"Some times even Zombies need a little love," said a joking Richard Rose, producing artistic director of Barter Theatre and director of the 50s-style musical romp, "Zombie Prom."
Opening Barter Theatre's fall season, critics liken "Zombie Prom" to "Grease" meets "Little Shop of Horrors."
"The music is inspired by 1950s doo-wop and rock-n-roll," said Rose. "It's music you'll be singing as you exit the theatre. Barter's cast is really having fun with it and they sound incredible."
"Zombie Prom" is mainly set in the halls and classrooms of Enrico Fermi High, a high school named after the founder of the atomic bomb. The motto of Principle Strict (Hannah Ingram) enlists three simple ideas: rules, regulations and respect.
When newcomer Jonny Warner (Stephen Scott Wormley), brings some new ideas to the static students, including the notion that he's now going to spell his name without the customary "h," school officials try hard to snuff out his individualism, which makes him all the more attractive to young Toffee (Holly Williams).
After falling head over heels in love with Jonny, Toffee's parents and her teachers move quickly and convince Toffee to break up with this Jonny-no-good. Jonny "without the 'h'" Warner's heart is broken. So he hurls himself to the nuclear plant and puts an end to it all; or so everybody thinks.
Three weeks later, Toffee is still troubled by the loss of Jonny, but all the other kids can think about is the upcoming senior prom. Then, a blast from the past comes bursting through the door. Jonny the highschool greaser returns as a nuclear zombie to try to win back Toffee's love, graduate high school and take Toffee to the senior prom.
What's a girl to do when her dead ex-boyfriend asks her to the senior prom? Will Jonny be able to return to school? Will there even be a senior prom? Exposé Magazine reporter, Eddie Flagrante (Nick Koesters) sniffs out the story and is determined to give Jonny his day in the court of public opinion.
Other Barter Theatre cast members are Sean Campos, Parris Cromer, Abbey C. Elliot, Justin Tyler Lewis, Wendy Piper and Andrew Slane.
Music Director is Steven Sensenig and the story is told with band members Lee Harris, Gill Braswell and Steve Sensenig onstage. Amanda Aldridge choreographs.
This fall Barter Theatre is also producing "Tarzan: The Stage Musical," the world-premieres of "October, Before I Was Born" and "The Wind Farmer," as well as Cormac McCarthy's "The Sunset Limited."
"Zombie Prom" begins September 6 at Barter Stage II. Tickets prices are $30, $33 and $36; For ages 17 and under, Tickets are $18. Call 276.628.3991 or visit BarterTheatre.com for tickets and more information.
Pictured: Cast of Barter Theatre's "Zombie Prom", opening September 6 at Barter Stage II.