Zombie Prom Cast

Jack Engel (Jonny)
Jack Engel (Form VI) is thrilled to be joining the cast in this years production of Zombie Prom! In his time at the Senior school Jack has been greatly involved in the theatre program, prior to Zombie Prom, he played Amos in Chicago, Pippin in Pippin and Person 2 in Shady Sides virtual production of Now. Here. This.. Jack spends most of his afternoons at the Pittsburgh CLO taking musical theatre classes, and also had the opportunity to attend Artsbridge Musical Theatre this past summer. After High School, Jack plans to pursue a Musical Theatre BFA in college. Jack would like to thank Mr. Dek, Mr. Gross, Dr. O, DH, the cast and crew for all of their hard work on this show!
Sophia Gombos (Toffee)
Sophia Gombos (Form V), is very excited to be a part of the cast of Zombie Prom. Sophia has been in the SSA fall play since 6th grade, the musical since 7th grade, and really enjoys the people and experiences that she gets to encounter. She has been in a TV show and movie before, and loves being a part of a cast and seeing everything come together behind the scenes. Along with acting, Sophia has also been a model since she was 6 years old, and has attended over 300 commercial photo shoots, more than 10 TV commercials, done 5 voice overs, and walked over 40 fashion shows. Sophia’s been dancing since she was four, and started official vocal training when she was eight. Besides dancing, singing, acting, and modeling, Sophia also enjoys drawing, writing, golf, and rock climbing. Sophia is looking forward to working with more people and continuing her acting experiences here at SSA!
Jay Zhu (Delilah Strict)
Jay Zhu (Form VI) is so excited to part of this incredible production of "Zombie Prom!" Jay has been part of theater in the senior school since their freshman year, and is thrilled that they're going out with a bang in their last musical here at SSA. Recently, Jay won best actress at the Prime Stage High School Theater Awards for their role as Macbeth in "Macbeth" here at the senior school. Jay previously trained at the Pittsburgh CLO Academy for musical theater, and more recently has been in workshops with The Collective PGH (run by Michael Campayno) in plays such as "Stupid F'ing Bird" and a modern adaptation of Chekhov's "Three Sister's." Jay is currently applying/auditioning for college conservatories in order to begin their 4 year process to earn a BFA in acting. They would like to thank their acting coach Daina Griffith, their college counselor Mr. Frankel, and their amazing advisor/director Mr. Dek for helping them through the current process! Jay is incredibly grateful to everyone who comes to see the amazing "Zombie Prom" and hopes that you will continue to support the Hillman Center and all of its endeavors!
Aaron Little (Eddie Flagrante)
It is with great sadness, and also with enormous happiness, that Aaron Little (Form VI) steps onstage for a Shady Side theatre production one last time. Aaron has been honored and blessed to be playing the role of the charming yet sleazy Eddie Flagrante, and he couldn't be happier to play this role for this show. In a play that oozes silly, summer camp energy all throughout, Aaron thrives being as wild and as goofy as is humanly possible. While Aaron was writing his latest article for the Exposé magazine, he couldn’t help but slow down and realize the finite nature of his time at high school. Between passionately defending politicians and celebrities of questionable character and revealing the true nature of the undead marvel that is Jonny Warner to the American public, he had to bring what was really important into focus. “I could not have gotten luckier…” he would say, looming over his typewriter under the light of an antique desk lamp, “…getting to work with such incredible people. The director, designer, stage managers, cast, and crew have been nothing but uplifting, helpful, and supportive to me and to each other. I’m truly grateful for each and every one of them for making our zombie prom possible.” The end perfectly captures how important this show is to Aaron, how bittersweet it must be. “Here’s to high school, how it flies, to the bonds and to the ties, to the love that never dies and to our Zombie Prom.”
