Halloween may be over, but some zombies have yet to utter their final lines.
The Ohio State Department of Theatre will present the off-Broadway musical “Zombie Prom” starting Thursday. The musical, set in the 1950s, presents Enrico Fermi High senior and girl-next-door, Toffee (played by Kelly Hogan), who has fallen for the resident bad boy, Jonny, played by third-year theater major Trent Rowland.
When Toffee’s family forces her to end the love affair, Jonny drives his motorcycle into a nearby nuclear waste dump, and returns glowing and undead to reclaim her heart.
The character’s whole world changed when he met Toffee, Rowland said, and he turns Enrico Fermi High upside down with his return.
“Jonny has this amazing energy about him and it’s been a blast to channel that,” Rowland said.
One of Jonny’s biggest obstacles is the school principal, Miss Delilah Strict, played by fourth-year theater major Liz Light.
Light said she prepared for her role as the authoritarian by discovering how and why the woman could be so fearful.
“For those moments in the script which specify her to be especially frightening, I went back to those teachers, principals and study hall monitors that positively terrified me in school,” Light said.
Mandy Fox, head of acting and directing of the Theatre Department, said she has wanted to do “Zombie Prom” for almost 10 years and can’t wait for the audience to experience the fun.
“We’ve been rehearsing for five weeks and we still crack each other up,” Fox said.
Members of the cast are equally excited to bring this production to campus. Both Light and Rowland said “Zombie Prom” is a sharp contrast to the types of productions the Department of Theatre usually chooses.
“‘Zombie Prom’ has been something of a palate cleanser for those involved, and I have no doubt it will have a similar effect on audiences,” Light said.
Rowland also said the group is excited to bring the fun and insanity of this show to life.
“It is fully aware of how ridiculous it is but that’s what makes it funny,” Rowland said.
The production process for this show has been different for everyone. Fox said she began working in January, meeting with scene, lighting and costume designers to plan the look, feel and pace of the play.
Some members of the cast did not have as much preparation time, however, and found the process quite demanding, Rowland said.
“This is probably the shortest amount of time I’ve had at OSU so far,” Rowland said. “About a month and a half is what I’ve had to work with, but it’s made the process more energized.”
The playwrights and composers of the original play, John Dempsey and Dana P. Rowe, are OSU graduates, Fox said. Rowe plans to attend one of the performances and lead a discussion after the show on Nov. 16.
Performances begin this week with scheduled shows Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. The show is also set to run from Nov. 14 to Nov. 17 at similar times.
Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for Ohio State faculty, staff, Alumni Association members and senior citizens and $15 for students and children.