Little Shop Of Horrors, with book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken, is based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy film of the same name. Ashman and Menken made many changes from the original film, such as moving the location from Los Angeles to New York and eliminating many characters in lieu of a smaller ensemble.
Arguably the largest change is in the ending, where instead of Mushnik and Audrey surviving to see the plant's carnivorous activities (as in the film), nearly all the characters are devoured by the plant.
This musical was only the second collaboration between Ashman and Menken, the first being a 1979 stage adaptation of a Kurt Vonnegut novel. In writing the book, Ashman chose to use the frame of the story to satirize many different topics, including: science fiction, "B" movies, musical comedy, and the Faust legend (in which a man sells his soul to the Devil). In his music, Menken used many of the musical styles of the early 1960s, including rock and roll, doo-wop , and Motown.