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Fall in Love With WST for Kids' Production of ZOMBIE IN LOVE! Begins Feb. 4

December 28, 2015

PHILADELPHIA, PA: The whole family will fall in love with WST for Kids’ killer production of Zombie in Love. Based on the popular book series by Kelly DiPucchio, this hour-long musical teaches us that everyone has a “ghoul-mate” out there! Love will rise from the dead just in time for Valentine’s Day. Zombie in Love runs February 4th through February 13th, 2016 at Walnut Street Theatre.

All Mortimer wants is to find a date to Cupid's Ball... which is hard when you're a zombie. He has a big heart, but when he tries to let it show, his intestines just fall out. No matter how hard he tries to be just like everyone else, girls are totally grossed out by him! But as it turns out, there may be someone out there for Mortimer after all – someone who can like him just the way he is. Adults and kids alike will love this sidesplitting, yet touching musical!

Walnut Street Theatre for Kids encourages families to read the stories together at home and then watch them spring to life on our stage! The Walnut takes great pride in encouraging togetherness, imagination and important conversations through reading and live theatre.

In addition to Zombie in Love, author Kelly DiPucchio has penned many popular children’s books including Grace for President and The Sandwich Swap, which were New York Times bestsellers. Readers applaud her humor and “rollicking rhythm.” As for her inspiration, DiPucchio claims it is her own kids that have helped her career soar. "They taught me everything I needed to know about becoming a picture book author. They taught me important things like underpants are funny, arm pits make fine musical instruments, and ‘poop' rhymes with ‘soup.’”

Michelle Elliot (book writer and co-lyricist) and long-time collaborator and friend Danny Larsen (composer and co-lyricist) have created many original, award-winning musicals together, including The Yellow Road, which received both a Richard Rodgers Development Award and a Daryl Roth Award in 2006. Their musical Cloaked won them a Jonathan Larson Grant in 2011. Zombie in Love was first commissioned by the Oregon Children’s Theatre, where it made its world premiere in 2014. That same year, Zombie in Love won Best Original Score and Best Original Script at the Drammys, an award ceremony that recognizes excellence in live theatre in the Portland area. It also won Outstanding Original Musical at the Portland Area Musical Theatre Awards.

Ashley Kerns is the director of this ghoulish good time. Currently the Assistant Director of Education at Walnut Street Theatre, Kerns is both a teacher and director of various educational programs. Kerns has served as the Assistant Director on Amadeus, The Mousetrap and An Ideal Husband on WST’s Mainstage. She has also directed WST for Kids’ productions of Seussical, Alice in Wonderland Jr. and Shrek the Musical Jr. Mark Yurkanin (Pinkalicious, A Christmas Carol) will join Kerns as Music and Vocal Director. Nate Golden, who has appeared in Grease and School House Rock Jr, joins the team as Choreographer.

Scenic Designer Reagan Ganis, though making her Walnut debut, is no stranger to the zombie realm. Each year, Ganis, currently a Carpentry Apprentice at WST, creates the zombies used in her hometown’s annual haunted attraction “Frightland.” For this show, however, she took a different approach. “I aimed for cute instead of creepy,” she said, “in order to give Mortimer the perfect environment in which to find love.” Walnut’s Costume Apprentices Sarah Mitchell and Susie Benitez also steer clear of the typical zombie stereotype. Instead, they present an ensemble that is more delightful than dreary. Mitchell said: “We wanted to make the cast look relatable and approachable, even if they are a little…unhuman.” The Walnut welcomes back Sound Designer Mark Valenzuela (O Captain, My Captain: Whitman’s Lincoln, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice) and Lighting Designer J. Dominic Chacon (A Christmas Carol, A Life in the Theatre).

The cast are all members of The Theatre School at Walnut Street Theatre. Two Walnut Acting Apprentices take on the lead roles of Mortimer and Mildred. Deontez Lockett dons ragged clothes and loose ligaments as the love-seeking Mortimer and Carlye Messman plays Mildred, the zombie with looks that kill. Mikey Wecht (Rodney) and Kayla Leacock (Candy) are also two of Walnut’s Acting Apprentices joining this ghastly cast. Katie Johantgen, last seen in The Stinky Cheese Man at the Walnut, and Tyler Houchins and Jamie Beth Weist, who recently appeared in A Christmas Carol, will play a clan of worms and bodily organs among other roles.

Zombie in Love makes a great field trip! Every year, thousands of students experience live theatre for the very first time at a WST for Kids production. Students read the books in their classrooms and then see the stories come to life right before their eyes here at Walnut Street Theatre. Zombie in Love is an ideal outing for both romantics and horror-genre enthusiasts, and it comes to life February 4th through February 13th.

The media sponsor for Walnut Street Theatre for Kids is Courier Post and Mix 106.1. Tickets are $14-$16 with group discounts available for groups of ten or more. Study guides are available for teachers and school groups on the Walnut’s website. For tickets and information, please call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets can also be purchased online at Ticketmaster or by visiting the Walnut’s website at