The Latest Madcap Musical from the Eubank Family: ‘Evil Dead’
After multiple reprisals of The Rocky Horror Show, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Eating Raoul: The Musical, Evil Dead: The Musical is set to enter the pantheon of Eubank family favorites after an initial run last fall. This Halloween season features a month’s worth of shows, from Oct. 7 through Nov. 4, at Crown Center’s Off Center Theatre.
Based on the infamous Sam Raimi-directed gore-fests from the 1980s and ’90s, Evil Dead: The Musical combines plot elements in a screwball sendup of the entire horror film genus. The show features “at least one number from every genre of every type” of music, according to cast member Katie Karel, a frequent Egads! player who is part of the cast for this go-around as well. “They’ve got blues, rock, disco, you know, they’ve got the ballad … it’s all in there,” she says.
Besides Karel, Evil Dead features many other Egads favorites, including Ashley Otis, credited as associate choreographer, but in reality the ringleader of the production’s dance numbers. At a recent rehearsal, Otis, who most recently starred in Mother Trucker 2: Ride On, served as a stern dance mistress, putting the cast through a rigorous warm-up, then providing detailed notes after she watched over one of their dance numbers, “Do The Necronomicon.”
“It’s refreshing, and I really enjoy doing it,” she says of the process. “And cleaning everything up, that’s who I am. I’m not ‘let’s make up dances and do happy time.’”
Helping to round out the cast is Sam Wright as hero Ash Williams, who wields a sawed-off shotgun and chainsaw to dispatch attacking zombies. Wright, who showed a strong, assured tenor at rehearsal, previously played in the Egads Valentine 2010 offering, Say You Love Satan, as well as in the 2010 run of Evil Dead.
“So far, it’s just been a lot of pain and stretching,” he says with a shy smile when asked how the show is progressing this time around.
The cast for this show points to one of the strengths of Egads: its uncanny ability to find and develop fresh new talent.
Jeff Church, producing artistic director for Coterie Theatre (see main story), says “[Steven> is fully my colleague that I call on for casting thoughts and programming ideas. I think he uncovers a lot of new performers in this city, and I watch his shows carefully to see who he has discovered.”
Indeed, casting is an oft-overlooked facet of theater and film productions. When a show is cast correctly, it shines with seamless energy