By LORRAINE SPENCER
“Grease” met “The Rocky Horror Show” at the Salem Community Theatre on Friday, and the result was “Zombie Prom.”
The musical, written by Boardman native John Dempsey, is a tongue-in-cheek representation of a high school romance in the 1950’s. Toffee, the good girl, falls for Jonny, the rebel without an H. But when her family disapproves, Toffee breaks it off.
A heartbroken Jonny rides off on his motorcycle, crashing into the town’s nuclear reactor. His return, as a nuclear zombie, sends the school into an uproar. Toffee is unsure of her feelings for her now undead boyfriend, and Miss Strict, the principal, bans him from the school. However, the editor of the local tabloid takes pity on him and helps Jonny to win back the girl and go to the prom.
Every actor in this cast was exceptional. Each one sang and danced with perfect pitch and timing. Kelsey Crismon portrayed Toffee with just the right combination of innocence and spunk. Her singing was clear and strong, and her facial expressions were entertaining. Robert Dumovic as Jonny was also excellent as the tough guy with a soft heart. The chorus of high school kids backed up the leads in perfect harmony.
Christine Corbi and Eric Kibler played the adults in the story. Corbi is a veteran of stage and screen and played Miss Strict with impressive vocal power and clarity. Kibler, also a seasoned performer, was hilarious as tabloid editor Eddie Flagrante.
Unfortunately for the actors and the audience, the sound system at SCT needs some work. Microphones were left on backstage and not turned on onstage. Occasionally, a low feedback noise was heard. The actors also clearly had trouble hearing the band, as they were sometimes off the music. Overall, the sound from the band and the actors was quiet and muted, giving the show a dull, flat feel.
The actors obviously worked hard to overcome these problems, filling the stage with energy and charisma. Despite the minor problems, “Zombie Prom” was a clever, fun and undead blast through the past.
X“Zombie Prom” plays Oct. 5, 6, 12 and 13 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 7 and 14 at 2 p.m.