Little Shop of Horrors fans in California can currently catch the latest revival of the musical at Pasadena Playhouse, where they will recognize Pose star MJ Rodriguez as Seymour Krelborn’s (George Salazar) love interest Audrey.
Originally played by Ellen Greene, Rodriguez’s Audrey isn’t the traditional character we’ve seen.
“In my head, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, those are some big shoes to fill.’ And also I’m a different Audrey. I’m not the Ellen Greene; I’m not the Kerry Butler; I’m not the other Audreys that have been played. I’m a very different Audrey. I’m a woman of color. And that scared me a bit.”
Rodriguez currently stars on FX hit series Pose as Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista, the warm, caring mother of House of Evangelista. Her turn on the series has garnered tons of praise but the actress sees Little Shop of Horrors as a different opportunity.
“It’s great that a trans woman is playing a cisgender character but I don’t think people should just see it as a cisgender character or as a trans character. This show is speaking to all women who go through what Audrey has gone through: her mama being poor; her dad leaving early; meeting an abusive man ‘in the gutter.’ I think I’m speaking to every single-ass woman on this Earth, and what they have gone through with stupid men.”
She added that she hopes to prove that she can take on any role and play any character.
“I’m always going to have to speak for my community because I’m a part of it. I’m trans. But that’s me — that’s not the character that I play. I play trans characters, I play cis characters, I can play monsters, I can play cartoon characters. I can do anything I put my mind to. My goal is to play a character and have people see the character.”