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Zombie Prom! at Riverside

Blood Brothers just wasn't going to cut it.

Blood Brothers just wasn't going to cut it.

Nicole Roberge had seen the heartbreaking story about twins who were separated at birth and later fall in love with the same girl - ending in tragedy for both - and knew the narrative didn't suit her musical theatre class at Port Coquitlam's Riverside secondary.

"In September, I looked at the list of who was in the course and I thought, 'This isn't going to work for our next show,'" she said. "I couldn't do a doom and gloom kind of play because the kids are so bubbly. I needed something to suit their energy."

Instead, Roberge remembered a hilarious 1950s satire she directed while teaching at Pinetree secondary - a musical that not only received rave reviews but also made its west coast high school debut at the Coquitlam school. "I rarely recycle shows but this seemed like the right group to reinvent it," she said.

And since the Musical Theatre 10-12 class started rehearsing Zombie Prom - an Off-Broadway musical that was later adapted into a short film - the "living dead" has made its way into Riverside culture and curricula.

Last Halloween, staff surprised students with a flash mob in the lobby, dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller. As well, Lori Leonard has included zombie-type references in her English studies.

"It has really caught on, in a fun way," Roberge said, noting Riverside teachers have been very helpful in putting Zombie Prom together with a librarian handling the costumes, a counsellor assisting with painting, a woodshop teacher organizing the sets, a music instructor offering vocal coaching, an art teacher offering audio and visual technical components, an English teacher in charge of front-of-house and the principal lending a hand on the opening night gala.

In addition, Grade 11 student and artist Stephane Dufault is giving Zombie Prom an edge with his cartoons that will be projected onto a large screen behind the cast that includes Grade 12 students Heather Corbould as Toffee Glaze and Paul Wiebe as Jonny Warner - the rebel who spells his name without an "H" and throws himself into a nuclear power plant after he splits with Toffee.

Zombie Prom runs Feb. 23, 24, 25 and 29, and March 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. There is also a free matinee on Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. Tickets are available at the door of the school (2215 Reeve St., Port Coquitlam), starting at 7 p.m. For more information, call 604-941-6053.

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