Without “The Rocky Horror Show” there would probably be no “Evil Dead — The Musical.”
That’s according to Christopher Bond, who along with three other writers created “Evil Dead — The Musical” and produced its world premiere in Toronto in 2003 where it won the Dora Audience Choice Award as Toronto’s favorite stage show. Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m., three days before Halloween, the show comes to Proctors in Schenectady.
“We do the show year-round, but the audience at Proctors should definitely be in the spirit of the thing,” said Bond, a native of North York, Ontario. “When we’re in Schenectady it will be near Halloween, so that should add to the excitement.”
Evil Dead — The Musical,” based on the “Evil Dead” film series, tells the story of five college friends — three girls and two boys — who spend a weekend alone in an abandoned cabin in the woods. Like “The Rocky Horror Show,” which Bond was involved in early in his acting career, “Evil Dead” features a number of ways for the audience to interact with the actors.
‘Evil Dead — The Musical’
WHERE: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
HOW MUCH: $20-$85
MORE INFO: 346-6204, www.proctors.org
“I had a great experience with that show, and I just knew there had to be some other property out there that would allow us to have the same kind of fun, and do that kind of audience interaction fun,” said Bond, who wrote the show with George Reinblatt, Frank Cipolla and Melissa Morris. “It was great doing ‘Rocky Horror,’ and we knew there was something out there that would give you the same kind of feeling. ‘Evil Dead’ was a great idea because we already had a fan base because of the film. All we had to do was tweak a few things, write a musical version.”
The reaction was positive. The Toronto Star gave the show four stars, its highest rating, The New York Times called it “The next ‘Rocky Horror Show,’ ” and the Philadelphia Inquirer said it was a “must-see show.”
“It actually felt easy and natural to do, and the fans responded quickly,” said Bond, a Toronto resident who went to Queen’s University in Kingston where he studied stage and screen writing. “If you’re a fan of ‘Rocky’ and any kind of that genre stuff, or any of the old horror films, than you will enjoy our show. It’s hilarious.”
While the five college friends are all infected with an evil force, and the show does have some gory aspects to it, Bond said, it isn’t terrifying.
“It’s a comedy and it’s for people looking for a good time,” said Bond. “Bad things happen to these kids, but it’s really not scary. We keep things a little eerie and spooky, but it’s definitely still a comedy first. We put the horror and comedy side-by-side. Everything ends up with a joke at the end.”
Up close, personal
The tickets are priced between $75 and $20, although there is an $85 option for those fans looking for an up-close, interactive experience. For many of those folks, the experience will include getting splattered with fake blood.
The “splatterzone,” as Bond calls it, “that’s our calling card. Every theater we go to has a designated section, somewhere usually in the first three or four rows, and if you sit there you will get hammered with fake blood. It’s non-toxic, it’s eatable, it won’t stain your clothes, and the fans go bonkers when it happens. Our hardcore fans get dressed up in a white tuxedo and sit in the splatter zone.”
But despite the comedy aspects, “Evil Dead — The Musical” isn’t for young children.
“There are some scenes that might not be appropriate for younger ears,” said Bond. “It’s more for older kids, say 16-year-olds and above.”
“The Evil Dead,” written and directed by Sam Raimi, was a film that kicked off the series back in 1981. In 1987, “Evil Dead II” was made, and in 1992 the producers followed up with “Army of Darkness.” A remake of the original was also released last year.
“We have all the iconic images and characters that our fans want to see, as well as the familiar lines,” said Bond. “We’ve stayed true to the original movie as much as we can, and it’s great fun, but you don’t have to be a fan of the movies to enjoy the show.”
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or [email protected]