Casting Announced for Unexpected Stage's Zombie Prom
What's a high school prom without the undead? As part of its seventh season, Unexpected Stage Company presents the campy, rollicking musical Zombie Prom, celebrating 20 years since its off-Broadway debut. The production will run October 6 through 30, 2016, at Randolph Road Theater, 4010 Randolph Road, Wheaton, MD (the former Round House space).
General admission tickets are priced $10 to $27.50, and are on sale via phone at 800-838-3006, online at www.unexpectedstage.org, and at the door subject to availability. A special Pay-What-You-Can preview performance is scheduled for Thursday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m. For information, call 301-337-8290 or go online.
The cast for Zombie Prom features Will Hawkins as Jonny Warner, Julia Klavans as Toffee, Dallas Milholland as Delilah Strict, and Joshua Simon as Eddie Flagrante, with Katie Culligan (Coco), Philip da Costa (Joey), JorDan Clark Halsey (Josh), Kelsey Painter (Candy), RJ Pavel (Jake), and Stephanie Wilson (Ginger).
The Saturday, October 22 performance of Zombie Prom at 7:30 p.m. will benefit Best Buddies of the capital region, with half of all ticket sales going to support this local nonprofit. Best Buddies is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the social, physical, and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Their programs help people with IDD form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure successful jobs, and improve public speaking, self-advocacy, and communication skills.
It's not all bobby socks and Clearasil for Jonny Warner when he drops the "H" from his name, dives head-long into the town's nuclear reactor, and returns to 1950s high school life as a zombie. Zombie Prom follows the angst-ridden teen love of Jonny and Toffee as they try to navigate the waters of high school during the atomic age. Not only must they face the injustices generally placed on zombies, they must also face the tyrannical Principal Delilah Strict, as well as the probing eye of sensationalist reporter Eddie Flagrante who exploits the lovers in his "cause celebre" of zombie civil rights.
Penned by the writing team of John Dempsey (book and lyrics) and Dana P. Rowe (music), known for The Fix and The Witches of Eastwick, Zombie Prom is based on a story by John Dempsey and Hugh M. Murphy. The production is directed by Unexpected Stage Company co-founder Christopher Goodrich, with choreography by Jane Rabinovitz and musical direction by Brandon Heishman. The creative team also includes William T. Fleming (set design) and Gary Hauptman (lighting design).
"I am terrified to direct Zombie Prom," director Goodrich reveals. "In all seriousness, I can't wait to see how it comes together and what bubbles up during rehearsals. These are the projects that excite me the most."
As she prepares for the start of rehearsals, choreographer Jane Rabinovitz shares, "When I first heard the music for Zombie Prom, I was immediately able to visualize movement. The energy in every group number calls to mind the frenetic buzz of a crowded high school hallway. I want the choreography in Zombie Prom to capture the youth and intensity of its characters, the boisterous energy of its music, and the twists and turns of its plot. The show calls for a good time and I want the dance element to bring that out!"
Unexpected Stage Company's co-producing artistic director Rachel Stroud-Goodrich adds, "Zombie Prom was first produced at the time I was becoming aware of quirkier off-Broadway musicals (think Grease with an edge). I've loved the show ever since, and the timing of the Halloween holiday is a perfect fit."
Together, Dana P. Rowe and John Dempsey have written Off-Broadway's Zombie Prom, The Fix (directed in London at the Donmar Warehouse by Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes), a stage adaptation of John Updike's The Witches of Eastwick, and an operetta for children based on Kenneth Grahame's story of The Reluctant Dragon. Rowe and Dempsey received Olivier Award nominations for The Fix and The Witches of Eastwick, both of which were produced in London by Sir Cameron Mackintosh and premiered in the U.S. under the direction of Eric Schaeffer at Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA.
Post-show discussions with Zombie Prom cast and creative members
Saturday, October 15, 2 p.m.
Sunday, October 23, 2 p.m.
Champagne intermission courtesy of The Law Office of Miguel Palmeiro, LLC
Thursday, October 20, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 27, 7:30 p.m.
Performance benefiting Best Buddies
Saturday, October 22, 7:30 p.m.
ABOUT THE CAST:
Will Hawkins (Jonny Warner) is thrilled to be making his debut with the Unexpected Stage Company! He is excited to be working on this relatively unknown gem with such a talented group of artists, both on stage and off. After graduating from UNC: Chapel Hill and spending a summer with the College Light Opera Company in Cape Cod, Will recently moved back to the DC area and has been working since. A whole-hearted supporter of new works, he has had the opportunity to work on many developing plays and musicals in both readings and fully staged productions. Some of these highlights include Lost in Wonderland (Mad Hatter), Truth: the Musical (Reverend Bullworthy), and Code Name: Cynthia (Ensemble). Since he can never say it enough, he'd like to take a moment to thank his parents for their tremendous support. Trust him, they're both wonderful.
Julia Klavans (Toffee/Dance Captain) is thrilled to make her Unexpected Stage debut! DC Theatre: Elephant and Piggie's We are in a Play! (National Tour), Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences; Guys and Dolls, Olney Theatre Center; Jumanji, Adventure Theatre MTC; Absolutely! Perhaps, Constellation Theatre; The Oregon Trail, Flying V Theatre; (a love story), Source Festival. Regional Theatre: Living on Love, Williamstown Theatre Festival; A Midsummer Night's Dream, National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts. Julia is a proud graduate of Baltimore School for the Arts and University of Maryland, College Park. www.juliaklavans.weebly.com.
Dallas Milholland (Delilah Strict) is thrilled to be joining Unexpected Stage for the first time! Originally from Seattle, WA, Dallas moved to the area after touring with the National Players based out of the Olney Theatre Center and recently appeared as Zoe in Ballast at Source Fest 2016. Other favorite roles include The Witch in Into the Woods, Ariel in The Tempest, Veronica in God of Carnage, Electra, and Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd. She looks forward to her next chapter in the DC area - Peace be the journey!
Joshua Simon (Eddie Flagrante) is thrilled to return to Unexpected Stage, where he was last seen as Raph in Dani Girl (Helen Hayes nomination!). Recent credits include Floyd Collins at 1st Stage, James and the Giant Peach at Adventure Theatre, The Gossamer Eye at Manasquan Playhouse, code name: CYNTHIA at Pallas Theatre Collective, and Ragtime at Toby's Dinner Theatre (Helen Hayes nomination). Film and television credits include "Clash of the Titans," "Making the Mob," as well as commercials for Wawa, and training videos for TSA. However, please do not send your complaints about airport security to Joshua, he is very busy "training" his new puppy, Cody.
Celebrating its seventh season in 2016, Unexpected Stage Company is a professional regional theater company founded by the husband-and-wife team of Christopher Goodrich and Rachel Stroud-Goodrich. The company dedicates itself to honoring the intricacies and intimacies of the complete human experience and, to that end, seeks to unite people, place and storytelling in order to explore interconnection. Past productions include Deb Margolin's 8 STOPS, Helen Hayes Award Recommended Candy and Dorothy, Helen Hayes Award Recommended The Lady in the Van, Women's Voices Theater Festival entry Trish Tinkler Gets Saved, and Kooman and Dimond's Dani Girl (3 Helen Hayes Award nominations). Visit www.unexpectedstage.org and www.facebook.com/unexpectedstage.