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'Zombie Prom' takes a bite at this Port Coquitlam high school in April

"Zombie Prom" runs at the theatre next to Terry Fox Secondary from April 12 to 14 and April 19 to 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Terry Fox Secondary students Rowan O'Callaghan and Jacob Bricker star in "Zombie Prom" at the Port Coquitlam high school.

There's a lot of prom action happening at Terry Fox Secondary these days.

The Port Coquitlam high school is not only gearing up for graduation in June and is featured in the recently released Disney movie Prom Pact, but it's also coming out with its first stage production since 2019: Zombie Prom.

A total of 27 students are cast in the extracurricular musical theatre program under the direction of drama teacher Zelda Coertze.

It's scheduled to run at the Terry Fox Theatre (1260 Riverwood Gate) from April 12 to 14 and April 19 to 21 — all shows starting at 7:30 p.m.

Coertze, who is also the show's producer and choreographer, told the Tri-City News she picked Zombie Prom "because it's fun and lively, and it jumps off the stage."

"It's got eye-popping colours. It has a comic-book aesthetic. And it's got really cheesy and catchy 1950s songs," she said during Thursday's (March 30) rehearsal.

"It's something that we needed after so many cancellations because of the [COVID-19] pandemic."

Based on a story by John Dempsey and Hugh Murphy, with original music from Dana P. Rowe, Zombie Prom centres around two characters at Enrico Fermi High in the 1950s: Toffee, the good girl, and Jonny, the rebel.

Toffee, portrayed by Grade 11 student Rowan O'Callaghan, falls for Jonny, played by Jacob Bricker, Grade 10; however, when her parents find out that he's a bad boy, they forbid her to see him.

Desperate, Jonny drives to the town’s nuclear waste dump and emerges as a zombie. He continues his pursuit of Toffee, hoping to escort her to the high school prom despite his freakish looks and behaviour.

"It's very fun," said O'Callaghan, 16, who previously performed in Theatre Under the Stars, Arts Club Theatre and Pulse productions.

"It's an uplifting story and a journey of true love."

Bricker, 15, said he auditioned for the show last October after seeing his older brother, Jaden, play Mr. Mushnik in Fox’s Little Shop of Horrors in 2017.

"He said it was the most fun he ever had in high school," Bricker said.

Still, the pair are no strangers to the stage: O'Callaghan is the lead singer of the band Baron, of which Bricker is the bassist (the group has a few community events lined up this year).

Coertze said Zombie Prom is a popular show at American high schools, but not so much in Canada.

In School District 43 (SD43), drama teacher Nicole Roberge mounted a version at Riverside Secondary in 2012 and at Pinetree Secondary in 2007, when Coertze was also part of the musical.

Tickets for Zombie Prom at the Terry Fox Theatre are $15/$10 at the door or the school office.