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'Attack of the Zombies!' comes to Connellsville Area High School stage

| Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 5:24 p.m.
Linda Harkcom | For the Daily Courier
Cast members for the Connellsville Area High School’s Senior Class Play “Attack of the Zombies!” rehearse a scene for the show which will be performed Nov.r 21, 22, and 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the school's auditorium. From left are (front row) Rachel Shepler, 17, of Indian Head and Ty Stoke, 17, of Connellsville; (second row) Tim Hensel, 18, of Connellsville, Lauren Urie, 18, of Bullskin Township and Alissa Velosquez, 17, of Indian Head.

Last month, zombies invaded Connellsville for some Halloween fun. Next week they will take center stage, literally, at Connellsville Area High School's auditorium in this year's senior class play “Attack of the Zombies!”

Celebrating his 10th year as senior class play director/producer, David Hartz picked a show he describes as a family friendly comedy with a lot of action that is very fast paced.

“I chose it because zombies are huge these days. I looked at several scripts and thought it looked funny and I thought the kids would enjoy dressing up as zombies. There are also many characters who are high school students,” Hartz said.

Written by Tim Kelly in the style of such classic horror films as “Night of the Living Dead, “The Return of the Living Dead” and “Cemetery High,” this year's play, “Attack of the Zombies!,” combines suspense and laughter to entertain the audience.

Main characters Howie, Louise, Gary and Phoebe are in charge of “Zombie Night,” the annual senior class party. They locate an abandoned farmhouse by an old graveyard that was once occupied by the creepy Dr. Thanatos, who tried to re-animate the dead. Sore losers, Vivian and Anne, who wanted a sock hop, arrive with a plan to destroy the party. The party is further complicated as the zombies shuffle from the graveyard while the students decorate for the party.

Hartz said he thinks the audience will really enjoy the scene where the zombies descend on the students. “It's kind of a madcap chase,” he said.

There are 35 student cast members and another 25 student crew members involved in creating this production. While all ages can work on the crew, Hartz said all of the cast are seniors.

“It's really an opportunity for them to shine,” he said.

Trent Bauer, 18, of Connellsville plays Howie, the leader of the group in charge of the party. Bauer has been acting for about four years in musicals at the school and at the Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale, but said this is his first play.

Blakeley Herrilko, 17, of Connellsville — who plays Anne, one of the characters out to destroy the party — has also performed in musicals for the past six years at the school and the GPAC but has not had the opportunity to be in a play before.

“I like both aspects of both but I'm strong at acting so I feel my personality really is able to shine through,” Herrilko said.

Bauer has found the role easy to play since he and his character have many of the same qualities.

“I think it's easier for me to play because I'm president of student council so I'm used to planning stuff but it's hard to find something about him that is different from me,” he said.

Both Bauer and Herrilko said they feel the audiences will like the suspenseful parts of the show.

“I think it's going to be a funny show but there are also a lot of things that will have you on the edge of your seat that you won't expect,” Bauer said.

Herrilko said while there are a lot of zombies in the show it is still family friendly.

The show will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21, 22 and 23 at the high school auditorium by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Service of Englewood. Colo.

Hartz said the show runs about 90 minutes with a 15-minute intermission.

This is the first year the senior class play will be held in the school's new state-of-the-art auditorium.

“We're excited about that. It feels a little more spacious. With all the new fixtures there is much less chance things could go wrong and the sound is upgraded as well so it's an overall improvement from what we had to work with,” Hartz said.

Tickets are $5 and available at the box office on the evening of the performance, or in advance by calling the CAHS office at 724-628-1350 or by email at

Hartz said on Thursday only, there will be a special ticket price of $1 for students.

Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer.

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