Musical has evil twins and a Splatterzone

What is the difference between a regular person and a zombie? It’s a legitimate question. They have the same outsides, the same insides, and they both have blood. In what seems to be a case of life imitating art, a musical has sprouted an evil twin of sorts, although the better analogy would be the evil zombie has an evil twin.

Evil Dead: The Musical has two different productions running concurrently in Vancouver over the next several weeks. One, Vancouver-based Down Stage Right Productions (DSR), has a small budget and a big heart. The other, Calgary's Hit & Myth Productions, has deep pockets, imported talent, and the original off-Broadway set.

The fact that there are two productions during the Halloween season is a testament to how cool the show is. In the DSR production, Jenni Neumann plays Cheryl, the bratty little sister who becomes an evil demon. She graduated from Capilano's Musical Theatre program in 2007, and sees the competing production as an opportunity. “It pushes us even harder. It's more incentive to make it the best show we can.”

DSR’s all local cast and crew includes another Cap grad, Mat Baker, as Jake, as well as Cap vocal instructor Sylvia Zaradic. “It's been really exciting, because Sylvia, who was my vocal coach, is now my musical director. It's always great to get to work with people I graduated with, " says Jenni.

Because the Calgary production has a much bigger budget, Mark Carter, artistic director of the DSR version, has been forced to be more creative. “The fact that we built the set, props and costumes all from scratch makes it our own. This is our take on the musical from the ground up, not somebody else's vision.”

Although it has been hard for DSR to compete with the Calgary company, there are several things that really make the smaller production stand out. In Carter's opinion “there is nothing like the energy of a live band on stage.” The Norman Rothstein Theatre venue is smaller and more intimate, as well plus the tickets are cheaper.

What both shows have in common is the infamous Splatterzone. It consists of the first few rows of both productions, where fake blood is sprayed, spit, and flung once a show. Die hard fans of the Evil Dead trilogy rejoice in these seats, because for once in a persons life they can legitimately get sprayed with zombie blood.

Director Kevin McKendrick describes the Hit and Myth set at the Vogue Theatre; “[It was bought from] the official Evil Dead: The Musical set from New York’s off Broadway production. We took it to another level because we used Bleeding Arts [a Calgary based company that works on horror films] to help us with the Special FX.”

This is not a show that should be missed, and because there are two productions in town, you have no excuse not to go. Both are amazing it’s not everyday that a play has musical numbers, gallons of blood, zombies, moral dilemmas, zombie orgies, comedy and romance. You’ll have a bloody fantastic time. I guarantee it. If not, I’m willing to give my brains as a refund.

//Nicole Mucci


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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com