comments

Four Weeks of Fright: Blood, gore, severed limbs and songs greet theatergoers this month

Cast resurrects popular horror rock comedy ‘Evil Dead: The Musical’ at Sutter Street Theatre
By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
-A +A
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a four-part series looking at frightfully fun happenings in the area. Spraying blood, severed limbs and fright-filled shrieks, all accompanied by catchy tunes, can only mean one thing — “Evil Dead: The Musical” has returned to Sutter Street Theatre. Opening Friday, the gory tale of a boy meeting a girl, losing his hand and fighting hordes of undead is like “a second chance” or the cast and crew of the show, according to director Michael Coleman. Out of 11 actors, only two couldn’t return for this year’s show. The group of actors performed the cult favorite last season as “an experiment,” according to Sutter Street Theatre’s Mike Jimena and Connie Mockenhaupt. The successful run last year brought sold-out shows with more than 600 people seeing “Evil Dead.” “Every year will be, ‘How can we make it better?’” Jimena said. “With ‘Evil Dead,’ it allows us to reach out to a different demographic.” On a recent rehearsal night, the cast went through the numbers, reciting lines and “blocking” out scenes. Elio Guiterrez, playing the lead character Ash, dances with Katherine Folsom, who plays love interest Linda. “Do I go this way?” he asks as he twirls her around. “Yes,” Coleman shouts, looking up from his notes. “And we open Oct. 12.” With less than a week to go, the cast was furiously recalling lines and staging from the previous year. “I am thrilled to bring the show back and rework some stuff,” Coleman told the Telegraph. “It kind of gives the cast and me a ‘second chance.’” Building up to the show, Coleman said they’ll be mixing five to six gallons of blood for each performance, both store bought and homemade. “The recipe involves black cherry drink mix and corn starch,” he said. “It’s an old family recipe without and syrups or sugars. It does wash out of clothing for the most part.” Much of it washed out of the “bloody” clothing for cast members after last year’s performances. “In fact, last year’s ‘bloody’ costumes will have to be re-bloodied,” Coleman said. “Every actors has at least two, some three (costumes). A few of them have multiple copies of clean costumes for two-show days, in case they get dirty. Ash has five shirts and two pairs of pants, Ed has three shirts, Linda has two pair of good pink pants and one ‘bloody.’” Dennis Curry said he’s itching to resurrect the show and his character. “We’ve been looking forward to bringing it back since last year, when they said they wanted to do it again,” Curry said. “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had on stage without getting arrested.” For Folsom, her favorite part is when she loses her head. “My head gets chopped off,” she laughs. For chainsaw- and shotgun-wielding Guiterrez, his favorite part is when he grapples with internal issues. “I love when I fight with myself,” he said from the stage, following a long night of rehearsals. “There is a segment when my hand gets possessed and it ends up attacking him. … That’s amusing.” For Brent Dirksen, who plays cocky foul-mouthed friend Scotty, his death scene is his favorite. “When I keep dying and getting back up and my intestines are hanging out,” he laughs. “That’s fun.” Christine Alvarez, who plays Ash’s little sister Cheryl, gets the honor of being the first character turned evil in the show. “My favorite part is when I’m seduced by trees,” she said. “Then, I enjoy tormenting everyone else when I’m a demon.” Amanda Yount, as ditzy Shelly, said she loves all the action. “The blood is my favorite part,” Yount said. Jessica Larrick, a Sutter Street Theatre regular, said she loves her role as the professor’s daughter. “I love the audience reaction and dodging blood in heels,” Larrick said. The physical demands are high. “I’ve gotten the most injuries on this show,” said Yount. Folsom agreed. “It’s very difficult,” she said. “It’s stressful on your voice.” Guiterrez said it’s a rush to perform “Evil Dead.” “I feel amazing after the show,” he said. “I have a great time. It’s incredible how many people know (the show) and come to see it.” Jimena said the show draws from a broad area. “We drew from all over,” he said. Mockenhaupt said the theater undergoes some changes, including the removal of the first three rows of seats to create the splatter zone. They also remove some seats to create room for the musician. “The backdrop has to be sealed so it can be washed,” she said. “You usually don’t have to do that for a backdrop.” They also replaced the curtains on stage with black plastic and wash the stage and auditorium up to four times each night, to mop up all the blood. “The audiences love the show,” Coleman said. “It is a real rock-and-roll rollercoaster.” ----- IN THE KNOW “Evil Dead: The Musical” Audience last year: 600 Props used: 30 Oddest prop: The Necronomicon Most cumbersome: chainsaw Blood used: 5-6 gallons per show Costume pieces: 80 Where: Sutter Street Theatre, 717 Sutter St., Folsom When: 8 p.m. Friday & Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12-28, extra 8 p.m. shows Oct. 25-26, special 11:55 p.m. shows Oct. 20, 25, 26, 27. Note: Reservations recommended Tickets: $23 adults, $21 seniors & SARTA, $18 students (with ID) Info: SutterStreetTheatre.com, (916) 353-1001