Undead will rise and sing as California Area High stages 'Zombie Prom'
When the California Area Drama Club started thinking about ideas for this year's spring musical, they knew they wanted to do something fun, fresh and different.
Eventually, they searched the musicals catalog that caters to medium-size high-school casts and found something that fit the bill: “Zombie Prom.”
The musical comedy, set in the 1960s, is a modern take on a classic love story. And, the zombies in this play aren't of the flesh-eating variety, they're “limber and thoughtful.”
Second-year musical director Claudia Bennett said “Zombie Prom” stood out to them because of its peppy singing and dancing numbers. She said it features music from the Atomic Age, sets inspired from late 1950s pop art and unique costumes.
Bennett, California Area High School's librarian who also teaches journalism and the gifted program, said the students and volunteers have been spending countless hours rehearsing.
“The most delightful outcome of producing ‘Zombie Prom' has been watching this diverse group of people bloom as they work together to realize a unique interpretation of a story that is new, and yet old,” said Bennett. “We didn't crib our production from YouTube; we let the script lead our creativity. That's magic. That's theatre.”
“Zombie Prom” is set during an atomic disaster drill at Enrico Fermi High. Transfer student Jonny Warner (junior Zac Parocai) falls in love with Toffee (senior Bianca Forsythe).
Eventually, Toffee bows to pressure from adults and breaks up with the rebel Jonny. Life grows more confusing and complex than usual after a heartbroken Jonny accidentally crashes his bicycle, causing a level-three nuclear disaster.
He returns from a deep-sea grave, reformed and ready to attend class, take his girl to the prom and graduate. Principal Miss Strict (junior Kimberly Sears) points to the student handbook, however, which forbids zombies from enrolling.
Do zombies have civil rights? Magazine reporter Eddie Flagrante (senior Ben Thomas) uncovers some interesting research on that topic.
If you attended school, you will understand the jokes. ‘Zombie Prom is almost nonstop dancing and singing,” Bennett said. “We feature a live orchestra. California sustains its reputation for quality productions featuring excellent costuming and imaginative sets and staging.”
The cast includes seniors Kelcie Christopher, Rachel Ferry, John Michael Mihalek and Courtney Pro. Underclassmen in the show are Devan Altman, Shelbe Ferry, Jake Glawinski, Lacey Koster, Gage Leavitt, Michael Luketich, Maria Martik, Vanessa Martik, Trisha Mihalek, Anthony Newman, Canyon Renner, Austin Sutch, Ryan Tirpak, Lucas Tranchita, Megan Trunzo, Nina Victoria, Josh Wohar and Liz Wohar. Hunter Watkins is technical director.
“Atomic Orchestra” musicians are California University of Pennsylvania students Mike Meketa (conductor-piano), Andrew Dunn (synthesizer), Jonathan Pezutti and Steve Ventura (guitars), Eric Tito (bass guitar), Evan Yester (drums-percussion), Nathan Milligan (saxophones), Martha Rasbridge (trumpet), Bethany Swan and Shane Urbine (trombones) and Pete Harris (auxiliary percussion).
“Zombie Prom” is based on a story by John Dempsey and Hugh Murphy. The “Atomic Edition” adaptations are by Marc Tumminelli.
Bennett said she has a devoted group of volunteers who help make the California musicals a success each year.
They include artistic directors Bill Bennett of California and Adam Sutch of Daisytown; music director and conductor Michael Meketa of Johnstown; longtime costume designer Barb Gismondi of Elco; choreographer Maria Gismondi of Pittsburgh; art designer Joseph Seaman of Scottdale; hair dressers Bobbi Hixon and Denise Cowen.; and seamstress Linda Wohar.
Stacy Wolford is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-684-2640 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Crew Mission volunteers will decorate home of Rostraver family
- Rostraver business site ordered to close
- Monongahela paramedic dies in the line of duty
- Fayette City in search of better times
- Thanksgiving is special to the blessed
- Yesteryear journey follows familiar path to many newsmakers
- Mon Valley preparing for Small Business Saturday
- Pa. Supreme Court decision may reopen Monessen health office
- Hearings delayed for 3 men charged in Rostraver home invasion
- Police investigating shooting outside of Monessen bar
- Belle Vernon Area out to establish foundation