Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Woodbridge Senior High School Zombie Prom

By • Apr 20th, 2009 • Category: Cappies

Just about now, millions of teenagers are shopping for dresses, renting tuxedos, and undergoing the incredibly stressful process of planning the perfect prom night. But imagine the dilemma one girl faces as she tries to decide whether or not to attend her senior prom – not because her parents don’t approve of her boyfriend, but because he is green and recently returned from the dead. This provides the central storyline of the zany, hilarious, and surprisingly touching musical Zombie Prom, as presented by Woodbridge Senior High School.

Zombie Prom is a campy combination of fifties high school musicals and horror comic books written by John Dempsey with music by Dana P. Rowe. Originally produced in Key West, Florida in 1993, the show enjoyed a successful Off-Broadway run three years later. In the play, senior Toffee (Krishilda Zabala) meets and falls in love with rebel Jonny Warner (Keith Hutchison). When Toffee’s parents forbid the two from dating, Jonny accuses Toffee of betraying him and throws himself into a nuclear cooling tower, only to return from the dead as a nuclear zombie! Meanwhile the school’s principal, aptly named Delilah Strict (Katy Chmura) fights to maintain order and to keep journalist Eddie Flagrante (Andrew Buning) from championing zombie rights.

As the heart-torn leading lady, Zabala provided Toffee with genuine sweetness and a pleasant pop belt, which was almost always in tune, even when some of her song partners were not. Hutchison’s Jonny had an abundance of energy and commitment, particularly immediately after returning from the dead.

However, the show was undeniably stolen by Chmura as Miss Delilah Strict. Chmura’s performance displayed such commitment, range, and ability that it was easy to forget she was a high school student, not a middle-aged principal. In addition, Chmura was the only singer who was able to easily access her upper register without losing intonation or focus, all the while maintaining a powerful belt.

The principals were supported by an equally committed and enthusiastic ensemble, almost all of whom displayed confidence and created clearly defined characters. Whenever Emily Kopa – who played Toffee’s friend Coco – was on stage, she drew laughs for her attitude, that contrasted with Toffee’s other friends’ peppiness. Zach Brown as Joey had significantly less to say, but still demonstrated impressive characterization, confidence, and energy.

The technical aspects of the show were of slightly more mixed quality than the performances. The stage crew was efficient and never drew attention to themselves, allowing the show to run very smoothly. On the other hand, the sound was frequently problematic, although the actors never let their mic problems disrupt the performance.

Despite these few problems, Zombie Prom made for an exciting and fun evening. The whole cast had an incredible amount of energy and several actors gave especially engaging performances that transcended the usual expectations for high school theatre. Coupled with the inherent joy of the show itself, this provided for a theatrical experience that was anything but dead.

by Adam Jackson of Montgomery Blair High School

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