Rust Belt Resurrects ‘Living Dead’ With New Song

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — “Living Dead, the Musical” has become one of Rust Belt Theater Company’s top draws.

A parody of classic horror films – especially 1967’s “Night of the Living Dead” –  the show will return this weekend for its eighth annual Halloween-season run.

Like “The Rocky Horror Show,” the musical has parts that audiences have come to love and expect. But co-writers Robert Dennick Joki and Josh Taylor also add to it every year. This year’s production includes a new song by the duo.

Josh Fleming is directing the show for the second straight year and he has added some touches of his own. He also built the sets and props.

“Halloween is my favorite time of the year and I love to get creative with it,” Fleming said. He has added a house set that allows helps recreate many scenes in the “Night of the Living Dead” film.

“As a past actor in the show, I always thought it would be cool if there was a set with windows and zombies in the windows,” he said. 

Fleming created a three-walled set with a door and a window that allows the audience to peer into the house where the characters are trapped.

“When the zombies overtake the house, [the audience] can see them running outside the windows. The cooler a picture I can make for the audience … that’s what I strive for,” he said.

Fleming said he also added more sight gags this year, which is something he tries to add every year.

Audiences members will have to look closely, but Fleming has hidden in the props several “Easter eggs” – messages or images that reference other things and which serve no purpose other than to amuse the audience.

“Living Dead, the Musical” cast members Martin Daniels and Sydney Olejnik.

Returning once again in key roles are Kage Coven and Celena Pollock Coven, as well as Nicole Zayas as the hostess.

Kage Coven and Zayas have appeared in the show every year, and Celena has appeared five times.

Rounding out the cast are Sydney Olejnik, Martin Daniels, Josh Yohman, Alivia Shablesky, Jacob Nash, Heather Powell, Jojo Garcia, Keith Stepanic, Elizabeth Burnette, Tay’lerrae Cox, Erik Glasgow, Gina Marafiote, Trevor Patchen and Janelle Yohman.

“Living Dead, the Musical” will be performed at 8 p.m. Oct. 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26; and a special midnight performance on Oct. 19.

Tickets are $15 ($10 for senior citizens and students). Call 330 507 2358 for reservations.

Rust Belt Theater is in the Calvin Center building, 755 Mahoning Ave.

Pictured: Joshua Fleming, director, and Robert Dennick Joki, artistic director, with cast members.

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