George A. Romero jump-started the horror industry when his indy zombie film Night of the Living Dead hit theaters in 1968. Romero also gave pop culture a malleable symbol in the walking dead; these relentless, unthinking terrors could stand-in for just about any threat. Stephen Gregory Smith and Matt Conner saw a musical in this story of cannibal corpses, but not a musical from the old mold. Their Night of the Living Dead: A Musical Thriller is more concerned with the unknowable terror of modern life. Seven strangers are holed up in a remote house while outside the world goes mad, turning friends and neighbors against each other in a pointless race toward death. Don't expect campy dancing zombies here; what you get here is the whirling vortex of society's dissolution, relayed through songs fraught with menace and anxiety. New Line Theatre presents the regional premiere of Night of the Living Dead at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (October 10 through November 2) at the Washington University South Campus Theatre (6501 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights; 314-534-1111 or www.newlinetheatre.com). Tickets are $7.50 to $20.
Thursdays-Saturdays. Starts: Oct. 10. Continues through Nov. 2, 2013