Joey (Alex Chow)
Alex Chow (Form VI) is a long-time theatre and acting fan, though being a relative newcomer to the stage in exception to the SSA’s 2022 winter musical and last year's fall play, Alex is overjoyed to express his modest talents as Joey in Zombie Prom! Having had a blast singing in ensemble during last year’s musical “Chicago,” and delivering Malcolm’s eloquent speeches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth during the fall, Alex again wishes again to be enthralled with the vigorous and expressively artistic experience that is theatre. Super-inclined to self-expression through the arts he enjoys hobbies such as playing his trombone, jazz dancing, illustrating for his literary projects with ink, graphite, and digital art, as well as painting plastic miniatures. He also wishes to thank Mr. Ingraham and Mr. DH as well as other members of the staff, cast, and crew for all they have done for him throughout his acting journey here at Shady Side Academy Senior School.
Marley Grandizio (Coco)
Marley Grandizio (Form VI) is so excited to be a part of Zombie Prom for her last show here at the academy. She has been part of the musicals since middle school including Pippin, Chicago, Peter Pan, and now, Zombie Prom! She is so thrilled to end her high school musical theatre career with such a fun and different type of show.
Ava Isasky (Ginger)
Ava Isasky (Form IV) is excited to return to the stage as Ginger in Shady Side Academy's performance of Zombie Prom. Since a very young age, Ava has always enjoyed the arts. Singing and dancing have always been a big part of her life. She started performing for dance schools at the age of three, and has been singing since she started to talk. Last year, Ava was a Featured Dancer in SSA's production of Chicago. Ava has also been involved in various musicals and plays throughout her elementary and middle school years. Ava played piano and was a member of the Eastern Area Youth Chorale for four years and now participates in the school's Chamber Choir. Ava is also a member of Shady Side's cheer squad where she uses her spirit and dancing skills while supporting the SSA football team. She also enjoys singing in the girls acapella group the Bulldog Bellas.
Juliet Krokosky (Candy)
Juliet Krokosky (Form V) has been a member of the theater community for her entire time at shady side starting in the middle school. Last year was her first year participating in the musical as a high school student and is extremely excited to be back on the stage as a supporting role this year. She has participated in the fall play for her entire high school career and enjoyed her roles in She Kills Monsters, Puffs, and most recently Macbeth as Lady Macduff. She has danced at M&M dance academy for her whole life and is very involved In Gargoyle Society, the drama club, as this is her second year as president. She is extremely excited for Zombie prom and is excited to put the colorful performance on stage.
Kevin Polke (Josh)
Kevin Polke (Form V) is performing in his 3rd Winter Musical and his 6th overall dramatic production here at Shady Side Academy. He deeply values the friendships he has formed within his theater family and will cherish the memories made for many years to come. He thanks the entire production team and his fellow cast and crew for their passion and dedication, and his family (especially his cat, Pug) for their unlimited support in all that he does.
Noah Thompson-Jones (Jake)
Noah Thompson-Jones (Form III) found his place in the world of theatre the moment he got to the high school. He loves music and has been in musicals like Frozen Jr, Mary Poppins Jr, and plays like Order Up and the recent masterpiece of Macbeth done here at the high school. He hopes that Zombie Prom will be a great musical to add to the list of performances he's done.
Kristen Appleman (Ensemble/Secretary/Motorwise Singer)
Kristen Appleman (Form III) is in the 9th grade. She has been playing violin since the age of two, piano since 8, and loves to sing in musicals. She is a first violin in the Three Rivers Young People Orchestra and loves to play traditional fiddle music. She is also involved in Scouting, and she has reached the rank of Eagle Scout in BSA. At school she plays field hockey, and is in the school musical.
Jack Bitsoff (Ensemble)
Jack Bitsoff (Form III) is excited to perform in his first musical as a member of the ensemble in Zombie Prom. He has been a member of the Shady Side Academy community since the beginning of 6th grade. He would like to thank Dek, Mr. Gross, Dr. O, Mr. Davidheiser, and Mr. Hughes, as well as all of the cast and crew, for such a great experience.
