You don't have to be a fan of the cult classic movie "Evil Dead" to enjoy "Evil Dead: The Musical," playing at Detroit's City Theatre. You just need a sense of humor and maybe a towel for the ride home if you've been brave enough to sit in the splatter zone.
It's a rollicking hayride of humor, not to mention a hilariously bloody homage to the 30th anniversary of Sam Raimi's original movie, "Evil Dead" which premiered in Detroit in 1981.
The Ringwald/Who Wants Cake? and Olympia Entertainment are presenting "Evil Dead: The Musical" at Detroit's City Theatre located inside Hockeytown Café, at 8 p.m., every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, through Oct. 29.
The musical unearths the old campfire tale: On a weekend getaway a boy and his pals stumble upon an abandoned cabin in the woods, where the boys expect to get lucky. That is until someone in the group unleashes an ancient evil spirit, turning the pack of happy campers into Candarian Demons, except for the boy who lived to tell the story. Any camper who has read the zombie manual knows this kind of adventure requires one to duck flying body parts. Just as any theater patron who chooses to sit in a section of seats covered with plastic should know something wet is coming their way.
What audiences might not expect from the show is to be wooed by the music.
Its musical numbers, including "All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons," "What the F*%$# Was That?" and "Do The Necronomicon," not only entice, but cause audiences to hoot, howl and sing to themselves.
Warning: Be it infatuation or an invasion of the mind, the songs will get stuck in your head. By dawn, however, they will be gone leaving only a funny memory of the actors' uproarious stage performance of the songs.
Audiences in Toronto privy to the show's premiere at the Just For Laughs Festival in 2004, approved by both Raimi and the film's star Bruce Campbell, sent out a clarion call to anyone who pooh-poohed musicals to give this one a try. The lyrics were written by George Reinblatt, who collaborated on the music with Frank Cipolla, Christopher Boyd and Melissa Morris.
Cult horror films expanded in the 1980s and new waves of terror films were established thanks to Sam Raimi. As Brainz pointed out in a story about the 50 most influential directors of the century, "He pioneered the mixture of horror and comedy, and gave audiences with a fetish for freaky something never before seen: horror to make you shriek in utter panic, then break into hysterical laughter at the absurdity five minutes later."
Raimi's comedies accelerated the fame of Bruce Campbell, the star of the Evil Dead Trilogy and I'm sure "Evil Dead: The Musical," directed by Michelle LeRoy, will do the same for this cast including Pete Podolski (Ash), Tara Tomcsik (Shelly/Annie), Molly Zaleski (Cheryl), Tim Kay (Scott), Thalia Schramm (Linda), David Schoen (Jake) and Dez Walker (Ed/Evil Moose voice).
It's also likely that this show will spawn a phenomenon similar to that which occurred during the Rocky Horror Picture Show-era, where audiences showed up toting their own impression of the show's characters along with props. For now, audience members braving the splatter seats are dressing for their part, as victims of the musical's splattering rage of terror and tomfoolery.
The City Theatre in located inside Hockeytown Café at 2301 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets, $25 general admission, can be purchased at Olympia Entertainment, The Fox Theatre, Joe Louis Arena and the City Theatre box office, located inside Hockeytown Café, and all Ticketmaster locations and at Ticketmaster To charge tickets by phone call 800-745-300. For performance schedule and more information, call 313-471-66-11 or go to Who Wants Cake Theatre?
One can never speak enough of the virtues, the dangers, the power of shared laughter -- Francoise Sagan