‘Evil Dead: The Musical’ slashes its way to Prince Music Theater

 

Actor Ryan Ward plays the character Ash in 'Evil Dead: The Musical.' (Photo from the original Toronto production)
Ryan Ward played Ash in the original Toronto production.

Blood, gore, demons, more blood, chainsaws, books of the dead, haunted woods, and just an unbelievable amount of blood – do you feel a song coming on? Well, that was Christopher Bond’s reaction to the cult favorite “Evil Dead” trilogy, particularly its gore and slapstick-heavy second entry.

“In ‘Evil Dead 2’, the blood and gore was so over the top that it was comedic,” Bond says. “So I thought it would really translate onto the stage. If you were at a show with buckets of blood all over the place in all these different colors, it would just be hilarious.”

The Toronto-based theater director was on the lookout for a piece of material that would make a fun, audience-interactive piece of theater akin to “The Rocky Horror Show” when he first sat down to watch “Evil Dead 2” more than a decade ago. “Evil Dead: The Musical” will run for the next month at the Prince.

“What I loved about ‘Rocky Horror’ is that it wasn’t just a show, it was an experience,” Bond says. “It was more like a party than a show. So I thought, ‘Wow, I wish I was a part of something like that.’ So I started thinking about what would be a cool, cult, underground work that would translate onto the stage. I saw ‘Evil Dead 2’ and loved how kooky all the Three Stooges silliness was.”

Working with playwright George Reinblatt, Bond decided to “squish together” elements of all three “Evil Dead” films, including the more horrific original film and the medieval-set “Army of Darkness.” And “squish” is the appropriate word – like a Sea World dolphin show gone horribly wrong, the first several rows of the theater are designated the “Splatter Zone.”

“One day during the first run of the show we accidentally got some blood on the audience and were apologizing, but they were like ‘No, it’s awesome, we love it!’ And boom, the Splatter Zone was invented.”

The creators of the “Evil Dead” trilogy have been supportive of the Canadian team’s efforts. Star Bruce Campbell encourage them in the early going, directing them to the appropriate contacts in order to secure theatrical rights. And director Sam Raimi has given his endorsement to the show during its decade-long existence. “I think saw a little bit of himself in us,” Bond says of Raimi. “When he made ‘Evil Dead’, he was fresh out of university and trying to make something special, and that was us 10 years ago.”

“Evil Dead: The Musical”
Tomorrow through Oct. 20
Prince Music Theater
1412 Chestnut St.
$25-$65, 215-972-1000
www.princemusictheater.org


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