Adolescent angst reaches explosive levels in “Zombie Prom”, the iconic 50’s spoof with Book and Lyrics by John Dempsey and Music by Dana P. Rowe. Director and Set Designer, Matt Austin is to be applauded for bringing this unique musical to life with an energetic cast, neon set and exhilarating music for TheatreWorks New Milford’s 50th anniversary season.
Fun for the whole nuclear family, the musical centers on the love story of good girl, Toffee (Lexi Tobin) and the not-so-bad-boy, Jonny – without the H (Tommy Orvitt) at Enrico Fermi High School. Principal, Miss Delilah Strict (Jody Bayer) keeps a tight rein on her students instilling the principles of “Rules, Regulations and Respect”. Ms. Bayer’s flawless and humorous interpretation of Ms. Strict commanded the stage and her students. Under pressure by the adults in her life, Toffee ends her romance with Jonny compelling him to drive his motorcycle into the local nuclear waste dump. During “Jonny Don’t Go” Lexi Tobin wows the audience with her powerful vocals.
Jonny returns as a zombie to win back Toffee’s love and graduate high school. Local reporter, Eddie Flagrante (Stephen DiRocco) latches on to Jonny’s story to make drop dead headlines.
The production is filled with songs that are reminiscent of 50’s favorites including rock and roll, doo-wop, blues and even crooning. The multi-faceted ensemble includes Sydney Coelho, Dana Wilton, Erin Shaughnessy, Richard Frey, Karl Hinger and Dominick Ventrella. Their tight harmonies and unique characterization intrigued the audience as they took on various roles. Each member of the ensemble embodied a typical high school student creating his or her own unique oddity. Dana Wilton’s Ramona Merengue was a highlight of the show as she channeled Carmen Miranda. Her comic timing, vocal talent and interpretive dancing drew audience laughter and applause in the middle of her number. The resourceful and imaginative choreography by Jenny Schuck evoked the dance styles of the era along with the vibrant costuming by Meg Jones, Karen Steckler and DB Productions.
"While this show is fun and silliness in its purest form, it has an underlying message of acceptance," explains Mr. Austin, " Acceptance of someone/something that is different from us. In an uncertain world, all we have is each other and we must embrace that."
So get out your leather jackets and poodle skirts and bop on over for the final performances on August 4 & 5 at 8pm at TheatreWorks at 5 Brookside Ave in New Milford, CT. For more information and ticket sales, visit www.TheatreWorks.us or call 860.350.6863.
Photo credit: Richard Pettibone