Wednesday, May 8
Fleshed Out: A Zombie Musical
“Children are blessings from above. They show you their wonder with their love, but that’s not what I’m feeling now,” the grandmother sings.
“Grandma-ma we love you still, but tonight is the night your guts will spill on the floor,” the zombies sing back.
This June, the zombie apocalypse is coming to Missoula with Ely Sheets’ play “Fleshed Out: A Zombie Musical.”
Sheets, who’s acting in, directing and producing “Fleshed Out,” is a graduating senior from Missoula and has been working on the play since 2010. Sheets has always had a love for musical theater and had already written a few zombie-themed songs when he decided to write “Fleshed Out.”
Sheets wanted to stay away from the cliché story about a group of people trying to survive, so he wrote the play as a horror comedy from the perspective of the zombies, who are just having a blast.
“It’s a straight barrage of ridiculousness,” Sheets said.
Although the deaths come quickly, the tone of the piece is peppy, funny and a little vulgar. In one of the scenes, a judge gets disemboweled and the zombies use her intestines as a jump rope. In another, four people waltz around the stage as they’re about to eat each other.
“It’s silly and you’ll laugh a lot,” Sheets said. “Any serious moment is tempered with being funny.”
Sheets is graduating with a degree in film studies, and his education at the University of Montana helped shape the play. He said most of film studies is learning about film theory and watching movies. When writing “Fleshed Out,” Sheets took philosophical ideas he learned in school and juxtaposed them with the zombie genre.
Sheets said the play is his biggest accomplishment so far. Although he writes a lot and has many ideas for different plays, this is his only big completed project. And when it was put on at the Crystal Theater during Halloween, it was well-received.
UM graduate John Bishop saw the play in October and recommends seeing it in June.
“’Fleshed Out’ is an interesting take on the pop culture popularity of zombies,” Bishop said. “The songs are brutal, yet humorous, and seamlessly allow the story to be told without missing a beat.”
After graduation, Sheets plans on moving to Minneapolis, home of the second-largest theater community in the nation. Sheets hopes to start out with a 9-to-5 desk job in the theater community and work his way up until his work is noticed. Ideally, Sheets’ goal is to get “Fleshed Out” into the Minneapolis Fringe Festival — which is like Sundance Film Festival for plays — with hopes of someone buying the play and putting it on in a theater.
If his play were to get picked up and put on by a bigger theater, Sheets would make some changes. He wants to get the audience more involved, with the zombies attacking audience members and fake blood and guts thrown everywhere.
Running at only an hour long, “Fleshed Out” is the perfect play for people who aren’t into traditional musical theater. “It’s short and sweet,” Sheets said. “There are no lulls and there aren’t even acts or breaks.”
Sheets is also working on a graphic novel about a group of people with enhanced genetic anomalies. The characters include a man who lives an entire lifetime every time he blinks, a Manhattan socialite who has super strength as well as a drinking problem and many more. He’s also working on two other musicals — one about the Berkley Pit overflowing and another he describes as a love letter to his 15 years of working in retail.
“Fleshed Out” comes to the Crystal Theater on June 7 and 8. Tickets are $11 in advance and $15 the day of the show. For more information, visit the “Fleshed Out: A Zombie Musical” Facebook and Kickstarter pages.
“Who isn’t a fan of zombies and musicals nowadays?” Bishop said. “You get the aspect of flesh-eating, destruction-causing zombies and all the music break-out scenes of Glee. Then you get to see the zombies eat the cast members. Fox should really take notes.”