“Messy musical mayhem” is how Robin Downward describes “Evil Dead: the Musical.”
Often referred to as the next “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” the production is campy with a raunchy, stick-in-your-head musical score. Chock-full of carnage, audiences should beware of the show’s signature “splatter zone.”
“This show is the most fun you can have at the theater ... even if you don’t love musicals,” says Downward, Randall Theater’s executive director. “It’s one of the craziest, funniest and bloodiest theatrical experiences.”
“Evil Dead” opens Friday, Oct. 19, and runs through Nov. 3 at Randall’s new venue, 20 S. Fir St., Medford. Curtain is at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19-20, Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 25-27, and Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 30 and 31. Matinees are set for 2 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 21 and 28. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at randalltheatre.com or by calling 541-632-3258.
Three sections in the first four rows at the theater, are the “splatter zone,” an area where audiences will be sprayed with fake blood during action sequences.
Downward advises patrons to bring umbrellas or wear rain slickers.
“Odds are, you’re gonna get gore on you,” he says.
“Evil Dead: the Musical” is the story of five college students who enter an abandoned cabin in the woods and accidentally unleash an evil force that turns them into demented spirits or “Deadites.”
Ash, a housewares clerk turned demon-killing hero, is called upon to save the day. His weapon of choice: a chainsaw.
Limbs are dismembered. Blood flies. The Deadites tell bad jokes, and everyone has a rousing good time, singing and dancing the night away.
Book and lyrics for “Evil Dead: The Musical” are by George Reinblatt, with music by Frank Cipolla, Christopher Bond, Melissa Morris and Reinblatt.
Based on the cult classic “Evil Dead” adult horror-film franchise, Downward says the show should appeal to the 18-to-35 demographic, the YouTube generation. Graphic scenes and quick, funny bits come at the audience very fast, video-game fast and furious-like.
“It’s all very humorous,” he says. “But it’s intelligent humor. It’s not wasted humor.”
“Evil Dead” is campy, yes, and over-the-top, certainly, says director Beth Boulay.
Boulay’s research included viewing “Cabin in the Woods,” a horror comedy with an eerily similar storyline. Co-written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, it too is a love/hate letter to the horror genre.
The “Evil Dead” franchise brought the B-horror movie out of the basement and into the mainstream, Boulay says. With a mix of rock ‘n’ roll, gospel and doo-wop, the score makes the show is a typical American musical,” Boulay says.
“Well, almost typical,” she says. “The first number, ‘Cabin in the Woods,’ gives audiences a sense that nothing is going to go wrong. The characters are soon singing quite a different tune with such numbers as ‘Look Who’s Evil Now’ and ‘All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Demons.’”
“It’s goofy, it’s spooky, perfect for Halloween,” she adds. “It’s a good time. Adults can feel like little kids.”
The cast includes Jonathan Oles, Autumn Carter, Jessica Lynn Dutra, Susie Gabumpa, David Alonso Rodriguez, Sophie Marilla Stricker, Nick Walker, Brad Zentgraf and Michael Surgeon.
“Evil Dead: the Musical” is rated R for gore, sexual innuendo and language. No one younger than 17 will be admitted without an accompanying adult.
Downward recommends “leaving the kids at home for this one.”