By Owen Bertram
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend Youngstown State University’s “Zombie Prom” on its opening night Oct. 6, and I did not expect the undead to be so good at dancing.
Be Warned: There will be spoilers!
To sum it up, “Zombie Prom” is the story of two lovers – the good girl Toffee, played by Brooke May, and the bad boy Jonny, played by Ryan Bedi. Toffee and Jonny navigate their relationship through the hoops that arise when their relationship is judged by others. Things get paranormal when Jonny jumps off a radioactive power plant and comes back as the living dead.
This musical features so much for people to enjoy. If you’re a fan of the 1978 movie “Grease,” then you will adore the 1950s style music found in “Zombie Prom.” From the zombified return of Jonny in “Blast From The Past” to the teary-eyed ballad “Easy to Say,” there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Shoutout to the innuendo-peppered humor in “Exposé,” sung by KJ Hudson and Mallory Ehrhart, who play the middle-aged adversaries-turned-lovers, Eddie Flagante and Delilah Strict. That song genuinely made me cry with laughter, and I respect any actor who can keep their cool in that hilarious situation.
The humor and style of music does not hide the show’s message that despite people’s differences, we should be able to accept one another for who they are.
With a total runtime of 90 minutes including intermission, I was pleasantly surprised to watch how quickly the story picks up. You get the general idea of who the lovers are, who they are friends with and who is against them. Unlike other musicals where you may lose interest, “Zombie Prom” kept my attention enough to catch every detail.
One critique I have for the show overall is that it is so musically heavy, that it can feel static at times. Dancing and music are important to any musical, but I felt there wasn’t enough dialogue to balance out the 24 songs from “Zombie Prom.” But, that’s just something minor that I would like to note.
If I had to describe the show in a few words, I would say it is campy, easy-going and romantic. It is clear that the director, crew and cast put so much heart and dedication into this show, and you can just feel that throughout the entire performance.
If you have never seen a musical at YSU, this is the one you should check out.
“Zombie Prom” will be showing at YSU’s Ford Theatre in Bliss Hall. The show dates are Oct. 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 15 at 2 p.m.
YSU students can get free tickets for University Theatre shows, and there are discounted tickets for alumni and faculty. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in Bliss Hall one hour before the show or purchased online through the Tix website.