Cast & Team For ZOMBIES FROM THE BEYOND Announced at Skylight Music Theatre
Skylight Music Theatre Artistic Director Ray Jivoff today announced the full cast, creative team and band for Zombies from The Beyond, an out-of-this-world musical comedy written and composed by Milwaukee native James Valcq. Zombies from The Beyond will be presented February 2-18, 2018 in Skylight's beautiful Cabot Theatre.
As Cold War paranoia is raging in 1955, a flying saucer lands in Milwaukee, threatening the good folks at the fictional Milwaukee Space Center. Even worse, the budding romance of rocket scientist Trenton Corbett and Mary Malone is jeopardized.
"Zombies from The Beyond is a hilarious spoof of sci-fi flicks," said Jivoff. "It takes a funny, affectionate and nostalgic look at 1950s pop culture and the Eisenhower era," he said. "The show is playful and clever - even the title is funny, because there are actually no zombies in the show. It's about space aliens whose secret weapon 'zombifies' or stuns earth men into submission." Zombies opened off-Broadway in 1995 to virtually unanimous critical acclaim. The New York Times called it "Dead aim, deadpan, dead-on new musical with keen-eyed skill to spare." The Daily News called Zombies "A dizzy musical above and beyond the call of hilarity."
Director Pam Kriger Revisits ZombiesPam Kriger will direct and choreograph Skylight Music Theatre's production. In 1995, she co-directed the show off-Broadway with Valcq. Kriger last directed the Skylight 2016 hit I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. Kriger said she was delighted to revisit Zombies.
"I am happy to be back in the company of these endearing, likeable and funny characters," said Kriger. "James (Valcq) has written a phenomenally clever and charming show. It is not only a send-up of sci-fi flicks, but also a valentine to them and to musical comedy as well," she said. "The songs run the entire gamut from anthems to a sexy ballad to a big tap dance number. It is such a fun ride."
Valcq is best known as the composer of the off-Broadway musical The Spitfire Grill, written with collaborator Fred Alley, which Skylight presented in 2002 and 2008.
Valcq said he was inspired to write Zombies from The Beyond for his sister, Susan Gottschalk, for not only her comedy skills, but her "unique high lyric soprano voice, which is pitched about a fifth above the usual soprano range. Her 'stratospheric soprano' led to the idea of a flying saucer-driving alien, (Zombina), whose voice is a secret weapon that zombifies all male hearers," said Valcq. Gottschalk played Zombina in the 1995 New York production.
Set in Milwaukee at the Fictional Milwaukee Space CenterValcq said he set Zombies in Milwaukee as an homage to memorable movie scenes with dramatic finales in iconic locations, such as the Statue of Liberty's observation deck in Hitchcock's Saboteur. In Zombies, Valcq decided to have a flying saucer land on top of the Wisconsin Gas Company Building with its big, color-changing flame light.
"If it all sounds like a lot of quirky, idiosyncratic and innocent fun, it is," said Valcq. "We all need a good laugh. And Zombies from The Beyond keeps 'em laughing for two hours!"
'Zombies' Cast Includes Returning Skylight Favorites and New FacesMilwaukee favorite Norman Moses will play Major Malone. He was recently seen at Skylight as Georges in La Cage Aux Folles (2016), Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (2015), Harold Hill in The Music Man (2011) and numerous other Skylight and area productions.
The cast also features two performers who worked with Kriger at Skylight when she directed I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change: Kathryn Hausman, who plays Mary Malone, and Rick Pendzich, who plays Rick Jones. SaraLynn Evenson will make her Skylight debut in the role of Zombina. Evenson has performed at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater in New York City and in Disney's The Happiest Millionaire.
Also making Skylight debuts are actors Joe Capstick (in the role of Billy Krutzik) who was last seen in 42nd Street at Drury Lane Theatre in Chicago; Matt Frye, (as Trenton Corbett) who has performed with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater in Disgraced and Man of La Mancha and at Third Avenue Playhouse; and Meghan Randolph (as Charlene) whose credits include Jennyanydots, understudy Grizabella, on the national tour of Cats.
The Zombies from The Beyond music director is Kurt Cowling. He will conduct the band including Val Sigal on accordion and Michael (Ding) Lorenz on drums and percussion. Cabarets Follow Select 'Zombies' PerformancesSkylight Music Theatre Artistic Director Jivoff also announced that cabarets at Skylight Music Theatre's Bar & Bistro will take place immediately following performances of Zombies from The Beyond on Friday, February 9 and Saturday, February 10 at 10 p.m., with an additional show on Monday, February 12 at 7:30 p.m.
The cabaret features Shawn Holmes and Ben Tajnai, two powerful singers covering a full range of singing styles from gospel to rock to Broadway to rhythm and blues, with accompanist David Bonofiglio. Holmes was featured in Skylight's Hot Mikado (2017) and seen as Jacob in La Cage Aux Folles (2016). Tajnai made his Skylight debut last season as Beadle in Sweeney Todd (2016).
Admission is $10 at the door for all cabarets. Cash and credit card accepted. Cabaret performances are in the Skylight Bar & Bistro, second floor of the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway in the Historic Third Ward of Milwaukee. Cash bar available at all performances. Zombies from The Beyond February 2-18, 2018 Book,
Music and Lyrics by James Valcq, Zombies from The Beyond is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York