BoCo fans of celebrated horror franchise The Evil Dead rejoice. Timed perfectly to coincide with Halloween and also the television premier of the Ash Vs. The Evil Dead series, Evil Dead: The Musical will be playing at the Longmont Theatre in October. We can tell you from experience that the show is hilarious, but don’t wear your favorite clothes – there’s a lot of blood splatter (especially for the front few rows). We spoke to Lonnie Person (Ash) and Chelsea Winslow (Shelly/Annie) about what we can expect.
Yellow Scene: Were you fans of the movies before you went into this?
Chelsea Winslow: I was – I wasn’t super-familiar with it until two years ago when I first participated in it when they did the Evil Dead production in Denver with the Equinox Theater Company. To be honest with you, I wasn’t a huge fan but I wasn’t unfamiliar either. I really grew to love it through doing the production on the lights crew. This is the first time that I’ve performed in it. The Denver production was about the same size as this one. We sold out almost every production when it happened down there. It was the regional premier, if I’m not mistaken. That was 2013. It wasn’t Halloween, it was like September.
Lonnie Person: I was, and I am. I found it first when I watched Army of Darkness and had no idea it was part of Evil Dead. A friend clued me in and I watched Evil Dead I and II. I love them and have been a fan ever since. I know the musical has been done in a couple of different places here in Colorado but I was always involved in other performances so I was never able to go and attend. My first real viewing of the production was a Youtube video of the original staging back in 2003. I thought it was spectacular.
YS: Longmont seems like an odd location for a gloriously subversive production like this one…
CW: I think it’s great that we’re doing it there because, just because cult musicals always do great. Rocky Horror happens a lot, so to do something different is a great option, to do something that a different type of crowd would want to come to. It’s a great thing to do because you’ve got people who are Rocky Horror fans and people who are Evil Dead fans, and sometimes they cross but a lot of the time it’s a lot different of a crowd for this show.
YS: The TV is about to start so it’s timed perfectly…
CW: It’s really funny. I have DirectTV so I plan on watching it once we’re done with the show. We have rehearsals four days a week at the moment.
LP: Our last two shows are on Halloween, and so people will have to DVR. I encourage them to DVR Ash Vs. The Evil Dead and then come and see Evil Dead: The Musical in Longmont. Then you can have your whole fill of Evil Dead in one night, all night long.
YS: Who do you play, Chelsea?
CW: I am playing two roles. I play Shelly, who is essentially the, for lack of a better word, the slut that gets picked up on the way to the cabin by Ash’s best friend. You see her in act one, and then Annie is the daughter of the professor who owns the cabin that the group sneaks into. She appears right at the end of act one and then all of act two until the end. It’s usually done that way. When I participated in the Denver production, we had two separate actresses playing the roles. But it’s actually really fun. I get to play kind of a ditz, and then totally flip the switch and get to do a completely different character in the second act.
YS: Is it a fun cast to work with?
CW: It’s been great. We’re doing it almost non-traditionally because we have Ash being played by an Asian gentleman, which is the first time I’ve ever seen that. You’re used to a white, brunette, tall Bruce Campbell-esque looking guy.
LP: I think that’s fantastic and it speaks to the Longmont Theatre and particularly Jim Kimbrough tye director, who doesn’t completely base everything off of looks and that’s something that I’ve encountered a lot being an Asian performer. I have the skill set but I didn’t have the look, therefore I didn’t get the part. Obviously I’ll never play Curly in Oklahoma, something like that, a traditionally massive white male role. But it’s been neat – I’ve gotten to play Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd and a couple of other great roles that are traditionally very white. I’ve worked with directors like Jim who have been very good about thinking outside the box. It might be something that some people might need 15 minutes to really get comfortable with the fact that I look nothing like Bruce Campbell, but it is what it is. Hopefully they can get over that and just enjoy it. I want to capture the spirit of Bruce but then add as much of me as I possibly can without completely compromising it and going in a weird direction with it.
YS: What can the newbie expect?
CW: For the newbie that’s never seen the show, a lot of laughs, a lot of blood is getting sprayed around, a lot of campy fun. Everybody needs to walk in there knowing that it’s not going to be a really serious musical and we’re going to be poking fun at a lot of different things.
LP: It’s going to be a whole lot of bloody fun, literally and figuratively. This is going to be a lot like people who never read the Harry Potter books and then saw the movies, or people who never read the Walking Dead comics and watched the TV series. For those who are familiar with the Evil Dead and the musical, they’ll get a kick out of certain similarities, but for someone who hasn’t seen it, I think it’s pretty basic enough for people to follow it, and just have fun and enjoy it.
YS: Do you have a favorite song?
CW: Honestly, my song is probably my favorite. It’s called “All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons.” It’s a long title, but that’s the full name. It’s a 1960s doo-wop female power-house kind of number. I get to do the “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want to” mopey thing. It’s a lot of fun.
LP: Probably “What the F*** Was That” because it’s not a song that you would typically hear in musical theater. The first time I heard it, I had to pause the song because I was laughing so much. It comes out of nowhere. Getting to do it, and getting to freely and happily say the F-word on stage is something that very performer has dreamed of. I’m living the dream.
Evil Dead: The Musical plays at the Longmont Theatre on October 23, 24, 30 and 31 at 7 p.m., and on October 24 and 31 at 11 p.m. (costume contest before the later shows); 413 Main St., Longmont; 303-772-5200; Go to longmonttheatre.org for more info.