“RuPaul's Drag Race” Champion Jinkx Monsoon to Play Audrey in Off-Broadway's “Little Shop of Horrors ”(Exclusive)

The famed drag queen will make their debut in the production beginning April 2

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Jinkx Monsoon
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Jinkx Monsoon

Jinkx Monsoon is coming back to the boards!

After their record-breaking run in the Broadway production of Chicago, the two-time RuPaul's Drag Race champ is stepping into another major musical — this time, playing Audrey in the hit Off-Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors.

PEOPLE can announce the news exclusively. Monsoon will begin their limited run in the show beginning April 2.

This is the first time the character will be played by a non-binary actor in the production, now in its fifth year at the Westside Theatre in New York City. Since its debut in September 2019, Tammy Blanchard, Lena Hall, Maude Apatow, Joy Woods, Constance Wu and Evan Rachel Wood.

It's a historic move that comes with particular importance for Monsoon, according to the reality star. The Alan Menken and Howard Ashman musical, which first starred Ellen Greene as Audrey in its original 1982 production, had a significant impact on Monsoon at a young age.

"Little Shop of Horrors was my favorite movie musical as a kid but Audrey is a role I considered out of the realm of possibility for me," Monsoon tells PEOPLE. "To get to play her in this incredible production is terribly exciting. As a drag queen who grew up watching the iconic Ellen Greene performance, I'm thrilled and honored to get to bring Audrey to life in a whole new way that also pays homage to her memorable origins."

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Jinkx Monsoon
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Jinkx Monsoon

Related: Constance Wu Says Doing 'Little Shop of Horrors' Off-Broadway Feels 'Like Coming Home' (Exclusive)

Opposite Monsoon will be High School Musical star Corbin Bleu as Seymour. He previously starred in the production opposite Wu. James Carpinello (Rock of Ages, Gotham) will play Dr. Orin Scrivello, D.D.S.

"We're so excited to welcome Jinkx to the Little Shop family as Audrey, and James making his return to the New York stage as Orin!” says producer Robert Ahrens. “We can’t wait to see what they create together through these iconic roles, opposite our returning Seymour, Corbin Bleu, who has been a treasured member of this company — both onstage, and behind the scenes."

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Little Shop of Horrors is based on the 1960 movie of the same name. Both tell the story of a down-on-his luck florist named Seymour who helps turn his boss’ plant shop around when he discovers a rare (and voracious) plant. He names the mysterious greenery Audrey II, after his co-worker and longtime crush, Audrey.

Ashman — who died in March 1991 at the age of 40 from his HIV/AIDS positive diagnosis — adapted the film for the stage, penning the show's book. The musical originally premiered in New York City in 1982, before it transferred to Off-Broadway's Orpheum Theatre, where it ran for five years.

Related: The Cast of Little Shop of Horrors: Where Are They Now?

A 1986 film adaptation, directed by Frank Oz and starring Rick Moranis and Greene came next. It became a cult classic, and helped fuel the popularity of community theater and high school productions of Little Shop for decades to come.

A Broadway production finally came in 2003, starring Kerry Butler and Hunter Foster. It closed nearly a year later, after 40 previews and 372 performances.

Image Courtesy of VIFF The 'Little Shop of Horrors' movie
Image Courtesy of VIFF The 'Little Shop of Horrors' movie

The current Off-Broadway revival— directed by Tony-winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) and choreographed by Ellenore Scott (Funny Girl) has been widely praised, winning top honors in 2020 from the Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards.

Wood and Darren Criss will play their final performances as Audrey and Seymour, respectively, on Sunday, March 31, .

Monsoon, meanwhile, will return to Chicago after taking on Audrey. Earlier this month, it was announced they'll assume the role of Matron “Mama” Morton again on June 27, for 20 performances through July 12 at the Ambassador Theatre.

Tickets for Little Shop of Horrors are available now at littleshopnyc.com.

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