And here is the Review!
Cast, music, writing all dead-on in 'Zombie Prom'
Musical's campy mood fully embraced-
"Zombie Prom," the new production on the dinner stage, is an entertaining treat, thanks to spry writing from John Dempsey and zippy, fun music from Dana C. Rowe.
With such a solid foundation, all that's left to do is dig up a surefire cast, and director Kathy Jackson did just that.
This young cast, many of whom already have honed their talents in a slew of other productions, is energetic, gifted with perfect comic timing and turns in the requisite melodrama for a B-film-type "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes"-styled production. The cast really does embrace the campy mood of the musical.
In the play, set in the atomic '50s at Enrico Fermi High (named after the physicist who helped develop the first atomic bomb), bad boy Jonny (Ben Steimel) loves good girl Toffee (Terrace Althouse). But she is pressured by her parents and the very strict principal, Miss Strict (Jennifer Vaughn), to break up with him.
Alas, beset by such tragedy, the lovelorn Jonny (too cool to spell his name with an "h") hops on his motorcycle and commits suicide in the vicinity of the nuclear power plant.
Toffee, in mourning over Jonny — and right around prom time, too — gets support from her friends Candy (Kat Johnson), Coco (Hannah Smith), Ginger (Emily Clements), Jake (Jarrod Adams), Joey (Cody Thomas) and Josh (Mickey Jordan). Little does she know, all her crying over Jonny has brought him back from the dead and, now a zombie, all he wants to do is take her to prom. Obstacles are in their way, of course. For one, he's a zombie. But he also must win over Miss Strict and gets help in that regard from an unlikely source, the town muckraking reporter, Eddie Flagrante (Brandon Irwin).
"Zombie Prom" is a dead-on perfect kind of production for the dinner stage. It's lighthearted entertainment meant for a few laughs, so don't expect any big swaths of drama to sweep through.
While this is an ensemble production and doesn't shine the light too much on one character, Irwin proved to be the scene-stealer of the night, particularly when his character launches into a steamy dance scene with Miss Strict. He throws out cocky glances here and there, playing the crowd as much as he can. He injects the right amount of smarm, charm and likability to the character without going too much over the top.
Althouse as Toffee charms with her voice, a kind of throwback '50s siren kind of voice with its lilting vibrato. She's never off pitch. She, too, embraces the B-movie feel of this musical, glancing at the audience with her big eyes, as if she's on the poster of some campy, shocking '50s film.
Clements as Ginger, and Smith as Coco really zing the one-liners, like when Smith cries out in melodramatic fashion how Miss Strict took her baton — a teen tragedy, for sure — while Clements, who plays the goody two-shoes, bangs her head against the lockers at one point for yet more teen drama.
Ben Steimel is as sweet as he can be as Jonny, the teen zombie in love, and Jordan as Josh has an innate comic sense about him. Vaughn, too, is easygoing and sweet so she has some room to be even meaner and more uptight as Miss Strict.
Music director Robin Mikalunas has gotten the best out of these performers in the musical numbers, helping refine those harmonies just so, and the choreography, by Smith, is appropriate (and funny) to each number.
"Zombie Prom," which also stars Patricia Biera, Jenna Frazier and Logan Irwin, does hit a few slow spots in between musical numbers. But overall, it's a very fun night of the living dead at Backdoor Theater.
What a great Review! (I went in and highlighted theirs names in bold font and italics) If you'll notice so many of our cast memebers are also memebers of the Casablanca! This show has been so much fun to be apart of (I've been waiting nearly Seven years to do it!) Tune in Monday for the "Zombie Prom- Set Post.".