southtownstar
FLAWLESS 
Weather Updates

Riverfront brings ‘Living Dead’ to stage

Performers sing during previous performance 'Night Living Dead: The Musical.'  |  File photo

Performers sing during a previous performance of "Night of the Living Dead: The Musical." | File photo

storyidforme: 55595886
tmspicid: 20384962
fileheaderid: 9449315

‘Night of the Living Dead: The Musical’

♦ Oct. 4-26

♦ The Riverfront Playhouse, 11-13 South Water Street Mall, Aurora

♦ Tickets, $15-$17

♦ (630) 897-9496;

riverfrontplayhouse.com

Riverfront Playhouses’s current production, “Night of the Living Dead: The Musical,” a play about re-animated corpses living on human flesh, is one messy proposition.

“Clean up after the show is a huge challenge,” said Sherry Winchester Schultz, who is directing the show. “Most of the cast helps out with the clean up since it includes washing down the walls and floor of the set. I wash the costumes every night, which requires a pre-scrub in the kitchen sink with Cascade dishwasher detergent, non-chlorine bleach and really hot water. We have two different blood recipes, one that is edible and the other made from baby shampoo and red food color that winds up on the clothes and the set.”

“Night of the Living Dead: The Musical” will be presented from Oct. 4-26 at The Riverfront Playhouse in Aurora.

The play, set in the 1960s, is based on the classic movie “Night of the Living Dead” by George A. Romero and John A. Russo. It centers on seven people trapped in a rural house by zombies who hunt down the living to subsist on human flesh. Victims of these undead creatures also become re-animated and turn against their living counterparts. In short, the dead are coming back to life and attacking the living.

The musical, written and originally directed by Sherry’s late husband, Jack Schultz, who died in September 2012, was first performed by Riverfront in 2007. This year marks the fifth incarnation of the show. The songs in “Night of the Living Dead: The Musical” have music written by Schultz and Kathleen A.M. Dooley and lyrics by Schultz. Jack Schultz also penned “Fat Bill’s Roadside Café” and adapted “A Christmas Carol” for the Riverfront Playhouse.

“Jack’s plays have always been terrific money-makers for the Riverfront, for several reasons, I think,” Winchester Schultz said. “Audiences know that the play will be clever, have some twisted, off-beat humor and some improvisation — which means that it’s never the exact same show twice and that you won’t see these plays at every theater in Chicagoland. The performers have fun performing them, which makes it that much more fun for the audience.”

Although Winchester Schultz said the play will be performed as Jack Schultz wrote it, some deviations may occur.

“Each night there may be a couple of small changes with actors sliding in improvisations when and where appropriate,” she said. “Before each performance, Jack’s parting comment before heading upstairs to pick up his guitar and start the show would be: ‘Make me laugh!’ We all knew that if there was a chance to slide in a little something spontaneous that would tickle him, it would be a special show. I’m certain that will still apply for this run of the show.”

Winchester Schultz believes the appeal of the show is in its humor and its topic.

“People can’t seem to get enough of zombies,” she said. “I don’t know why. This show has so much wacky humor in it, blood and surprises, sometimes even special guest zombies. It’s a lot of fun.”



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.