The University of Indianapolis Theatre Department will be putting on “Evil Dead: The Musical” in Ransburg Auditorium on April 13-16 and April 20-22 at 8 p.m. each night. According to Assistant Theatre Professor James Leagre, the goal of the musical is to pay homage to the films and the fans.
“As soon as word got out there, all these groups of ‘Evil Dead’ fanatics were already getting tickets. This may be one of the bigger shows we have because it’s ‘Evil Dead,’’ said Leagre.
According to Leagre, the musical was initially planned to debut around Halloween time last year, but he said that due to a lack of technical resources, it had to be pushed to April. At the beginning of the school year a new technical director was hired that has enhanced the technical resources behind the camera, he said.
“One of the things I’m doing with this, that’s a little different than what they normally do with this stage production, is I’m actually trying to kind of marry the concept of the film with live action,” Leagre said. “So there’s going to be a huge screen upstage of the set of the cabin. And when we’re in the cabin, that screen will just have a projection that is the wall of the cabin. But in other parts, it is going to be projected scenery, so when [Cheryl Williams] gets attacked by the trees, not only is the background going to be the trees, but she’s going to get sucked into the video.”
Freshman theatre major RaeLynn Cook is on the design team for the play and said that she is excited about the creativity of the filming process.
“There are going to be spots where actors are coming out of the projections in film and then getting sucked into the projections in film, and seeing that process is mind-blowing,” said Cook.
According to senior public health major Randy (RJ) Craig who portrays Ash, the main character, the audience should know what to expect if they have ever seen the “Evil Dead” films. He said the musical is a spectacle of a very campy show.
“It’s the characters of the first movie, the story of the second movie and the blood and spectacle of all of it,” Craig said. “It’s really fun and over the top. It’s a little raunchy because we do have a lot of swearing in there, but that just comes with it being ‘Evil Dead.’ It’s just a lot of fun, honestly.”
Craig said his normal personality differs quite a bit from Ash’s, but he has had a lot of fun portraying this character. He said that a lot of his research on Ash has been done watching the “Evil Dead” films and watching the TV show “Ash vs. Evil Dead.”
“There’s a lot of media to go off of in terms of how Ash acts, but there’s also a certain level of ‘Where do I get to put my own spin on the character?’” Craig said. “It’s really interesting too because you can tell in the old movies, it was written in the ‘70s and ‘80s for sure, based on the way that he acts, but it is very different from how I am in real life. I’m a little more soft-spoken, I feel, but he’s just like, big over-the-top energy everywhere all the time. Not to say that I don’t have energy, but sometimes I try to be a little more reserved. It is very interesting having to be this big and boastful like, ‘I’m the main hero, who’s going to mess with me?’”
According to Craig, he hopes that the musical will have a great turnout because it is a really fun show.
“I just want people to get to experience it,” Craig said. “Especially with the integration of all the different technical techniques that we’re doing. Between the blood and the projection, it’s just a very different show than I think anybody will have ever seen before.”