ZOMBIE BEACH: THE MUSICAL Comes to HCC Ybor City This Week

Performances run Thursday to Saturday, March 30 – April 8.

By: Mar. 29, 2023
ZOMBIE BEACH: THE MUSICAL Comes to HCC Ybor City This Week

The Hillsborough Community College Theater Department and LAB Theater Project are proud to co-present the new stage show, Zombie Beach: The Musical, with a book by Tampa Bay native John Cecil, and music and lyrics by Cecil and Laura Rebel-Angel. Set in the 1960s, this show brings together beach movies, rock & roll, and zombies, in a story about the love of the living and the hunger of the dead.

New York-based playwright John Cecil grew up in the Tampa Bay area and proudly claims to be a product of the Pinellas County Center for the Arts theater program. He has had numerous plays, screenplays and a sitcom pilot produced in New York. Musician, vocalist and DJ Laura Rebel-Angel, of the Brooklyn-based roots band Screaming Rebel Angels, joined with Cecil to compose music and lyrics for the show. Zombie Beach is directed by Suzy Devore, head of the HCC Theater Department and noted actor and director. The music direction is by Miles Randolph, last seen locally as music director for LAB Theater Project's show, It Started with a Kiss.

In a little-known Southern California beach town, a group of teenagers head straight for the beach as soon as school ends for summer vacation. Of course, the beach is named after a famous horror movie creator, which should have been a clue for these clueless teens! This mashup musical brings together everyone's favorite elements from the pop movies of the '60s: boy gets girl, boy gets the Queen of the Undead (oops), girl does not take that lying down in the sun. Plus rock & roll songs, dance numbers (human and zombie!) and blood -- lots of blood!

"I love the concept of combining a sixties style musical with the zombies from the film world," says Suzy Devore, the director. "It is a love story, and who doesn't love a great romance! I'm thrilled to direct and co-produce this world premier, and bring Hillsborough Community College Theater Department and Lab Theater Project together."

This show appeals to kids from all ages. As John Cecil, the playwright, says, "this is a love letter to the pop culture of the 1960s." Plus, he admits he always wanted to see Annette Funicello in a fight with Vampira, so now he's created his own. And, as Devore says, "It's a toe tapping, bloody good time!"

This co-production between LAB and HCC is structured as an opportunity to give HCC theater students the experience of working in a professional production. Some roles are cast with professional actors, and the production team is drawn from some of the most seasoned experts in the region. Along with Devore and Randolph, the choreographer is Heather Cole, the set design is by LAB's founding producer Own Robertson, lights designed by Wayne Linderman, costumes by Lindsay Ellis, and sound by Aimee Sallee. Mike Martin (guitar) and Sid Wright (drums) are joining Miles Randolph (keyboard) in the show's band.

This is the second original musical LAB Theater Project has staged, but, according to Robertson, who is also Zombie Beach's producer, the size and scale of this one made it ideal for a collaboration that would give HCC students experience working with local professionals. LAB, which was founded in 2015 as a professional company dedicated to a "playwright first" vision and bringing new works to life, has produced over 40 new works from local, national, and even international writers. In addition, LAB's mission includes the growth and development of new theater artists in the community, which places the current production squarely in the center of the company's 8-year tradition. Roberson is also an Adjunct Professor at HCC. For more information about LAB Theater Project, visit LABTheaterProject.com.

Hillsborough Community College serves more than 42,000 students at its five campuses throughout Tampa Bay. The Performing Arts Department offers associate degrees and university-level training in Theater, Dance, and Music. The Theater Department has been led by Assistant Professor Suzy Devore since 2014. Devore has produced and directed over 25 productions there, including theatrical classics and new works. Her dedication to teaching new theater artists and working in all genres has allowed students to go on to well-recognized four-year schools and also directly into the professional market. This is the first full-length musical that the department has had the resources to produce, thanks to the collaboration with LAB Theater Project, and it is a tremendous experience for the department and the students. For more information, visit www.hccfl.edu/theater.

Zombie Beach: The Musical runs Thursday to Saturday, March 30 - April 8 at 7:30, plus Saturday matinees at 2:00 April 1 and 8, in the Mainstage Theater at the HCC Ybor City campus. The theater is located in the Performing Arts Building at 1411 E. 11th Ave, in Tampa. General admission tickets are $20, through www.labtheaterproject.com. Admission is free for HCC students, faculty and staff with valid ID, through www.hccfl.edu/theatre.


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