Blood, humor, singing and dancing are some of the characteristics that make up the Onyx Theatre's latest production, "Evil Dead: The Musical."
However, the most vital aspect of the musical, according to director Sirc Michaels, is having a good time.
"It's a celebration of fun," Michaels said. "It's a fun play on what the films are. It's perfect, because for fans of the film, it pays homage but twists it and makes it acceptable to people who haven't seen the movies."
The production is based on the movies "Evil Dead," "Evil Dead 2" and "Army of Darkness." The show runs at 8 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 5 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 30. A special and final Halloween performance is planned at 8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Michaels said most of the musical falls directly in line with the films.
For example, the character Ash uses the same chain saw in the musical as the one in the movies . The lines in the musical are practically verbatim from the movies, Michaels says, except they are delivered with more humor.
In addition to singing and dancing zombies, the show features a "splatter zone," which is designated for the first two rows of the 96-seat theater. The audience members in this area receive a splatter zone T-shirt and their share of blood from the actors for $30 per ticket.
Michaels said the overplay of blood is the largest part of the interaction factor he tries to achieve with the audience.
"It's a liquid 4-D experience," Michaels said. "You not only get to see what (the actors are) suffering, you get to feel what they're suffering. I want the audience to be immersed in the production."
Ben Stobber, who plays the lead role of Ash, is thrilled to be a part of the production's Las Vegas premiere. Ash is Stobber's first leading role in a production, and he said the opportunity is a childhood dream come true.
"I grew up watching the movies, and I'm really excited to give fans and newcomers a really great show," Stobber said. "The movies are so cheesy, and I want to bring that level of cheese to the audience with my own little spin on it."
With expectations high for the Las Vegas premiere, Michaels is adding more elements to encourage audience involvement. Plans for a redecorated "Evil Dead"-themed lobby and photo opportunities with some of the cast members will be featured. A silent auction for "Evil Dead" memorabilia is set to take place each night, with the winners announced during the special Halloween show, which also includes a costume contest.
"I want the audience to feel like they're being pulled into that world (of 'Evil Dead')," Michaels said. "We're not doing a production in podunk America. This is Vegas, so we've amped it up a bit."
The cast will perform several preview shows throughout the valley, including one set for 8 p.m. today at Freakling Brothers Horror Shows, 4523 Rometta Ave. The previews will give spectators a chance to watch select 15-minute snippets from "Evil Dead: The Musical" and purchase tickets to upcoming shows. Other previews include one planned at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Zombie Precinct, 621 E. Fremont St., another at Freakling Brothers at 8 p.m. Oct. 26 and one at 9 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Asylum, 675 W. Craig Road.
Michaels knows the production must live up to the hype and believes it will exceed people's expectations.
"I believe this is a top-notch show that could compete with anything people could see in town," Michaels said. "We've taken this production in a different direction, and I hope people come out and expect excitement."
Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter Lisa Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 383-0492.