Ellen Greene was performing as a nightclub singer in several New York City clubs and treading the boards in New York City theater before her friend and mentor, filmmaker Paul Mazursky cast her in her first motion picture, Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976), she was awarded the part of Sarah, opposite Lenny Baker. Four years after she originated the role of Audrey, the lovably ditzy, golden-hearted, sweetest masochist in musical-comedy history in Howard Ashman's 1982 Off-Broadway play, The Little Shop of Horrors, the actress reprised the role in Frank Oz's film adaptation, The Little Shop of Horrors (1986) (in which she starred opposite Rick Moranis and Steve Martin). Up to the present time, this is the actress's most talked-about and celebrated role.
A few years later, Greene starred in the American drama film Talk Radio (1988), she played the part of Ellen, opposite Eric Bogosian and Alec Baldwin. Aside from the actress's work in these two motion pictures, and ABC's fantasy mystery comedy-drama television series, Pushing Daisies (2007), in which she and Swoosie Kurtz play Lily and Vivian Charles, the agoraphobic sisters. Greene has also provided her talent to Law & Order (1990), The X Files (1993), Heroes (2006), and The Young and the Restless (1973).
In July 2015, Greene brought back Audrey for a two-night revival of Little Shop of Horrors at New York City Center. She starred opposite Jake Gyllenhaal (who replaced Moranis). The revival received rave reviews, and according to The New York Times, when Greene made her entrance on stage, she received the kind of entrance applause you might imagine greeting the resurrection of Maria Callas at the Metropolitan Opera for a beyond-the-grave performance of "Norma."
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