Trinity Brock (Featured Dancer)
Trinity Brock (Form VI) is excited and saddened to perform in her last musical, Zombie Prom. She has had a fabulous time learning dances with the ensemble and creating the world of the show. After being recently exposed to it, performing arts has become an everlasting love for Trinity thanks to SSA. This is her last time participating as a student in the SSA theater program, and she is thankful for all the people she has met in the cast and crew, as well as the welcoming environment they’ve created. Trinity is also gratuitous for the memories they have made together through this year’s and previous creative processes. Trinity would like to thank Mr. Ingraham, Dr. O, Mr. Hughes, DH, Tron, and Mr. Gross for all they have taught her, the support they provided, and all they have done to make this show happen. She would also like to thank the student management for what they have contributed to the show. Also, she thanks her family for their support and accommodations throughout this time. Trinity hopes everyone knows how much she is thankful for their help and that all enjoy the show!
Siyi "Cecilia" Chen (Featured Dancer)
Siyi "Cecilia" Chen (Form IV) is a sophomore student attending Shady Side Academy. This is her second year as a featured dancer in SSA musical performance, and her third year participating in musicals in general as she used to be a piano player in the pit section of her middle school musical. She has been a contemporary ballet dancer for 3 years and a life-long music lover as she begins to play piano at 4. She is very excited to participate in this year’s musical, Zombie Prom.
Zoe Freyberg (Ensemble/Mom/Secretary/Motorwise Singer)
Zoe Freyberg (Form III) is so excited to take part in this year's winter musical, Zombie Prom! Musical theater is one of Zoe's passions, and she is so thrilled to take part in theater experiences at the Senior School. In the past, she has been in thirteen productions. Some of her favorite roles were (but not limited to!) Shrek in Shrek Jr., Olaf in Frozen Jr., and most recently, one of the Weird Sisters in Shady Side Academy's Macbeth this fall. Some of her other interests include baking, STEM, reading, and spending time with her cat, Cookie. She is so excited for all of the wonderful theatrical opportunities to come here at the Senior School!
Andrew Hoe (Ensemble/Dad/TV Announcer)
Andrew Hoe (Form VI) is ecstatic to be performing Zombie Prom. He has been an avid participant in the SSA theater program since 6th grade. At SSA, he has performed in plays and musicals such as Peter Pan, All Shook Up, The Addams Family, Pippin, Puffs, Chicago, Macbeth. In his free time, Andrew is a huge fan of fantasy and surreal storytelling, and enjoys coming up with his own fantasy worlds and characters.
Jiawen Huo (Ensemble)
Jiawen Huo (Form III) is thrilled to join in winter musical due her enthusiasm toward singing and dancing. She has never had an on-stage experience of theatre and eager to remain an impressive memory of her freshman year by joining the cast of musical. She views this opportunity as a perfect way to challenge herself, stepping out of her comfort zone to explore her passion for the performing arts. She is excited to contribute her energy and creativity to the production, hoping to learn from her peers and teachers.
Hollie Husband (Featured Dancer)
Hollie Husband (Form III) is excited to be in this production. This is her third theater production, but only her first musical. She was in two of the middle school plays prior to this. Outside of theater, Hollie enjoys drawing, playing ukulele, and taking care of her cats. She started in theater when her mother dragged her into the middle school theater program, and, to her mother’s surprise, she enjoyed it to do the play a second time in her eighth grade year, and now in this musical production this year. Hollie has been a student at Shady Side Academy since her sixth grade year. In her free time, she spends her time sitting in her room, pretending that she has sanity between dealing with her little brother, her schoolwork, and her cats constantly knocking her things over. She also spends her free time drawing, writing, and reading on occasion. In school, she is not only involved in theater, but also Ultimate Frisbee.
Maisie Johnston (Ensemble)
Maisie Johnston (Form VI) is so excited to be performing in her final musical. She has had the best time with the cast, learning dances, songs, and making new friends in the ensemble. She is thankful for everyone she has met and will forever be grateful for the memories made. Maisie would like to thank Mr. Ingraham, Dr. O, Mr. Hughes, DH, Tron, and Mr. Gross for all they have done to create this show and for all they have taught her over the last 3 years. She would also like to thank her parents for all of their support. Maisie has had such a great time with everyone, both cast and crew, and wants everyone involved to know how thankful she is. She hopes everyone enjoys the show!!
