Zombies will take over the Oley Speaks Auditorium at the Canal Winchester Education Center this weekend when students stage the musical, Zombie Prom.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 9, and Saturday, May 10; a matinee performance is scheduled at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 11.
Directors Erika and Theo Jackson, a husband-and-wife team, said the musical is a rock and roll Off Broadway show set in the "atomic 1950s" at Enrico Fermi High. The class bad boy wants to take the girl he has fallen six feet under for to the prom, but he has to get past the principal and the girl's parents if he wants to rock the night away with her.
While Canal Winchester students will be performing this show for the first time, Theo Jackson served as musical director and guest faculty member for Zombie Prom and other shows at Ohio State University.
Erika Jackson, who is also the theater manager for the Wagnalls Community Theater in Lithopolis, said there were several reasons why they chose this musical, which features a cast of 39 students.
"First, we love the music; it is upbeat and nontraditional and we knew that the students would enjoy learning it," she said.
"We wanted to do a show that would provide opportunity for every actor to be on stage for most of the production; this show heavily features the chorus due to the setting being in a high school."
Technical designer George Bogress has also added a few surprises in the musical, including the challenge of crafting a custom-made motorcycle.
This show also presented a number of challenges, Erika Jackson said, including the fact that the chorus is on the stage for most of the time, meaning the full cast had to be at every fast-paced rehearsal and had a lot of music to learn.
"Hundreds of hours have been invested by creative, talented and committed students who have managed to successfully navigate the challenge of having school, jobs and athletic commitments on top of this demanding production," she said.
"They are worth our community's time. And besides, you'll laugh, smile, reminisce about the 'good old days' and dance in your seats," she added.
Joshua Brown, a CWHS junior who plays the zombie, said the show has been challenging due to all the dancing and places he needs to be on stage.
"What I have gained from this show is not only different singing techniques and how putting on a show gets stressful when you're coming down to the wire, but it makes me think and appreciate about all the actors on Broadway who do this for a living and how they deserve more recognition than they get now," Brown said.
Lo Jackson, a freshman who plays the zombie's love interest, said musical theater has been an important part of her life.
"I have enjoyed working with an amazingly talented and kind group of friends, whom I will miss dearly next year when I attend the Arts and College Preparatory Academy," she said.
Tickets for the show, which can be purchased at the door, cost $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and children.