» Company History Evenings in Quarantine: The Zombie Opera


Company History

The song “Screaming” was originally composed by Elizabeth Rishel to be a stand-alone piece for a separate ensemble in which Rishel was involved. When the ensemble dissolved, Rishel pitched the song to long-time colleague Bonnie Bogovich as material for a collection of music videos. Ultimately, the production expanded into a full opera. They officially named the production Evenings in Quarantine: The Zombie Opera after one of the songs in the second Act.

In October of 2009, Bogovich and Rishel performed selections from the developing opera at a local horror event hosted by Open Thread. The success of this show generated circulation to their official website, Facebook fan page, and Twitter feed. At this stage, they interfaced with other young professionals including film director Barry Bogovich, director of photography Edwin Huang, and make-up effects specialist Arvin Clay.

Filming for the projected element began in May of 2010 and continued until early August. These shoots included large mob scenes, sparsely populated location shots, news footage set on location, intimate cinematic sequences, and interactive sets with humans and zombies.  Interested Pittsburgh residents were invited to sign up for different scenes and elected to participate as humans and as zombies.

Many musicians also volunteered their time and energy towards the score for The Zombie Opera including various instrumentalists and a full studio choir.
By mid June, having allied itself with its fiscal sponsor New Sun Rising, The Zombie Opera had garnered grants from the Sprout Fund and the Heinz Endowments. They also gained the attention of other sponsors who financed necessary elements of production with their company products.

The show premiered October 15-23 (Thurs-Sat), 2010 at the Grey Box Theatre in Lawrenceville, selling out each performance. This success prompted the production team to announce it’s May 2011 run of Evenings in Quarantine: The Zombie Opera, to accommodate public demand.  October 27-30th 2011 showcased the third and final run of The Zombie Opera, at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty, Pittsburgh PA.