Ok, you primitive screwheads, listen up! Do I look like the type that goes to see musicals at the theatre? Let alone plays in general? The only other play I’ve ever seen in my life was James Joyce’s THE DEAD and that was because Christopher Walken was in it and it was my one & only chance to meet the man himself. So, I’m sure you’re wondering why the hell I was spotted over at New World Stages located at 340 West 50th Street in Manhattan last night? I’ll tell ya why!


The thought of converting the much-beloved EVIL DEAD series into a musical sounds both hilarious & ridiculous. And now after finally witnessing it first-hand, I’ll add “BRILLIANT!” to that list of adjectives!

EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL is quite possibly the most entertaining 2 hours I’ve ever had. I had a smile on my face from start to finish.

Let’s sum up the plot. Essentially, the play-version combines Evil Dead 1 & 2. The beginning half of Act One is compromised mostly of sequences & characters from the original Evil Dead. We’ve got Ash & Linda, Ash’s sister Cheryl. And of course Ash’s best friend Scott with his new very “blonde” girlfriend Shelly. Much like in the movie, they head into a secluded cabin in the woods. Ash & Linda get a little alone time and break into a song called “Housewares Employee”. (It’s about finding “retail love”.) From then on, the laughs don’t stop.

Cheryl decides to bury herself in a book (Bruce Campbell’s “If Chins Could Kill”, just so ya know) while the two couples do their own thing. Then, she hears voices, and the evil dead attack! Cheryl goes running into the woods, and in one of the musical’s most hilarious sequences, gets attacked by the woods. (Actually three guys dressed up as trees. Brilliant!) After that, the musical starts incorporating Evil Dead 2 characters and plot points.

Annie arrives at the airport complaining about the in-flight movie (Spider-man) and practically cuts off every sentence her fiancé Ed tries to get in. Trying to get to the woods, they see the bridge is closed off, so the good old “hick-ya-love-to-hate” Jake guides them to the cabin to rendezvous with Annie’s parents. Needless to say, they arrive to find a chainsaw-wielding, covered in blood, going a bit batty Ash.

I don’t want to spoil too much of the fun, but you DO get to see a lot of cool Evil Dead 2 sequences acted out live in front of you. Talking moose heads, decapitations, Ash fighting his hand, the works! Of course, eventually he breaks out the chainsaw, loads up the sawed off shotgun and starts spouting confident one-liners to the rest of the cast. (Like the “loud-mouthed braggart” he is!)

There’s also the whole “splatter zone” thing. Ya see, if you choose to sit in the first 3 rows of the musical, you’re officially sitting in “splatter zone” seats. There’s plenty of fake blood flying around on stage, and if the plastic covering the first 3 rows isn’t enough of an indication, it means you’re going to get hit with the red stuff. No worries though, during the show’s intermission, ushers hand out plastic smocks so you can cover up.

If you’re a fan of the EVIL DEAD films, then I can’t imagine you not absolutely loving this. Story-wise, it’s the perfect combination of Evil Dead’s 1 & 2, and the musical numbers are all surprisingly hilarious. I was particular fond of “Housewares Employee”, “Do The Necronomicon” and “What the *** was that?” (That last one literally had me on the floor with laughter.) Fans of ‘Army Of Darkness’… ? Fear not! They make plenty of nods and references to the third Evil Dead film. In fact, the crowd ripped into enthusiastic applause when Ash held up his shotgun and said, “You see this? This… is my BOOMSTICK!” In fact, I’m pretty sure I heard people in the audience saying the line aloud with actor Ryan Ward.

Speaking of, the entire cast was fantastic, they really were. And I was impressed with the quick changes of certain characters into deadites in between musical numbers & scenes. I’d have to say that Jenna Coker who played Ash’s sister Cheryl was great & really stood out. Super energetic and really, really funny. I love Ellen Sandweiss, but gosh, this gal was enthusiastically all over the place!

And of course, Ryan Ward blew us all away as Ash. I was of course, always nervous of the idea of anyone other then Bruce Campbell playing the role of Ash, but man… Ryan absolutely nailed it. He’s got all of Ash’s mannerisms, one-liner jokes and actions down pat. Hell, he even looks like Bruce Campbell. (Only difference is Ryan belts out into songs!) Ryan’s the only cast member from the original Canadian show to come on over to New York for this production, and I’m so glad he did. He totally ruled the part of Ash. And it wasn’t until I saw him that I fully realized that Ash is now no longer just Bruce Campbell. Ash is a pop culture icon. Right up there with Freddy, Jason, Dracula, Van Helsing, and countless others. Ash is a character unto himself that lots of people will probably play for many years to come.

Everything about the show deserves kudos. It couldn’t have been an easy musical to put together, but all the crew involved did it & did a fantastic job. The production design was creative, the direction was awesome, the make-up effects were cool and overall, it seems that they just really wanted to deliver a fun time. Which they did. Below is a listing of all the show’s credits.

If you’re in New York and you are an Evil Dead fan, you absolutely HAVE to go see this. Seriously, if not, the regret of missing this show will umm…. swallow your soul? –Robg.

"What The F*** Was That?" clip

VISIT: www.EvilDeadTheMusical.com
AND: www.myspace.com/evildeadthemusical

NEW WORLD STAGES - 340 West 50 th Street

Jenkay LLC, Jeffrey Latimer Entertainment, Just For Laughs Live present


Book & Lyrics by: George Reinblatt

Music by: Frank Cipolla, Christopher Bond, Melissa Morris, George Reinblatt

By Special Arrangement With: Renaissance Pictures, LTD. & Studio Canal Image, S.A.

CAST (in order of appearance)

Linda – Jennifer Byrne

Cheryl – Jenna Coker

Shelly – Renee Klapmeyer

Ash – Ryan Ward

Scott – Brandon Wardell

Ed – Tom Walker

Annie – Renne Klapmeyer

Moose – Tom Walker

Jake – Darryl Winslow

Fake Shemp – Ryan Williams

Spirit of Knowby – Brandon Wardell


Co-Directed & Choreographed by Hinton Battle

Co-Directed by Christopher Bond

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