Fairfield High School presents ‘Zombie Prom’
The Broadway Players of FHS and the Fairfield High School’s music department’s “Zombie Prom” has become my favorite of all their productions I have viewed during my 18 years at The Ledger.
This isn’t your dark, bloody zombie story. Although described in the program as “a 1950s horror comic book brought to life as a musical-comedy,” “Zombie Prom” has much more music and comedy than horror.
And boy, is there music. Most of the story is told through songs with a ’50s feel that the cast put their heart, soul and dancing feet into. FHS students Sesali Martin and Madison Soupiset were the choreographers.
Tthe set isn’t dark either. It has an orange, purple and green color scheme, and even the ramped stage floor is in a plaid pattern with those colors. The back of the stage has three large frames designed like oversized comic book panels, where some of the action takes place. The set was designed by FHS teacher and “Zombie Prom” director Scott Slechta and built by volunteers including chief carpenter Darien Sloat, Mark Bell, Jim Flinspach and Shawn Dettmann. The set painters were Faith Barber, Brandon Francisco, Jade Pearsall and Meghan Rickels.
The campy play is the story of sweet Toffee (Dakota Webber) and the rebel Jonny (Jordan Whitney) who meet at Enrico Fermi High School and fall in love.
But the principal, Miss Strict (Baylee Bowman), who is all about rules, regulations and respect, lays down the law and Toffee breaks up with Jonny.
Heartbroken, Jonny rides his motorcycle to the nearby nuclear plant, flings himself into a nuclear cooling tower and is buried at sea.
Three weeks later, Toffee’s friends are encouraging her to get over her guilt and move on ... go to the prom. Even Miss Strict tells her to get her mind out of the graveyard. But the grieving girl is haunted by a voice calling her name, until a blast from the past — Jonny — reappears as a teenage nuclear zombie. He tells Toffee he plans to clean up his act, finish high school and take her to the senior prom if she will go with him.
Miss Strict is livid that Jonny has returned, and refuses to allow “zombie scum ... satanic walking dead” to the prom. Plus, she begins taking away the students’ extra curricular activities — pep squad, baseball — because the kids support the “cadaver’s cause.” She even threatens to cancel prom if Jonny shows up.
Meanwhile, slick, sensationalist TV show host, Eddie Flagrante (Seth Simmons), looking for a story to crack, learns about the happenings at the school. He shows up to take on Jonny’s cause — “It’s a case of zombie civil rights.”
That is as much as I am revealing about the story because I don’t want to spoil the surprises and the ending, but I can assure you, you will like it.
“It’s a fun play,” said Slechta. “We have a small cast, and everyone has been having a good time with it. They have lots of costume changes, so it keeps them on their toes and busy.”
The cast is rounded out by Toffee’s friends: Coco (Jacklyn Ingle); Candy (Katherine Hull); Ginger (Loreena Hucke); Josh (Drew Grunwald); Joey (Coren Hucke) and Jake (Matt McLain).
Toffee’s parents are played by Jaclyn Flinspach and James Kyle.
Flagrante’s secretary is played by Shea Malloy. His stage manager is played by Gannon Haile. Ramona Merengue, his show’s hilarious musical entertainer, is played by Arielle Smith.
The chorus includes Lynn Fitzsimmons, Joanna Funkhouser, Rachel Funkhouser, Francesca Greco, Holly Harward, Wava Jarr, Madison Soupiset, Monica Stoltz, Alex Helmick, plus the other cast members.
Rachel Biggs and Clara Kelly are the student assistants. They welcome the audience at the beginning of the play, ask them to keep the aisles clear, remind them to shut off their electronic devices and encourage them to purchase raffle tickets from the ushers.
The raffle is to help offset the cost of the production. Raffle tickets cost $2 a piece or three for $5. Tickets will be sold at each performance, and a drawing will be held at each show.
The prize package includes a $25 gift card and two T-shirts for Zombie Burger in Des Moines, a remote control zombie and zombie action figures.
The crew also includes: key grips Jessie Warner and Krystal Weirup; costume designer Nicolas Rich; and lights and sound technicians Laura Jackson, Jesse James and Tristan Williams under the direction of the school district’s technology director John Grunwald. The poster was designed by FHS alum Natasha Chang, with photos by Fairfield Middle School music teacher David Owens.
Owens also plays guitar and bass in the production’s band. Other band members are LeAnne Edgeton and Mary Andersen on keyboards, Aaron Adams on percussion and Gerry Runyon, also on guitar and bass. FHS teachers Jim Edgeton and Zach Reiter are the music directors.
“Zombie Prom” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the FHS Auditorium.
Tickets are on sale 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today through Friday in the high school office. Several ticket options are offered.
Reserved seating is $10, and general seating is $7. Student tickets for general seating are $5.
Various school passes will be accepted for a discount: reserved seating for $7, and general seating for $5.
A baker’s dozen of 13 reserved seating tickets can be purchased for $100 or six reserved seating tickets for $50.
Tickets also can be purchased one hour prior to each performance in the auditorium lobby. The house opens for seating 30 minutes prior to curtain.