When it comes to looking for love — or possibly eating brains — there’s nothing like a familiar face.
That’s what Clark County residents will get when Lindsey Koehler, an 18-year-old senior at Union High School, takes the stage in the Oregon Children’s Theater production of “Zombie in Love.”
This is Koehler’s first production with OCT, but she’s been a regular on this side of the river in several Journey Theater Arts Group productions in the past five years.
Koehler will be part of the ensemble cast in the world premiere of “Zombie in Love,” a musical that follows a lonely zombie looking for true love.
“It’s a really big transition for me going from a small community theater to a big professional production,” Koehler said. “But I have probably the best cast I could ever ask for. They’ve been so open and friendly.”
While at Christian Youth Theater and Journey, Koehler played Annie Oakley in “Annie Get Your Gun,” Kim MacAfee in “Bye Bye Birdie” and Anne in “Anne of Green Gables.”
The OCT play is her first professional production — with highly competitive auditions and paid actors, she said.
“It’s really nice to be able to be in a show like this,” Koehler said. “I think Journey has been really great. All the information they gave me, all the help. They’ve done a really good job preparing me for this.”
Zombies might sound like a scary topic, but not in this show, Koehler said.
“It’s even more family friendly than I thought it would be,” she said. “I get scared easily, and it’s really not scary at all. It makes the zombies silly. I think kids will really understand and enjoy the show and its humor.”
The play is based on a book by Kelly DiPucchio set to music by Michelle Elliot and Danny Larsen.
And while there technically is a little brain eating, it’s not really frightening, said Sharon Martell, a spokeswoman for OCT.
“There is some brain eating, but it’s gentle,” Martell said with a laugh.
The play is recommended for ages 4 and older.
“It’s a really sweet story,” Martell said. “Our zombie protagonist, Mortimer, he has pretty eclectic taste. When he gives a girl some chocolates, he gets ones filled with worms — he thinks she’ll like that because he does, but it doesn’t go over so well. There are lots of little moments like that.”
Koehler is considered a senior at Union High School, but she’s actually attending freshman classes at Clark College as part of the Running Start program. She hopes to one day get a master’s degree in counseling, with a focus on child psychology, she said.
“I love working with kids,” Koehler said. “I’ve been thinking a lot about being a children’s therapist, helping kids work through divorce and other problems.”
She said she hopes to continue with theater at the same time, though, adding that she feels blessed to be able to perform.
“The only reason I’ve been able to do professional theater is because of the opportunity God has given me,” Koehler said. “He really has orchestrated everything in my life.”
The world premiere of “Zombie in Love” is March 1, and the production runs through March 23.
Showtimes and other information is available at www.octc.org. Tickets are $18 and $28 for adults, and $15 and $24 for children.
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