Artist Profile: Bellingham teen portrays Seymour in two casts for ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

Zander King, 16, was born and raised in Bellingham. In fact, his family has lived in three houses on the same block, and he says he doesn’t plan on raising his kids any place else. He attends Explorations Academy.

Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth stages “Little Shop of Horrors” Friday, May 8, through May 31, with two casts, except for Seymour, which is played in both casts by King.

Question: When did you become involved in the performing arts?

Answer: I started choir in the second grade at Lowell Elementary, but I wasn’t in any plays until fourth grade when I was the gatekeeper in my school’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.” I started playing the cello in fifth grade and became quite good at it, or so I’ve been told. Unfortunately I chose recently to put the instrument aside for a while in order to focus on my academic studies, but I hope to pick it up again soon.

In my first play at BAAY I had one line, and no matter how much I rack my brain I can’t seem to remember it. Since then I’ve just been honing my skills and trying not only to do my best but also to make friends along the way.

Q: What productions have you enjoyed?

A: In my over 10 plays I’ve learned empathy, teamwork, selflessness, had my first love, and was surprisingly only killed off once in a play.

I massively enjoyed my role as Cinderella’s Prince in “Into the Woods” because the small cast grew extremely tight; I still have a blast doing renditions of the song “Agony” with my “princely counterpart” who played Rapunzel’s Prince.

My second favorite show is “Pippin.” The whole thing is a surreal piece on the subject of fulfillment. That cast also shared many of the people with whom I became friends during “Into the Woods.”

Last, but not least, was “The Music Man,” which was a wonderful burden to bear as I played the role of Harold Hill and we had guest directors from Chicago who built it into a fabulous event. It was one of the only shows where I got virtually no offstage time, but it was worth it.

Q: Who have been some of your mentors?

A: I have had many mentors, ranging from music instructors, homeroom teachers, and directors of various shapes and sizes. The most prominent influence would most likely be David Post. David has always been a constant. I was in his Lowell School choir and he is still giving me voice lessons. Not to mention that the man founded BAAY and that none of this could ever have happened without him.

Q: Why should people see this production of “Little Shop of Horrors?”

A: It’s a brilliantly written and lighthearted horror/comedy. The music is breathtaking and the practical effects are fantastic. Plus, we’ve censored the language slightly, so small children are welcome. Except for those who don’t like giant, man-eating plants. So maybe not “small” children, but everyone else should be fine.

Although it’s not my first leading role at BAAY, it will most certainly be my last. After this play ends I’m set to graduate.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: My next step is probably going to be joining a different theater group. I don’t know what I’d do with my time if I didn’t. Honestly, I don’t even know what I’m going to have for dinner tomorrow, let alone what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.