The ‘sky’s the limit’ with 20 Cent Fiction’s newest musical

Apr 4, 2023

“Dateline: Milwaukee — a flying saucer scare!” sang out actors on stage at the matinee performance of 20 Cent Fiction’s “Zombies from the Beyond” at UMass Dartmouth on Sunday, April 2.

“Zombies from the Beyond” was written by James Valcq and opened Off-Broadway in 1995 to “universal acclaim,” said director Aiden Goddu, who described the show as a “sleeper hit that [takes] inspiration from sci-fi B-movies, which we here at 20 Cent [Fiction] absolutely love.”

20 Cent Fiction is UMass Dartmouth’s alternative theater company that produces well-known broadway staples like “Cabaret,” but prides itself on showing more obscure theater like “Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens” or “Evil Dead: The Musical.”

According to Goddu, members of the company complained that recent shows, like “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” were too mainstream, so he wanted to go with something a little less “normal.”

“I’m going to take the weirdest show I can possibly find that nobody’s heard about and put it up,” he said.

“Zombies from the Beyond” tells the story of the fictional Milwaukee space agency in 1950s America.

Eisenhower-esque Major Malone (Dan Sun), secretary Charlie Osmanski (Emily Fontes), science wiz Mary Malone (Caitlyn Haley), professor Trenton Corbett (Connor Walters) and good-natured delivery boy Billy Krutzik (Brian Galindo) fend off invading alien dominatrix Zombina (Emerson DiSalle) and undercover Soviet spy Rick Jones (Preston DaPonte).

DaPonte said that “Zombies from the Beyond” was “not only such a classic 20 Cent [Fiction] curveball, but also a really hard sell” since no one in the company had heard of the show.

According to DaPonte, the show competed against the more well-known musical “Spring Awakening” but that members voted “practically unanimously” to perform “Zombies from the Beyond.”

The stage was set with retro-futuristic control panels and featured a big pink flying saucer in certain musical numbers. The music was inspired by adult-contemporary music of the 1950s, like that of Perry Como or Doris Day.

According to Goddu, the show’s script called for a “skillfully-employed low budget,” and deadpan performances that could match those of B-movies like “Plan 9 from Outer Space.”

To do anything different “would have been incongruous to the content,” said Goddu.

The success of the show was “all due to how much the actors really stepped up to the plate [and] how much the rest of my [production team] really helped me through this process,” he said. “I’m proud of what we did.”