Macabre Rock Show Finds Halloween Home at The Robins

WARREN, Ohio – Like a ghoul in a graveyard, Neil Zaza’s One Dark Night rock symphony will be right at home in the Robins Theatre.

Zaza says the ornate century-old theater has the perfect atmosphere for his macabre Halloween season concert.

In fact, he has wanted to bring his show to the Robins ever since he first set foot in it. He will fulfill that dark desire on Saturday, Oct. 29, when One Dark Night takes the Robins stage for an 8 p.m. show.

“I’ve been on a personal mission to bring it there,” he said. Zaza’s wife is in [Pink Floyd] tribute act Wish You Were Here, and he marveled at the building the first time he saw her perform there.

“It’s the coolest, vibe-iest theater,” he said. “The architecture and everything fits with what One Dark Night is about.”

Zaza put the show together four years ago and takes it on the road every Halloween season.

He describes it as “a big production… a big, bright, loud show. I took classical, gothic sounding music by great composers like Beethoven, Mozart and Prokofiev, and then I rocked it up.”

He gives the concert an extra jolt with stage lighting, dancers and costumed “haunters” who prowl the lobby and auditorium.

A storyline connects the elements of the spine-tingling show, augmented by visuals on a video wall.

“It [asks], who is the real monster?,” Zaza said. “Could it be inside of us?”

The Akron-based Zaza is an electric guitar virtuoso who has had his share of rock fame in his long career.

He doesn’t like to compare his new creation with other shows but if you call One Dark Night “the Trans-Siberian Orchestra of Halloween,” he won’t argue.

Zaza tweaks the show – which has a cast of about 15 musicians and dancers – every year to make it bigger and better.

“Every year we add different pieces,” he said. “It’s a work in progress.”

Would a classical music lover appreciate it? Yes, if they keep an open mind.

“A lot of this music, in its traditional format, sounds like heavy metal but without the metal,” Zaza said. “’Like ‘Night on Bald Mountain.’ Those are heavy riffs, so it was easy to transform it.”

The show is not all instrumental – vocalists are brought in for some pieces.

The setlist also includes a dark and introspective take on Elton John’s “Madman Across the Water,” which Zaza said is a crowd-pleaser, and a shocking version of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter.”

“It’s sensory overload,” Zaza said.

Tickets range from $75 to $25; click HERE.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.