Zombies, back-up dancers liven up Chandler school’s take on ‘Hamlet’ - East Valley Tribune: Performance

Zombies, back-up dancers liven up Chandler school’s take on ‘Hamlet’

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Posted: Saturday, January 25, 2014 6:38 am | Updated: 4:04 pm, Thu Jan 30, 2014.

Like a treasure hunter, Heather Ross, director of Knights at the Theatre (Arizona College Prep’s drama company), was on the hunt for a stand-out script, one that would surpass the usual high school plays — you know, “Grease,” “West Side Story,” “Footloose,” “Annie,” and the list goes on.

After milling through numerous plays and musicals, Ross hit gold with “Hamlet Thrill-Mageddon,” a comedy that captures the hilarity of a drama club in desperate circumstances.

Playwright Don Zolidis’ “Hamlet Thrill-Mageddon” illustrates a struggling club that revamps Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” with back-up dancers and post-apocalyptic zombie battles in order to salvage the arts at their school after a budget cut. Throughout the play, the sponsors ride the club’s coattails for advertisement opportunities and even pause the play for a commercial break.

It’s a happy medium between slapstick comedy and humorous banter.

“I love the plays Arizona College Prep Academy (ACP) does that I’ve never heard of before,” says Dennis Ross, a coach at the small Chandler preparatory school and spouse of the play’s director. “The show is definitely lighthearted, and they have the funniest bunch of kids performing.”

While “Hamlet Thrill-Mageddon” might not ring many bells, Ross explains that by “..buying scripts that aren’t as well known, the school is able to save money and audiences are able to see something fresh.”

The members of Knights at the Theatre, who range from 7th to 12th grades, have been rehearsing for their Jan. 30 premiere for the last two months and are still perfecting their lines, but Ross is optimistic that the students will shell out a hilarious show.

If you go

What: Arizona College Prep’s performance of “Hamlet Thrill-Mageddon”

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, and Friday, Jan. 31, and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1

Where: Hamilton High School Auditorium, 3700 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler

Cost: $8 for students, $10 for adults at the door

Information: (480) 424-8000

• Cissy, a junior at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an intern for GetOut. Contact her at (480) 898-6514 or tribintern@evtrib.com.

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