The dead are alive & singing

Independent student group perform adaptation of cult classic horror franchise ‘Evil Dead’

The chainsaw hand: a featured prop.
The chainsaw hand: a featured prop.
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The stage adaptation was written by Queen’s alum.
The stage adaptation was written by Queen’s alum.
Photo: 

Evil Dead: The Musical is finally opening in Kingston.

The musical has some history in town. Co-creators George Reinblatt and Christopher Bond, music writer Melissa Morris, and several members from the original cast and crew all graduated from Queen’s.

Based on the 1980s cult horror movie series Evil Dead, the musical adaptation first hit Toronto in 2003.

Although the first performances were in a small bar called the Tranzac Club, the show quickly gained traction. Evil Dead: The Musical was a featured attraction at the 2004 Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and opened as an off-Broadway show in New York City in 2006.

The 2007 return to Toronto was also highly successful.

“[It] was such a hit that it became the longest running Canadian show in Toronto in over two decades,” states the show’s official website.

Since then, productions have occurred in places as far as Tokyo, Seoul and Cleveland.

Next up: Kingston, Ont. Echoing the non-conventionality of the show, this particular production of Evil Dead is being released without the assistance of a theatre company.

Headed by producer Hannah Stewart, ArtSci ’15, and Stephanie Andrews, ArtSci ’14, the Kingston troupe received the rights for Evil Dead only this past December. Since then, the creative team has been working hard to ensure the success of this independent show.

“I was always a huge fan of the show and was really passionate about doing it,” Andrews said. “Hannah was the one who really pushed me to pursue it. We called in lots of favours and a bunch of people helped us get this thing off the ground.”

Cast member Jillian Carter, ArtSci ’15, acknowledged the amount of experience and hours of hard work put in by the cast and crew.

“Although it’s an independent production, everyone is very professional and takes the initiative to make everything go smoothly,” she said. “There has been so much support from Queen’s and the Kingston community.”

Another unexpected source of support came Wednesday when co-creator and writer George Reinblatt posted well-wishes on the event page.

“I just wanted to say break a leg with your opening,” Reinblatt posted. “I wish I could have made the trip to Kingston to finally see the Evil Dead mounted there.”

“All the creative team behind this show met while we were at Queen’s,” Reinblatt said. “So it’s awesome you guys are doing this. Be sure to let me know how it goes. And stay groovy!”

For the Kingston production, a cast of eight students delivers a hilarious performance. While members hail from a variety of programs and theatre experience, this production boasts stellar vocals, creative choreography and a talented music team.

Despite the learning curve that accompanies such an innovative and intense project, everyone involved with the musical have managed to maintain a fun and engaging atmosphere.

Audiences should expect this attitude to carry over to performances.

“It’s a fun and laid-back show,” Andrews said. “There will actually be a ‘splatter zone’ in the first few rows, where people will get sprayed with fake blood during act two.”

Evil Dead: The Musical opens April 3 at Time to Laugh Comedy Club. Tickets are available at Tricolour Outlet and Time to Laugh.

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