ZOMBIES FROM THE BEYOND
Commonweal Theatre Company
The Musical by James Valcq
Directed by Mark Robinson
“A fabulously zany musical comedy! . . . If those of us living nearby don't fill the house every night, we ought to collectively slap ourselves!”
- The Journal Review
"Silly, goofy and more fun than a barrel of sci-fi, B-movie monkeys! Directed by Mark Robinson, the show contains a sidesplitting cast who are definitely, hilariously in on the joke. Zombies from the Beyond is a campy blast!”
- Rochester Bulletin
“Insanely comical and artfully crafted with a powerful cast! . . . thought the man sitting next to me was going to hurt himself laughing. It is a far more complex show than is apparent, but you will be encouraged. And you will laugh in the process. Enjoy it, and maybe more than once!”
- Tri-County Register
Photos by Janis Martin
The 1950’s, the decade in which Zombies from the Beyond takes place, was one of the most significant periods in American history in that it ushered in countless changes that still affect our lives today.
Great strides were being made in the advancement of minority civil rights. NASA was created following the Soviet’s surprise launch of Sputnik, the world’s first satellite. Sleek, ultra-smooth super-highways were being built around the country, establishing a new transportation infrastructure. And Rock ‘n Roll arrived full-force, obliterating nearly every other type of music on the radio. Following the end of WWII, the nation was feeling invincible, infallible, and gratified to be reveling in an economic boom.
The most significant cultural transformation, however, stemmed from the mass introduction of the television. Offering prime-time programming and advertising geared primarily toward adults, the induction of the television to countless homes across the country (inadvertently) sent millions of teenagers out of the house each night and into drive-in movies; a trend that Hollywood was quick to identify.
The studios, fueled by both the Cold War between Russia and the US, and the national paranoia that ensured during McCarthyism’s blacklisting, unleashed an extensive roster of paranormal, mythical black-and-white movies, directed specifically at teenagers. These films, which ranged from low budget quickies (Plan 9 from Outer Space and Robot Monster) to influential masterpieces (The Day The Earth Stood Still and Invasion of the Body Snatchers), proliferated during the 1950’s and ushered in what could be dubiously referred to as the Golden Age of Screen Science Fiction.
Jam-packed with hostile flying saucers attacking unsuspecting towns; unfriendly, aggressive humanoids seeking universal supremacy; and spiteful, oversized, atomically-radiated insects (a personal favorite of mine, Mothra - a gigantic lepidopteran who lived with two twelve-inch Geishas - was one of the few nice monsters), these movies played directly to young, impressionable audiences by providing “safe” outlets to explore their anxieties and fears in the harmless realm of celluloid fantasy.
Zombies from the Beyond affectionately pays nostalgic homage to this entire celebrated breed of film by transforming it into a zany, toe-tapping musical comedy! Incorporating the fashions, attitudes, slogans, and even the appliances of the time, Zombies examines a bygone era in Hollywood, and our own current patriotic perception of the American way of life in the 1950’s. While the show may not provide concrete explanations to the dark mysteries of outer space, it happily reinforces the powers of 1950's optimism and hope, as we advance to the future…on this planet and beyond.
-- Mark Robinson