Oct 12, 2018
HSU’s Theatre, Film and Dance Department presents Evil Dead The Musical, a splattery horror-comedy opening Friday, Oct. 26.
The Canadian rock musical stage play, with book and lyrics by George Reinblatt and music by Frank Cipolla, Christopher Bond, Melissa Morris and George Reinblatt, is based on the Evil Dead film series. Originally adapted in 2003, it instantly became a hit and eventually moved on to an off-Broadway run in 2006. Many regional productions of the show have been performed all over the world. Critics praised the show and one critic for The New York Times said the musical “wants to be the next The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and it just may succeed.”
From left: Elizabeth Whittemore as Cheryl, William English III as Ash, Shawn Wagner as Linda.
The hilarious script follows five hormonal college students who go to an abandoned cabin in the woods for a short vacation. They discover a 13th-century book of the dead, accidentally play an audiotape of demon-summoning words, and are soon being possessed, one at a time, by evil forces. It’s all up to Ash (a housewares employee turned demon-killing hero) and his trusty chainsaw to save the day. Limbs are dismembered. Blood flies. (It’s the only show with a “Splatter Zone”—a section of the audience that gets covered in fake blood!) Demons tell bad jokes … and all to music.
The production is directed by Associate Professor Rae Robison, who loves horror—the first book she read in a single weekend (at age 10) was Stephen King’s Carrie.
“I’m a sucker for a good scare,” she says. “But I also love comedy and the Evil Dead movies have a terrific combination of both. They’re campy, hilarious, not-clean, not-family-friendly fun.
“What is this play about? It’s about laughing for about two hours and seeing an amazing group of actors and designers knocking your socks off. There is literally no reason to do this other than a really entertaining evening where you laugh, gasp, and love every minute in the theater.”
Evil Dead The Musical has doo-wop, tangos, and bits of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Fans of horror will love how many Deadites get killed in so many ways (thanks to fight choreographer Caroline McFarland).
The production includes adult language, lots of killing of the undead, and enough blood to warrant the purchase of rain ponchos for audience members in the first rows.
The production includes 14 cast members who “are just pouring their hearts into this,” Robison says. “Not to mention the stage designers and technicians who are so stoked about this show and what we’re creating.” Scenic design is by Raymond Gutierrez, costume design by Rae Robison, sound design by Kai Lassen, lighting design by Percival Ferrugia, properties design by Emma Lubin and make-up design by Amy Beltran. Musical Director is Camille Borrowdale and the production will be stage managed by Grady Moore.
Evil Dead The Musical, opens Friday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m., and is the first fully staged production of the 2018-19 Season at HSU. The run continues Oct. 27, Nov. 1, 2, 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gist Hall Theatre on campus. There will be two matinee performances beginning at 2 p.m. on Sundays, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4. General admission is $15. Students and seniors are $10. Not intended for children. Lot parking is free on weekends. For tickets, please call 707.826.3928 or visit the Center Arts website. For more information, call 707.826.3566.
From left: Shawn Wagner as Linda, Elizabeth Whittemore as Cheryl (above), William English III as Ash.