Orion Kolek  (Ensemble/TV Stage Manager)
Orion Kolek (Form V) is ecstatic to be a part of this amazingly fun musical. Having been a part of the Shady Side community since freshman year, they have been a part of theatre communities both in and out of school since childhood, including participating in musicals and choirs at Shady Side. With past roles as an ensemble member in Pippin and Chicago, and their 2023 Fall Play debut as a Weird Sister in Macbeth, along with roles at their previous school in Zürich, Switzerland, Orion is excited to be participating in this years musical! Outside of theatre, they enjoy reading, running on the track team, and participating in and studying politics.
Cassie Li (Ensemble)
Cassie Li (Form IV) is excited to be in the musical this year. By participating in Chicago last year, she is deeply fall in love with musical. So here she comes!
Anna Litster (Ensemble/Secretary/Motorwise Singer)
Anna Litster (Form III) Anna is excited to be part of the zombie prom cast after being part of her first SSA high school production of Macbeth. In her free time she enjoys painting and softball.
Ava Marquis (Featured Dancer)
Ava Marquis (Form IV) is excited to be in Shady Side Academy's Zombie Prom. She is 16 years old and joined the Shady Side community last year. Last year, she was in the production of Chicago as ensemble. This year, she is casted as a featured dancer. Other than Shady Side Academy's musicals, she has also been involved in Preforming Arts Camp since she was in 3rd grade. With the Preforming Arts Camp, she has been in musicals such as The Addams Family (ensemble), Cabaret (ensemble), and Mary Poppins (ensemble). She has also been in the Comptra Theater's Footlose (ensemble). While she was in the middle school, she was in her school's production of High School Musical and casted as Martha Cox. Outside of musicals, Ava enjoys babysitting and talking to friends in her free time. At Shady Side, she is involved in the Children of Steel club. This club is to tutor students at the junior school grades kindergarten to fifth grade. Ava would like to thank her Mom, Dad, Brother, and Grandparents for always being supportive of her dreams.
Makayla Miller  (Featured Dancer)
Makayla Miller (Form III) is super excited to dance and perform in this production. She is brand new to Shadyside and is excited about what the future holds. She has performed in many productions in the past such as dance recitals, plays, and various musicals through her old school in Virginia, playing both a main character and ensemble. Makayla looks forward to adding this production to her list
Abby Ondos  (Featured Dancer/Assistant Choreographer)
Abby Ondos (Form VI) is thrilled to be dancing and contributing as an assistant choreographer in this year’s performance of Zombie Prom. Abby has been dancing since a young age, training at Wexford Dance Academy, and having completed dance intensives at Boston Ballet, Ballet Hawaii, Pennsylvania Central Youth Ballet and Vail Valley Dance Intensive. Abby has participated in many musicals, starting with Pittsburgh CLO, through middle school and more recently in North Catholic High School’s Bye Bye Birdie. Abby enjoyed playing the role of Hunyak, the Hungarian murderess, last year in SSA’s Chicago. Abby has enjoyed witnessing first hand so many in the cast this year sharing her love of music and dance.
Olivia Parker (Ensemble/Ramona Merengue)
Olivia Parker(Form V) is so grateful to have a role in her first musical at Shady Side Academy. She is looking forward to the upcoming performances.
Breslyn Plesh Stock-Bratina  (Ensemble)
Breslyn Plesh Stock-Bratina (Form III) is excited to perform in her first musical. She has been at SSA since Kindergarten and has loved the community. When she entered the theater, she was extremely pleased to finally meet people who shared her interests. She previously performed in SSA's Macbeth, as the character Ross, and has enjoyed every bit of theater since. Since she joined, she has met many wonderful people and has gained quite a few new friends. The overall experience of theater has brought her out of her comfort zone a bit, before theater she couldn't even present anything without feeling sick. She hopes that everyone enjoys Zombie Prom!
Aidan Prouty  (Ensemble/TV Makeup Artist)
Aidan Prouty ( Form V) can't believe he is already on his third high school production at SSA. These past three years being a part of the theater community have been a blast! He loves letting loose and having fun during rehearsals. He hopes you enjoy the Zombie Prom!
Leo Rickard (Ensemble)
Leo Rickard (Form VI) is very happy to join SSA’s production of zombie prom this year. He has a long career of acting that started as a young child, but unfortunately ended in late 2023 after he perished in a freak knitting accident. However, due to the nature of this particular musical, given its subject of the undead, the SSA Theatre Department saw it fit to resurrect the unfortunate actor with black magic, and conscript him to act in this production. Now neither living or dead, Leo Rickard is a Nazgûl, a ringwraith, bound to the will of the Theatre Department. At all times he feels the presence of the musical, drawn to the power of the production. He will never stop acting for you all.
Madeira Semins (Featured Dancer)
Madeira Semins (Form VI) is a lifer at Shady Side Academy. Zombie Prom is her 11th show at SSA, and she is thrilled to be reprising her role as featured dancer for the third year running! Most recently, she played Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, which was an incredible experience that she will be forever grateful for. In her free time, she can be found hanging out in the greenroom, reading, talking about her awesome job, or obsessing over the upcoming Taylor Swift album. This fall, she will be attending Kenyon College as an aspiring English major with ambitions of one day owning a bookstore. When she graduates this year, she will miss the theater department most of all, and would like to thank Dek, DH, and all her fellow theater kids for making high school so special.
Minna Seo (Ensemble)
Minna Seo (Form III) is exited to be part of her first musical production at Shady Side Academy. She is a new student as of this year, and is excited for the musicals in the years to come.
Hanna Singhi (Featured Dancer/Dance Captain)
Hanna Singhi (Form III) joined Shady Side Academy in 6th grade and is excited to explore a new genre of dance by performing in her first show with SSA. Beginning her formal dance training with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School at the age of 3, Hanna has always had a passion for movement. In particular, her love for ballet led to her appearance in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker for three consecutive years from 2017 to 2019. Apart from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Hanna also received a year of training at Allegro Ballet Academy and has studied traditional Chinese dance at Yanlai Dance Academy since 2019. In addition, Hanna is very excited to have been accepted to study at the Boston Ballet School for their 2024 Summer Dance Program. Apart from dance, Hanna plays the piano and violin, is a three-time Science Olympiad national medalist, and participates in rhythmic gymnastics as a level 9 gymnast with the Pittsburgh Northstars Rhythmic Team. She is a three-time national qualifier and thoroughly enjoys the sport. When she’s not dancing, at gymnastics, or playing music, Hanna enjoys hanging out with friends, playing soccer, swimming, ice skating, reading, and sleeping in.
Özge Ada Uzman (Featured Dancer)
Özge Ada Uzman (Form III) is excited to perform in this year’s production of Zombie Prom! She has been a member of the Shady Side community since Form I, and has performed in school musicals throughout this time, playing the roles of Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins and Bulda in Frozen. Apart from participating in musicals, Özge writes more stories than she knows what to do with, avidly reads, competes in—and occasionally teaches—robotics (recognized by the PA House of Representatives in two consecutive years), dances (she is especially excited to participate as a Featured Dancer this year in the musical!), and plays piano. Harboring interests in art, science, and the supernatural, she regards this particular musical as a superb way to begin her SSA Senior School performing arts career.
Jiqing (Tina) Xia (Featured Dancer)
Tina Xia (Form V) is thrilled to be a featured dancer in Zombie prom. She joined the SSA community in ninth grade, and previously she was a student in a Shanghai China. This is her third year doing SSA musical and she has become an important part of the theater community and school community. Outside of dancer in the musical, she has nine years of Ballet experience and got four silver medals in the Royal Academy of Dance. In addition, she started the SSA Dance Team and SSA kpop club. She helped choreographed the dances and teaches the dances to other people. SSA Dance Team performs at boys and girl basketball game; Kpop Club performs Korean dance in assembly and SSA idol. Tina shows his commitment and great talent in dancing through all these performances. Tina is also a close member of the SSA community as she is part of the boarding program and a Admission Ambassador.