ABOUT NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

MUSIC by Todd Goodman | LIBRETTO by Stephen Catanzarite

SYNOPSIS

 

Set against the political and social turbulence of 1968, Todd Goodman’s and Stephen Catanzarite’s Night of the Living Dead is an operatic retelling of the classic horror film of the same name.

 

In the deep freeze of the Cold War, as America mourns the assassinations of both Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, with the sexual revolution beginning to upset ancient taboos, and while the Space Race escalates and America’s foreign policy descends to the madness of My-Lai, a wayward NASA space probe returning from Venus crashes somewhere in rural western Pennsylvania. Chaos descends upon the world as radiation from the probe is believed to be causing the recently dead to rise from their graves, seeking to feed on the flesh of the living.

 

As the crisis erupts, Barbara and her brother Johnny have traveled from Pittsburgh to a small country cemetery to place flowers on the grave of their father on All Soul’s Day. There, a ghoul murders and begins to gnaw on Johnny before turning his attention to Barbara, who runs to the cemetery caretaker’s house. Ben, also taking shelter from the ghouls, boards up the doors and windows of the ramshackle house. He finds a shotgun and a radio, which becomes a lifeline to the outside world now sliding into bedlam. Five other people are hiding in the basement: a middle-aged couple, Harry Cooper, his wife Helen, and their young daughter, Karen, who is injured and ill; and a young couple, Tom and his girlfriend Judy.  Ben and Harry immediately clash over who’s in charge. As the night grinds on and a growing legion of undead claw and pound at the windows and doors, the situation in the house descends to a different kind of horror.

 

© Copyright 2013 Stephen Catanzarite. All rights reserved.

 

CAST

PRINCIPAL ROLES

Ben

Barbara

Mr. Harry Cooper

Mrs. Helen Cooper

Tom

Judy

Johnny*

 

SUPPORTING ROLES

can all be from UNDEAD CHORUS

Radio Announcer

Anchorman

Dr. Grimes**

Reporter*

Chief McClellan

Vince

Monseigneur Rice**

 

 

UNDEAD SATB CHORUS

also serve as acting only roles listed below

Zombie #1

Caretaker

Caretaker's wife

* and ** are roles that can be double cast

 

(Tenor)

(Soprano)

(Bass-Baritone)

(Mezzo-Soprano)

(Baritone)

(Coloratura Soprano)

(Baritone)

 

 

 

(Voice Over - Live or Recorded)

(Actor)

(Baritone)

(Tenor)

(Tenor)

(Baritone)

(Baritone)

(Tenor)

ORCHESTRA

SMALL VERSION

3 players

Piano

Synthesizer

Percussion, one player

Guiro, Vibraphone, Tubular Bell (C5), Kick Drum, 4 Tom-toms, Suspended Cymbal, Cabassa (mounted), Marimba, Glockenspiel, Splash Cymbal, Triangle, Vibraslap (mounted), Bass Drum, High Hat, Timpani (2 drums; 23in, 26in), Tam-tam, Claves

 

 

CHAMBER VERSION

8 players

 

Flute, double piccolo and alto

Clarinet, double bass clarinet

Violin

Violoncello

Synthesizer

Piano

Percussion, one player

Guiro, Vibraphone, Tubular Bell (C5), Kick Drum, 4 Tom-toms, Suspended Cymbal, Cabassa (mounted), Marimba, Glockenspiel, Splash Cymbal, Triangle, Vibraslap (mounted), Bass Drum, High Hat, Timpani (2 drums; 23in, 26in), Tam-tam, Claves

 

LARGE VERSION

21 players

COMING SOON

SCENE BREAKDOWN

 

ACT I

PROLOGUE:

A farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania (Radio Announcer)

SCENE 1:

“It’s Getting Dark” — A cemetery (Johnny and Barbara)

First Chorus of the Undead — Farmhouse exterior (Undead Chorus)

SCENE 2: 

“It’s Okay” — Farmhouse interior (Barbara meets Ben)

Second Chorus of the Undead — Farmhouse exterior (Undead Chorus)

SCENE 3: 

“I think we should be all right” — Interior (Barbara, Ben, Harry and Tom)

Third Chorus of the Undead — Exterior (Chorus, Johnny, and Barbara)

 

ACT II

SCENE 1: 

“It’s Boarded Up Tight” — Interior (Barbara, Ben, Tom, Judy, Harry, and Helen)

SCENE 2:

“Interview” — Television Station (News Anchor and Dr. Grimes)

SCENE 3:

“What do you say now, Cooper?”— Interior (Barbara, Ben, Tom, Judy, Harry, and Helen)

SCENE 4: 

“Is it Midnight Yet?” — Interior/TV Studio/On Location (Cast)

Ave Maria — Farmhouse cellar (Helen and Chorus)

SCENE 5:

“Looks Like Someone Had A Cookout” — Exterior (Rice, McClellan, Vince)

 

A short interview with composer Todd Goodman about the creation of Night of the Living Dead, the opera.

Composer Todd Goodman talks about the creation of Night of the Living Dead, the opera with NPRs WQED.

WQED Night of the Living Dead Interview - Stephen Baum
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