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BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!

ZOMBIE5K...yes you read that right. The concept is simple, you go to a specific location in town, choose if you want to be a runner or a zombie and bam, Zombie5k. Being a huge fan of the Zombie subculture I opted to be a zombie. For one I don't like to run, I mean if it were truly the zombie apocalypse you better believe I would be running and wouldn't look back, but for this, the thought of getting to be a zombie and chase unsuspecting joggers (some who would be my friends) through an obstacle course of pure horror and mayhem was an opportunity I could not pass up. So the day arrives and we pack up the car at 7:40 am (what is it with all this early morning stuff, ugh). My friend Clinton Sherwood and I head over to the old abandoned airport in town, which is situated at the top of St. George overlooking the entire town, to meet up with Peter Saide to get zombified. I have to say driving up and seeing the airport for the first time in all its zombie glory was quite the sight. I mean who actually gets to drive down a tarmac or walk around one (besides airport personnel) for that matter? It was magnificent, and they definitely pulled out the stops for this. There were abandoned cars; abandoned buildings, smoking trashcans, huge pieces of debris, and of course a horde of zombies. When we arrived we were sent to a "zombie transformation" tent where we were turned ever so lovingly into members of the undead. I have to say the ladies who did our make-up were quite good and I think we turned out pretty gruesome. After that I was given a HAZMAT suit, which only added to my appearance, and we were lead out of the tent to begin our journey into the world of the undead. From there we met up with our friends Veronica Yeager, Eymard Cabling, and Eric Badique who would be our prey as well as the many others who were participating in the day's event. The rules were simple we, the zombies, could go anywhere on the course and wait. All we had to do was chase people and remove their flags. Sounds easy enough, right?

So we drive out in the car and find the perfect spot, an abandoned building right next to the water station (what better way to catch people off guard). We couldn't have asked for a better spot. We had everything at our disposal: an empty tent to hide in, a large wall to hide behind, and an empty room where we could bang on the air duct to cause fear and alert us that our next meal was coming. The first heat started at 10am and it would be a while till the first group of runners made it to us. Up in the distance we could see our fellow zombies quickly pick off people one by one. If you lost flags along the way there were medic stations where you could pick up new ones. As they rounded the corner towards us Peter readied himself in the room to alert us and Clinton hid in the tent while I took cover behind the wall. It was simple, Peter would alert, Clinton would scare them towards me and we'd pick them off one by one. We had so much adrenalin pumping through us it was quite comical; I mean we were actually nervous, lol. As Clinton and I heard the banging from the air duct we readied ourselves. Our first group made their way around the corner with extreme caution and as Clinton jumped out of the tent the fear that they were experiencing was real and then it all started. People sprinting every which way, to avoid us, but to no avail. I have to say I was very proud of my zombie compatriots, in that first wave of 10 or so we managed to take down more than half, hahahaha. About halfway through the heat our friends Veronica, Eymard, and Eric made it to us. Alas they had succumbed and were dead but Eric still managed to have one flag. I think the others were merely a distraction for us but it didn't stop Peter from chasing Eric down for a good 500 ft. or so. Sadly he escaped (I think Peter went easy on him) but he did get it in the end. As the rest of the heat continued the scene was the same, people thinking they could rest and relax and us taking them down running this way and that. I was actually surprised at how competitive the parents got for their kids. They would actually hold us to stop us from running after them; this however only made it our mission to get their children ever more, which of course we did. I got several, "He's a jerk zombie", sorry kid but all's fair in a zombie apocalypse. My favorite one of the day however was the mom with her two-seat stroller who threatened to run me down, she actually tried to, whom I managed to take both of her flags from. I say next time abandon the kids and save yourself, lol. As we were finishing up our third and final heat of the day we were counting our bounty (about 40 flags) and reveling in our conquest we felt a very great sense of satisfaction. During the second and third heats Veronica, Eymard, and Eric even joined us to act as dead bodies, it was quite the scene.

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Guest Blogger: Jesse Swimm Jesse, has spent the last 20 years working extensively throughout New York, Nationally, and Internationally. He was Action in Broadway choreographer Joey McKneely's hit international production of "West Side Story". Jesse was also a member of the European tours of "A Chorus Line" and "Grease" for which he was the dance captain and set over 5 companies throughout Europe. Other productions include “High Button Shoes” at the Tony Award winning theatre The Goodspeed Opera House, “Swing”, “Beauty and the Beast”, "Footloose", "Singin' in the Rain", "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Anything Goes", "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown", multiple productions of "A Chorus Line", numerous industrials and a few years at the happiest place on earth, Disneyland. Jesse also completed the role of Bobby in a newly revised version of Kander and Ebb’s “The Rink” at The Cape Playhouse starring Leslie Uggams and was in China for the Macau International Music Festival in “Guys and Dolls”. Jesse was the Dance Captain/Swing on the Cameron Mackintosh/Trevor Nunn/Matthew Bourne National Tour of “My Fair Lady” direct from London’s National Theatre in the West End. Most recently Jesse was a part of the 1st National Tour (original cast) and closing Broadway company of Mary Poppins where he understudied and performed the role Bert. Currently Jesse is playing Bert in the US regional premiere of Mary Poppins at the Tuacahn Amphitheater.

Jesse has also worked with such legendary Broadway director/choreographer/producers as Cameron Mackintosh, Trevor Nunn, Matthew Bourne, David Marquez, Tony Award Winner Andy Blankenbeuhler, Tony Award nominee Lara Teeter, Michael Butler, and Nightmare Creations duo Melissa Williams and Carla Kama who are choreographers for international music sensation Prince. Jesse, a California State University of Fullerton alumnus, is a proud member of Actor's Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers.