"Feed me, Seymour, feed me all night long. 'Cause if you feed me, Seymour, I can grow up big and strong."

It sounds like a classic rhythm and blues refrain but the voice belongs not to Muddy Waters, B.B. King or even Usher. The singer is a carnivorous plant that appeared on Earth during an eclipse and is now squalling for blood.

At the Guthrie Theater, you want to say, squall, baby, squall.

The Minneapolis company's first-ever production of "Little Shop of Horrors" had its splashy opening Friday. Director Marcia Milgrom Dodge aims a defining version of the first hit by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (later of "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid" fame), and she is well on her way to that milestone.

Confident, breezy and wittily entertaining, her meticulous production combines elements of the 1982 musical, the 1986 film version of the musical and the 2003 Broadway revival. The staging boasts a bouquet of outstanding performances by Will Roland as wilting Seymour, China Brickey as love interest Audrey, David Darrow as motorcycle-riding S&M dentist Orin and T. Mychael Rambo as the ravenous plant.

The whole thing will giddily eat your heart out.

"Little Shop" is set around a failing flower shop on Skid Row that gets a jolt of media attention, and success, after Seymour brings a blood-eating plant he has named Audrey II to display in the window. But Seymour has made a deal with the devilish plant. It's OK to feed your plant potash and water and to give it sunlight. But if it trembles for blood, well, watch out.

Roger Corman's 1960 B-movie, which inspired the musical, premiered at a time of social upheaval around long-held racial hierarchies. Like others of its ilk, Corman's horror flick abstracted societal tensions and sent them up. In the musical, Audrey II is voiced by an R&B singer while the Motown-influenced urchins are named for 1960s girl groups. (At the Guthrie, the trio — Vie Boheme as Ronnette, Erica Durham as Chiffon and Gabrielle Dominique as Crystal — deliver with style and attitude.)

At the Guthrie, Lex Liang's chock-a-block Skid Row environs nod to this history with a rooftop movie billboard of the 1959 horror film "Return of the Fly," a cautionary tale about interspecies mixing where a fly-headed human becomes a vengeful killer.

Dodge's "Little Shop" lands as fears about demographic, gender and other advances get layered atop worries about artificial intelligence taking over humanity. But you need not see any of the deeper meanings to enjoy this show.

Roland, who appeared on Broadway in "Dear Evan Hansen" and "Be More Chill," and Minnesota staple Brickey give showcase performances in the lead roles. A mensch, Roland's Seymour starts off with earnest gratitude and listless meekness. As the character grows in confidence, Roland gets shot through with adrenaline even if he remains a dweeb at heart. Roland pours his heart into Seymour's solo "Grow for Me," while Brickey excels on "Somewhere That's Green," investing the number with emotive dreaminess.

Together, their "Suddenly Seymour" is a stirring highlight.

Brickey is not just squeaky fresh and charming as Audrey. She does a nice job of showing her character as a victim but also hinting that she might not entirely detest her partner in the abusive S&M relationship.

For his part, Darrow, who gives a career-defining performance, is hilarious as the over-the-top, James Dean-esque Orin. The actor also appears in a variety of smaller roles, including as an Andy Warhol type of figure, and is memorable in all of them.

In the musical's film version, Four Tops vocalist Levi Stubbs voiced Audrey II. Rambo's vocal stylings nod to the great R&B singers. His Audrey II, expertly manipulated by Yvonne Freese and Time Brickey, is an insistent but mellifluous beggar.

Denise Prosek conducts the Guthrie's swinging, head-bopping band for a show that looks to be a sleeper hit of the summer. After all, the plant needs its regular deposits of humans.

'Little Shop of Horrors'

Who: Book and lyrics by Howard Ashman; music by Alan Menken; directed and choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge.

Where: Guthrie Theater, 818 S. 2nd St., Mpls.

When: Through Aug. 18.

Tickets: $34 to $95. 612-377-2224, www.guthrietheater.org.