'Evil Dead The Musical' planned April 11-12 in Walla Walla

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerApril 3, 2014 

Evil Dead The Musical

COURTESY JAILBREAK PHOTOGRAPHY

Some people like to go out for dinner and a movie. Others prefer dinner and a bloodbath.

If you're one of the latter, then you won't want to miss Evil Dead The Musical, which opens April 11 at the Gesa Power House Theatre in Walla Walla.

Chance Newman, director of the show's Northwest tour, is a fan of the original 1982 horror film and loved the 2009 musical, he said.

"The musical is as campy, bloody and packed with one-liners as the movie," Newman told the Herald in a phone interview. "We reenact the movie with music from rock to '50s doo-wop and country."

The Canadian musical was first performed in Toronto in 2003 and became as much a cult classic as the film series. It also features all the same characters as the movie: Ash, Cheryl, Shelly, Ed, Jake, Moose, Annie and Spirit of Knowby.

The music composers are Melissa Morris, George Reinblatt and Frank Cipolla with Reinblatt also credited as lyricist and playwright.

"There's always been a fun rivalry between the Rocky Horror Picture Show and Evil Dead," Newman said.

Many musicals are based on movies. But Evil Dead The Musical is the only one in history to be based on a series of movies, he added.

Directed by Sam Raimi, who also directed Spider Man, the lead role of Ash made actor Bruce Campbell a horror film icon, Newman said.

The movies and the musical are packed with campy comedy, gory scenes, one-liners, lively music, and a rainstorm of fake blood.

"We use blue, black and green fake blood in the musical like Raimi did in the films," Newman said. "He made the red blood multicolored for the film, otherwise it would have gotten an X rating, despite its slapstick horror."

Several rows of the Gesa Power House Theatre will be designated as splatter zone seats. Audience members who choose to sit there should dress accordingly.

"We encourage those sitting in the splatter zone to wear something white that you won't mind getting soiled," Newman said.

And though the colorful blood slinging should clean up in the washing machine, the director also recommends not wearing any favorite clothing just in case it doesn't.

"Generally, any splatter from the blood does wash out, but it all depends on the material of the clothing," he said.

Tickets in the splatter zone are $34. Safer seating areas are $29 and available at www.phtww.com. Performance times are 7 p.m. April 11 and 6 p.m. April 12. And after the show the cast will mingle with the audience in the lobby.

And if you never saw the movie Evil Dead, it follows the ridiculous path of five college students who end up at an abandoned cabin in the woods who inadvertently unleash an evil force that turns them into demons. As the blood flies and limbs are dismembered, the demons start telling bad jokes.

"Directing this musical has definitely been a lot of work," Newman said. "There's lots of techno and preplanning involved in bringing it all together. And when it does the audience will have a great time."

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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