The black box ceiling of 2nd Street Theater is still splattered with blood from the first production of Evil Dead the Musical in 2008. On four occasions, the theater has transformed into the ominous isolated cabin in the woods where five college buddies vacation and accidently discover a force of unspeakable evil in the form of rapey trees who systematically zombify the friends.
Evil Dead the Musical is the theatrical equivalent of going to a GWAR concert. Tickets for seats in the "splatter zone" will cost you an extra $3, but in the small theater, even outside of the front row audiences can expect to leave with some blood on them.
"When Ash cuts off his hand he gets hosed in blood and people love it," said director Sandy Klein. Obviously, a discerning taste for theater isn't necessary to enjoy the production. "You don't have to be a fan of theater or musicals, you just have to like to have fun," she added.
The satirical musical is not for those with weak stomachs or those offended by some no-apology foul-mouthery. Klein and the cast have put together an even raunchier, more spirited blood bath with more puns than you can shake an undead stick at. The theater puts a distinctly festive twist on the campy musical in a special holiday rendition "Dead for the Hellidays."
"At the end of the show there's a couple big group numbers so people will see all kinds of Christmas related characters out there dancing and singing," said Klein. "I've got zombie Jesus, I've got Santa. It's going to make it feel seasonal."
The cast is filled with familiar faces from the young acting community. Tommy Kuchulis, who was delightfully hilarious as Lancelot and the French taunter in this year's production of Spamalot, returns for a second year as Ash, the sparkly smiled, loveable and totally badass protagonist with a chainsaw arm.
"I always say he's a cross between Bruce Campbell and Jim Carrey," said Klein.
Jenny Mackenzie also returns to the cast after a hiatus from the first 2nd Street run of Evil Dead as Cheryl, Ash's obnoxious demon sister.
Todd Schetzsle, a newcomer to the theater scene who secured his part by singing what he called a "fairly blasphemous song" with his banjo during open auditions, plays Ash's raunchy alcoholic best buddy and is excited to continue what has become a 2nd Street tradition.
"It's a lot to live up to. [Evil Dead is] a cult thing in this town," explained Schetzsle. "It's nerve racking but I'm stoked. This is such a campy cheesy production, it's so over the top. The songs are ridiculous; the dance moves are friggin' hilarious. People don't need to like musicals to like this. Just dress in your finest PataGucci and get splattered."
Evil Dead the Musical: Dead for the Holidays
Thur.-Sat. Dec. 5-7 and
Wed.-Sat. Dec. 11-14, 8pm
Sun. 8 and 15, 4 pm.
2nd Street Theater, 220 NE Lafayette Ave.
$19-$22, $25 splatter zone