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The Following Information is non-Canon. Demos and deleted songs are not considered canon to the Little Shop of Horrors musical, as they were not included in the final version of the musical, instead think of them as part of the history of making LSOH.

"The Worse He Treats Me" is a song written by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken during the development of the 1982 stage musical Little Shop of Horrors.

In early versions of the script, the song was to be sung by Audrey, who had been handcuffed to a tree by Orin as he goes to the shop with Seymour to admire the Audrey II, to Crystal and Ronette as an attempt to explain her relationship. Throughout the song, Crystal and Ronette (the character of Chiffon had not yet been added) would interject and comment on the relationship, trying to convince Audrey to leave her abusive dentist for Seymour.

The Worse He Treats Me02:30

The Worse He Treats Me

The demo to the song presented on the 2003 Broadway cast recording, sung by Alan Menken as a solo song for Audrey.

According to Howard during an early workshop of the show, taking place before the song was cut, he was still trying to find the line of how far he could go with the relationship of Audrey and Orin so that it would have a slapstick, Punch and Judy quality to it that would make the audience go "Oh, that poor thing! And I hate him!" without it being too "real," stating "if it's too real, I don't want to see it either. Let alone listen to a woman sing about it afterward." In the end, the song was cut and replaced with the I-want song "Somewhere That's Green."

According to Sarah Ashman Gillespie, Howard's sister, the first time he showed the lyrics to her, it was "the only time I ever said [to Howard] I didn't like something."[1] After singing it during the June 27, 2016 Little Shop of Horrors Reunion: Off-Broadway, Broadway, and Beyond! concert, composer Alan Menken quipped, "I know; questionable taste. That's why we cut it."

An early demo recording of the song, sung by Alan as a solo piece, was released on the 2003 Broadway cast album as a bonus track.

Lyrics

Here are the lyrics to the song, as performed by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken at an early BMI workshop reading of the show.

Audrey Crystal and Ronnette
The worse he treats me
The more he loves me
It sounds unusual, I know
But when he hurts me
That's how he tells me
That he would never let me go.
I buy him presents
And what does he do then?
That's when he beats me
You say that's when he what?
He doesn't mean it to be cruel
Cruel, cruel, cruel
I know he needs me
And what does he know?
He knows karate
It's HI-YO-SUIT!
And I'm his fool!
He doesn't talk of love
Or sunshine, or flowers, or birds
But when you're home alone together
One slap is worth ten thousand words
I give him money
And what does he give you?
He gives me bruises
You send a thank-you note?
Well, that's a fair exchange I guess
Guess, guess, guess again
But I'm still prayin'
Oh-wa-oh
He won't stop sluggin'
Oh-wa-oh
Cuz that would mean he'd love me less
Take our advice
Seymour's so nice
He loves you more than you see
He wants you so
Girls, I don't know
I think I'll stay chained to this tree
It may seem psychotic to be
Erotic about Simon Legree
It is!
He's sick and despotic
But gee
Gee whiz!
The worse he treats me
The more I'm sure
He loves me!

References

  1. Why Howard Ashman's Family Thought Writing Little Shop of Horrors Was a Suicide Mission - Playbill.

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