‘Evil Dead, the Musical’ raises demons and laughter at DAG

Photo by Sue Suchyta The Downriver Actors Guild presents “Evil Dead – the Musical” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 6, 12 and 13, with Leo McMaster (left), of Rockwood as Scott, Melanie Aue of Taylor as Cheryl, Kimberly Elliott of Canton Township as Shelly and Annie, Bryan Aue of Taylor as Ash, Kayla Younkin of Southgate as Linda, Jaavon Arnold of Westland as Ed and Sam Ramirez of Wyandotte as Jake at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte. For tickets or more information, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.

Photo by Sue Suchyta
The Downriver Actors Guild presents “Evil Dead – the Musical” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 6, 12 and 13, with Leo McMaster (left), of Rockwood as Scott, Melanie Aue of Taylor as Cheryl, Kimberly Elliott of Canton Township as Shelly and Annie, Bryan Aue of Taylor as Ash, Kayla Younkin of Southgate as Linda, Jaavon Arnold of Westland as Ed and Sam Ramirez of Wyandotte as Jake at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte. For tickets or more information, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.

When partying college students accidentally unleash evil demons in an abandoned cabin and the venue offers seats in the “splash zone,” it could only be “Evil Dead – the Musical.”

The show, at the Downriver Actors Guild, runs 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 6, 12 and 13 at the Catherine A. Daly Theater on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte. The show contains adults content, and anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

“Evil Dead – the Musical,” based on the “Evil Dead” movies, features music by Christopher Bond, Frank Cipolla, Melissa Morris and George Reinblatt, with lyrics and book by Reinblatt.

The musical, a comedic take on the horror movies, features song and dance numbers written specifically for the show, with protagonists and demons singing and moving to the music as hero Ash dishes out one-liners and battles demons.

Directed by Denny Connors of Brownstown Township, with choreography by Connors and Spencer Genrich, vocal direction by Gerald Hymer, and music direction by Audra Bass, the cast includes: Jaavon Arnold of Westland as Ed, Taylor residents Bryan Aue as Ash and Melanie Aue as Cheryl, Kimberly Elliott of Canton Township as Shelly and Annie, Leo McMaster of Rockwood as Scott, Sam Ramirez of Wyandotte as Jake, and Kayla Younkin of Southgate as Linda.

Connors said said the show takes the horror genre and flips it, and is based on the movie trilogy.

“It takes all three shows and just adds the camp, the silliness, the below-the-belt humor,” he said. “It’s not necessarily scary as it is a funny, good time.”

Connors said a unique part of the show is the “splatter zone.”

“You don’t want to sit in the first four rows it you don’t want to get wet,” he said. “The ‘Evil Dead’ series was known for going overboard with the blood. This show does the same thing, and the blood hits the audience as well.”

Connors said people come to the show hoping to be splattered with stage blood, so the theater has a soak zone for which patrons pay for the privilege of soaking up the spray.

In addition to its unusual ambiance, Connors said the show is funny.

“The humor in the show is punched up and amped up,” he said. “It is one of the funniest shows you will see. It’s a horror comedy, with emphasis on the comedy.”

Connors said “Evil Dead” fans are going to love it because they will hear their favorite lines from the movies and see their favorite scenes, while the comedy component is increased.

“Each song is over-the-top hysterical,” Connors said. “The choreography is designed to be funny and the lines are funny. It’s just a blast.”

Bryan Aue said his character, Ash, is a reluctant hero with attitude and swagger.

“He is forced into this and he begrudgingly takes on the role,” he said. “He thinks a lot of himself, he’s got an ego the size of this theater, and it is a lot of fun to do.”

Aue said Ash is an iconic horror movie character because he is actually a good guy.

“Most of your horror characters are bad guys – Freddy, Jason,” he said. “Ash is one of the few heroes in the horror genre.”
Aue said the dialogue is pretty true to the movie.

“If you are a horror fan, and you know the ‘Evil Dead’ movies, you get those lines and moments that you’re familiar with,” he said. “If you are a musical theater fan, the songs and the dance numbers in the show are top notch, on a par with any other show I have seen.”

Aue said if you just like to have fun, the show has an abundance of humor.

“You are going to laugh so hard,” he said. “You are going to want to go watch the movies.”

Elliott said the musical is funny and campy, which is what made her a fan of the show, and while it has a cult following like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” it appeals to a different demographic.

“There’s lots of laughter, surprising moments, excitement,” she said. “There is something for everyone, but not the young ones.”

Elliott plays two roles: Shelly, who is pretty but clueless, and Annie, who is smart, stoic and driven.

“It is fun to play the two parts in one show,” Elliott said.

Melanie Aue, who plays Ash’s sister Cheryl, said she is the first one to die and turn into a demon, so it is almost as if she plays two roles as well.

“Cheryl is very shy, quiet and timid, and the demon Cheryl swears a lot and makes some really bad puns,” she said. “Its fun to go from this to ‘look at me!’”

Aue said she hopes people are impressed with the professionalism of the cast.

“Every show that we do here, we strive to be the best,” she said. “Even with a campy, silly, ridiculous, funny, bloody, gory show, we are still striving to be the best, so I hope they leave here super-pumped that we were able to tackle this thing, with all of its technical difficulties, demons and so much blood.”

Aue said the stage blood is washable and safe, and ponchos will be available on request.

“It is all in good fun, and we are going to get it all over us, too, so no one should feel left out,” she said. “But for most people, it’s a pleasure to sit in the ‘splash zone’ – they want to get splashed.”

Aue said there are lighting and technical production challenges as well.

“Things in the cabin are animated and have to move, seemingly on their own,” she said. “We seamlessly turn into demons, and then back out of being demons in a matter of 30 seconds maybe, so costumes are doubled. It’s really technically difficult.”

Aue said the show is funny, and the music is fun and catchy.

“There is some dramatic stuff that we punch up a little so it is not really serious,” she said. “But it’s gory, it’s fun and I think everyone will enjoy at least one thing.”

Aue said the cast works together well as an ensemble.

“From day one we worked very well together,” she said. “Some of us have worked together before, but not all of us. We immediately formed a great family team, so it has been nice.”

Tickets are $18, with a $2 discount for seniors and students. Tickets are $20 in the “Splash Zone.” For for information, or to order, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.