Las Positas College Theater Arts is stepping outside the box inside its Black Box Theater as it presents "Evil Dead: The Musical," opening next weekend.
The musical is based on the 1981 cult classic horror film by Sam Raimi, with comedic violence, coarse language and puns, and the tagline, "Not Your Grandma's Musical."
"There is no question that this is a comedy, and I hope audiences will have as much fun seeing the performance as we have had rehearsing it," director Titian Lish said. "Though the show has an R rating, audiences should know that this night of theater is fun, playful and unlike any other performance."
"Evil Dead: The Musical" combines the elements of cult classic films for a crazy and bloody theatrical experience, having fun with the horror genre and in doing so appealing to a wide audience.
The first two rows of the audience are dubbed a "Splatter Zone" -- a section that gets splattered in fake blood.
"I've never had to do a show while being sprayed or covered in fake blood, so that's new," veteran Las Positas actor Kody Forbes said. "It's a crazy comedy that will make you laugh, and you might get a little wet."
The "blood" is a mixture of household cooking ingredients, completely edible and machine washable. Souvenir shirts and ponchos for protection will be available.
"I think there's something hilarious about making musicals out of topics or popular culture that are inherently totally inappropriate for a musical," Lish said. "The cult following that these films have garnered over the years makes this musical particularly funny because its source material is so absurd."
The musical brings together a unique group of performers, many new to the Las Positas stage.
"I heard about Titian and her wonderful reputation, and I also knew that I would have a blast with this comedy that is so different and bizarre compared to other shows I've been in," newcomer Samantha Hixon said.
"Everyone is so amazing to work with and I have so many people, as a freshman, to look up to. The atmosphere is accepting and makes it a way to learn from not only my director but many others along the way," she added.
Jared Sigman, who plays bad boy Ash Williams, talked about the rehearsal process.
"It's been the most demanding but without a doubt the most fun I've had," he said. "I have learned so much, and the entire cast is phenomenal and pushes me to be better every night."
The cast also includes Saige Aronson, Celia Reddoch, Elias Baravskas, Jenna Van Ommeron, Erynn Pascual, Jeff Zavattero Jr., Matthew Bessiere, Jonathan Weiss, Caitlin Acha, Logan Schultz, Jacob Fisher, Katherine Mathers, Alex Radzanowski, Colin Fitzmaurice, Hannah Manucal and Katie Holmes.
The musical has become a cult sensation of its own. The original show played off-Broadway in New York, has broken records in Toronto, won awards in Korea, launched three North American tours, and has mounted more than 500 productions around the globe.
"I love the idea that musical theater can be beautiful, can move the needle of culture, and can evoke thoughtful and complex ideas in our audiences," Lish said. "But I also love ridiculously fun nights of theater, where audiences can turn off the troubles of the day and have a genuinely fun time with their friends at the theater. It's not all high art. Low comedy is delightful, too."
The musical plays at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and at 6 p.m. Sundays, from Nov. 8-17, at the Black Box Theater in the Mertes Center for the Arts at Las Positas College.
Tickets are $10 for students; $20 general admission. Go to LasPositasCollege.edu/Theater; call 424-1127; or purchase at the box office, 3000 Campus Hill Drive in Livermore.