Rust Belt brings ‘Dead’ to life

The dead are coming back to life once again at the Calvin Center. Rust Belt Theater Company is bringing back “Living Dead: The Musical” for a three-weekend run.

The musical, written by Robert Dennick Joki and Josh Taylor, premiered last October, and Joki (who is directing the production) was happy with the first production, but he tweaked it for this year’s staging.

“Mostly what I did was fine tune it from last year,” he said. “I got rid of the stuff that didn’t work.”

One thing that made the process easier is that all but one cast member is returning from last year, so the actors already were familiar with their roles.

“What I wanted to do mostly was elaborate on some of the musical numbers,” Joki said. “We already had the bones in place, and I was able to add harmonies and choreography. The things I wanted to be bigger this year are.”

The musical is loosely based on George A. Romero’s cult favorite “Night of the Living Dead,” but it only serves as the jumping off point for a show that references other zombie stories as well as works like the “Rocky Horror Show.”

It includes such songs as “Midnight Moonlight Movie Show,” “Ode to a Rotting Corpse,” “I Got Yo’ Black,” “I Think I’m In The Wrong Musical,” “The Slutty Girl is the One Who Gets Eaten First” and “He Only Hits Me Cuz He Loves Me.”

The cast features Kage Coven, Marisa Zamary, Andy Peretic, Hunter Thomas, Tom Smith, Nicole Zayas, Lynn Sabeh, Geri DeWitt, JoEllen Jacob, Grace Offerdahl, David Cirelli, Murphy Sharp, Rachel Clifford, Giavanna LaGamba and Josh Fleming.

“Living Dead: The Musical” will be staged at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday though Nov. 2 at the Calvin Center, 755 Mahoning Ave., Youngstown. A special midnight show is planned on Nov. 2.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. For reservations or more information, call or text 330-507-2358.