It’s been done before, but it’s never been better. The Alley Theater (Louisville, KY) production of Evil Dead: The Musical brings the gore and humor of The Evil Dead and Army of Darkness movies to the stage in a show that keeps audiences laughing long after the final number.
For Producer Jake A. Wheat, it’s a dream come true. “I saw YouTube videos of the New York show and found that it was playing in Korea. I wanted to see the show; I wanted to share it with my friends. So I realized I had to bring it to Louisville.” He called Director and Co-Producer Joey Arena, infamous for his work on the Baxter Avenue Morgue haunted house, and the game was on.
But creating the best Evil Dead: The Musical stage show was more than just putting together a great cast and crew. The Alley Theater recently joined forces with Art Sanctuary and had moved to a new home, and the entire stage, set, and seating had to be built. Add to that the musical numbers, choreography, and blood effects, and the team had its work cut out for them.
As Choreographer and actress for the role of Annie, the heroine daughter of the paleontologist who set the demons free, Valerie Hopkins explains: “This is an impressive and dedicated cast. They never question what is thrown at them, and they always make it better than what is given to them.” Rebecca Chaney, who plays the role of Cheryl, Ash’s innocent younger sister, laughingly adds, “It’s challenging to dance in all that blood!”
That devotion extends beyond the cast and crew; more than 100 people earned special thanks for their hard work getting the theater and the show ready for audiences. As a special treat for the audience and cast alike, the demon masks for this production were made by David Greathouse and Robert Kurtzman, who made them for the original Evil Dead movies. The results are highly impressive. The set is well crafted; the forest is wonderfully constructed; the stage fills with blood; and the jokes keep coming.
Full of wit and beloved lines from Army of Darkness, Evil Dead: The Musical caused me to have deep belly laughs. This is no surprise, with musical numbers like “Look Who’s Evil Now,” “All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons,” and my personal favorite, “Do the Necronomicon.” And who can forget the skillfully executed tap-dancing number “Bit Part Demon”? Plus, the music is skillfully played by a live band.
Evil Dead: The Musical plays Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights through October at The Alley Theater. I recommend Splatter-Zone tickets — the “bloodier” the better in my opinion. Not only is the production worth a trip from out-of-town, but the venue is comfortable and serves refreshments before the show, during intermission, and after the show. The entire setup engages the audience, adding to the fun.
You are unlikely to find this show elsewhere in the United States, so to quote Bruce Campbell, “Listen up you primitive screw-heads” and buy your tickets for Evil Dead: The Musical now before they sell out.
Check out the TechRepublic photo gallery of Evil Dead: The Musical, which features some scenes from the production, and several fans who attended the event.