“We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own…” (Orson Wells, October 30, 1938)


Rita Hermie and her out of this world band appearing live this weekend in the Orbit Room at the Mesquite Community Theatre, 150 North Yucca Street 7 p.m. Photo by Teri Nehrenz


Probe 8 Control Room is the home base of the Scientists at the Milwaukee Space Center who are ready to discover strange new worlds… usually. This weekend, and through the month of March, Probe 8 Control Room will be buzzing from the news…An alien is landing and she is ready to Zombify the world or at least the audience at the Mesquite Community Theatre when the Virgin Valley Theatre Group opens it’s spring musical Zombies from the Beyond. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

At the start of the “Cold War” two superpowers continually antagonize each other through political maneuvering and propaganda while the whole world obsesses on the thought, “Maybe we aren’t alone in the universe.”

During those times science fiction movies were considered a vulgar form of pop entertainment.  It had robots and flying saucers depicted just a notch above, or below, what you would find in a comic book.

On Friday the 13th be prepared to be taken back to the “day” when all the campiness of the cold war era, “B” sci-fi movie magic comes to life on the Mesquite Community Theatre stage as the Virgin Valley Theatre Group opens their spring musical “Zombies from the Beyond”.

Director, Glen Bjornson, has directed many performances in Mesquite and has worked with crews both large and small but some things never cease to amaze Bjornson about the folks in Mesquite.

Bjornson is quoted in the program’s director’s notes as saying, “After last year’s Anything Goes, we thought it best to do a small musical this year, but small or not it’s still taken over thirty people to put this production together! It’s “absoposilutively” remarkable to me that a community the size of Mesquite can pull stuff like this off! It takes tremendous planning and teamwork.”  Bjornson isn’t the only director hard at work on this “small” musical.

Band Director Rita Hermie has worked endless hours at making sense of the nearly impossible logic, or lack thereof, of the actual music which isn’t easy to read let alone play say the least.

Hermie, determined to make this work, not only re-worked some of the music to make it more “playable” but lead a 5 piece band in rehearsals above and beyond the 5 day a week rehearsals with the cast.

Choral Director Diana McKinney may have had things a bit easier by working with some of the best vocal talent Mesquite has to offer but you can bet your bottom dollar that she worked diligently at reaching the top with her own personal challenge of playing the zombifying “Zombina” who has a secret weapon “a soprano voice so stratospheric that it zombifies”.

Choreographer, Susan Schultz was not only challenged with choreographing her first VVTG musical production but let’s face it, she was dealing with talented voices this time not talented “Toes”.  She worked wonders with cast members John Dearing, Karen Ransdell, Cathy Petrus, Gary Williams, Ted Ung and Diana McKinney but Schultz’s imagination had to shine through to give cast member James Thompson his “Atomic Feet”.

Costume Designer, Brett Hardy reached for the stars and designed some out of this world fashions fit for best of Americans or even Russian spies working at the Milwaukee Space Center in 1955.

Be prepared, if you attend the Mesquite Community Theater, 150 N. Yucca Street on March 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. or March 22 at 2 p.m. Zombina may try to take you where no man has gone before.

Tickets for Zombies from the Beyond are available at Danielle’s Chocolates, the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce, Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery, Have Boutique Will Travel and the Mesquite Community Theatre Box Office.