A musical with references to the c-word — the one that rhymes with map, the “unimpeachable” Vice President Nixon and a student returning to school green with nuclear waste instead of envy is not something done in every high school drama club. Hoquiam High School students however, are donning their poodle skirts and slicking back their pompadours to tell a story full of teenage drama, heartache and revival in “Zombie Prom!” It’s full of delightfully cheesy jokes, pop culture references and a 1950s rock ‘n’ roll vibe. However, don’t expect any references to cutting down shambling corpses with a bow like in a certain popular AMC show.
Patty Sundstrom, drama coach and one of two directors for the play has one way to describe it.
“I’d like to think of it as Grease on steroids,” Sundstrom said.
The story is set in Enrico Fermi High, a school named after the famous physicist and run by the aptly named Principal Strict, played by Jessah Kiah. When senior Toffee, played by Cora Foss, falls in love with Jonny, played by Drew Carley, their love is not approved by the adults in their lives. After Toffee breaks it off to please her parents, Jonny throws himself into the nearby nuclear reactor. Three weeks later he returns from the dead and stirs up a lot of controversy at the school. “Exposé” reporter picks up the story and it runs wild as the talk of the town.
Every year, the Hoquiam High show is chosen based upon trying to get as many actors on stage as possible. This one gave the students a chance to act in something not especially well known, but with more than 40 parts for students to fill.
The set, produced and painted by students, is a mix of the black and light wood of the stage with vivid colors of pop art posters serving as a backdrop. Chalkboards, typewriters, wheeled desks and many more props were built or taken from past productions. The Aberdeen Driftwood Players also contributed items for the students to use in this play.
Guidelines for the costumes were given to the actors, but they were in charge of finding their own, according to Sundstrom.
“We had to give them a thumbs up or down, but they did a great job bringing that all together themselves,” she said.
Three students, Cora Foss, Adam Cooper and Bailey Skolrood, are also helping direct the play.
There are no pre-recorded songs for this show. The band uses guitars, a keyboard and drum set to create the music for every show.
“It’s always a great way to bring kids who usually aren’t part of drama into the shows,” she said.
Past graduates are also helping with the production, including doing lights, sound and more.
The biggest challenge has been taking the set they’ve been practicing with at Hoquiam High and using it at the very differently shaped 7th St. Theatre stage. Two weeks of rehearsals in this theater lead up to the opening, which can be a little nerve wracking, Sundstrom said.
“This is a show that’s not very well known but it’s fun and I think a lot of people will love it,” she said.
Showtimes at the 7th St. Theatre are Feb. 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students. They are available at Hoquiam High School, Harbor Drug, Crown Drug, Rosevear’s Music Store and at the door 30 minutes before the show.