personal level.”
Joseph and Painter look forward to their next projects and more theatrical education in the coming months. Like one of the lyrics from their favorite play—they are excited to “bud and bloom.”