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Zombie Prom, the fastest 90 minutes of music, dancing and schtick now cavorting on the stage at TheatreWorks New Milford.

By Mary Hembree, The Town Tribune


Mid-summer doldrums got you down? Feeling blah? I have the perfect cure — Zombie Prom, the fastest 90 minutes of music, dancing and schtick now cavorting on the stage at TheatreWorks New Milford. It's the 1950's, the word "teenager" comes to light and we join a madcap bunch of them at Enrico Fermi High. When your school is named after the "architect of the nuclear age", air raid drills are de rigeur. Principal Delilah Strict lives up to her last name curbing her students youthful enthusiasm through the sheer power of her voice aided by annoying whistle and bullhorn. Newcomer Jonny complete with a James dean swagger, slicked back hair and leather jacket intends to shake things up. When good girld, Toffee falls for him, then rejects him, Jonny drives his motorcycle to the nearby Francis Gary Powers Nuclear Power Plant, becomes a nuclear disaster and is buried at sea. Grief stricken and heartbroken, Toffee's love for Jonny is so powerful, her voice brings him back from the dead...glowing and slimey but still cool. As senior prom approaches, Miss Strict refuses to allow Jonny to attend, the students protest and secrets are revealed.

Zombie Prom was first produced at the Red Barn Theater in Key West, Florida in 1993. It opened Off Broadway in New York City in 1996 and was later adapted into a short film.
Lexi Tobin is delightful as Toffee with an enchanting voice and the countenance of a young girl in love. Her girlfriends are typical teenagers and bring tremendous humor to this play. Ginger (Erin Shaughnessey), Candy (Sydney Coelho) and Coco (Dana Wilton) flow together seamlessly in song, dance and comedy. Dana Wilton's Ramona Merengue is wonderful and her voice is exceptional.

Karl Hinger as Josh and Richard Frey as Joey bring a zany blend to their roles and Mr. Frey is especially comedic in his gas station commercial.

Jonny is played to perfection by the talented Tommy Ovitt. He's cool, hip and dead! Mr. Ovitt commands the stage in song and dance and gives an outrageously grand performance.
Jody Bayer has a unique talent of taking something that is every day and making it hysterically funny. As Miss Delilah Strict she rules her school like a dictator with an iron fist — ruthless and revengeful and downright funny. Trying to get off a desk, Ms. Bayer and her acrobatics are so real she had me in tears. Ms. Bayer is larger than life and a skilled performer.

Eddie Flagrante, news reporter extraordinaire, could not be in better hands than those of the talented Stephen Dirocco. Mr. Dirocco movies around the stage with grace, light of foot and strong in voice. He's a charmer and his scenes with Ms. Bayer, especially the song 'Expose', are marvelous.

Breathing new life into a show about high school, prom and the dead is no small task, Matt Austin has given this creepy little play a new twist and jammed it full of talent and fun. The set, also designed by Mr. Austin, is creative easily morphing from a high school, to a newsroom, to a TV studio and Toffee's bedroom.

The Band, under the musical direction of Anna DeMasi is an integral part of the play and they deliver the 23 songs in Zombie Prom with a 1950's Doo Wop sound that is a foot stomping treat. Zombie Prom flew by and at the end of the 90 minutes, I wished there were just a bit more. You will too!

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