Rubber Chicken Scratchings: 'Evil Dead' musical even evil-er second time around

So Rubber Chicken Theater is reprising "Evil Dead: The Musical" and we open up this weekend. For the second year in a row, I have spent my September and early October evenings directing this "splatstick" musical comedy based on the 1980s horror f...

"Evil Dead: The Musical"
Minden Hultstrom as Annie and Nate St. Germain as Ash in Rubber Chicken Theater's "Evil Dead: The Musical." Submitted photo

So Rubber Chicken Theater is reprising "Evil Dead: The Musical" and we open up this weekend.

For the second year in a row, I have spent my September and early October evenings directing this "splatstick" musical comedy based on the 1980s horror films by Sam Raimi, and I can't wait for local theater-going audiences to experience another Halloween theater season of demons, dismemberment and dance numbers at The Venue at Mohaupt Block.

It has been a pleasure to spend the last six weeks sitting in the audience and smiling as its cast, crew and band once again work their magic and create a wonderfully vibrant and entertaining theater experience for the Twin Ports. Theater is the ultimate collaborative art, which means when other people do good work, you get to share in the glory. Works for me.

Of course, it always helps when the people involved are talented and committed to what you're doing, and I have that in spades with this group. But it also helps when there is a passion for a specific project, and the two folks who brought "Evil Dead: The Musical" to my attention three years ago -- Nathan St. Germain and Minden Hultstrom -- have wanted to do this show for a very long time, and their enthusiasm shines through every night.

Nate and Minden approached me when I was with another theater company awhile back, wanting to do this show. At the time, the artistic committee pooh-poohed the idea of mounting "Evil Dead" because they thought it was too much of a theatrical beast to put on a local stage. The show spans a wide spectrum of musical genres, and there are tons of dance numbers, so you need a large cast that can sing and dance and bring out the spectacle of this unique show.


But the main thing that these committee members of my former theater company were afraid of was the amount of stage blood that this show contains. It's not just a little bit. It's a lot.

And I know when I say "a lot," you picture maybe a bucket or two, right? Maybe you think someone sprays a bit of red juice on a shirt, perhaps spreads it around on their face? Well, no.

"Evil Dead: The Musical" has rivers of stage blood that have to spurt, explode, trickle and gush everywhere; the set walls, the floor, the actors ... they all get sticky and red by the end of this show.

Our "blood guy," the genius Anders Hultstrom (that's what he makes us call him, but he's earned the moniker, so it's cool), figured out the perfect blood mixture last year. It's an easy-to-clean and affordable combination of red powder paint and syrup. (When I'm wearing my Rubber Chicken producer hat, that affordable aspect makes me smile.)

Last Tuesday night, we loaded up the blood packs for the first time this year, and soon the familiar odor of sweet syrup was filling The Venue.

It put me in the mind of pancakes. And demons. But mostly pancakes.

Oh, did I mention that this blood has to make its way out into the audience, too? The "splatter zone" is one of the signature elements of this production. The front three rows are flooded in a very, very large amount of fake blood (or is it?) and our genius Anders figured out a separate blood recipe for the audience that is easy to clean and doesn't contain syrup.

So, even if a bit of it flies out into the regular seating -- where the cowards sit -- it still cleans up easily. Just in case, though, there are "splash guards" available for purchase in the Venue lobby. OK, OK, I'll take off my producer hat now....


Anyway, I'm glad my former theater company never staged "Evil Dead," because that allows Rubber Chicken to make it a signature event every Halloween season. It's our "Nutcracker," only with blood!

I really want to thank Nate and Minden for having the faith in this fledgling theater company to pull this show off last year, and we look forward to our second year of dousing audiences in blood while they laugh, cheer, scream and laugh again at "Evil Dead: The Musical."

Join us.

Brian Matuszak has been difficult and demanding since February of 2008. He is the co-founder of Renegade Comedy Theatre and founder of Rubber Chicken Theater (which can be reached at 213-2780). He is also a lucky guy, because he gets to spend October weekends with Anders and Minden Hultstrom, Nate St. Germain, Erin Blazevic, Ric Stevens, Ashley Matheson, Katie Hawkes, Keith Hursey, Taylor Martin-Romme, April Cary, Nick Nyderek, Cory Coffman, Ian Deterling, Jerry Bacon and Bree Taylor. And you don't.

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