Las Vegas is chocked full of multi-million dollar spectacles like Cirque Du Soliel and Le Reve. Any night of the week, you can drive up and down the strip, choosing from hundreds of magic acts, comedy headliners, celebrity impersonators and half-naked burlesque extravaganzas. Yet somehow, Evil Dead The Musical, the redheaded step-child of Las Vegas entertainment, thrives amongst its over-produced competition.
For Sirc Michaels, the director and producer of Evil Dead The Musical in Las Vegas, this type of show came like second nature to him. You see, Sirc created and produced over 50 live versions of the Rocky Horror Picture Show around the country for nearly 20 years. If you’ve ever seen a live version of Rocky, you know that it’s far from a passive experience. Audience members sing-a-long with their favorite songs and dress up in corsets, garters and lacy underwear. It’s a campy event where society’s misfits find common threads with each other both on stage and in the crowd.
On a visit to New York City, Sirc took the time to watch one of the first versions of Evil Dead The Musical in a small off-broadway theater. While he loved the script and the ties to the Evil Dead movies, he felt that the production was all wrong. The show took itself too seriously and needed to feel more organic. He felt that he could do the show justice and create a version that was more in the style of Rocky Horror Picture Show – campy, interactive and different every time.
With his new vision in mind, Sirc acquired the rights to Evil Dead The Musical and staged it at a smaller local Las Vegas theater, far from the lights of Las Vegas Boulevard. It was a modest success, but most importantly, it got the attention of one of the writers of Evil Dead The Musical who proclaimed it was the best version of the show he had ever seen. That writer helped shop the show around to various hotels on the Vegas Strip and a few months later? They got a deal.
Evil Dead The Musical has now been performing in Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino’s V Theater for well over a year. In a town where highly polished multi-million dollar spectacles are the only shows that seem to last beyond six months, this show has found a unique and loyal following.
Just like Shamu has a splash zone for his shows, Evil Dead has a splatter zone. The first several rows from the stage are designated as such and audience members in that section will be given a t-shirt that guaranteed will be covered in delicious fake blood by the end of the first act. Would you like to wear a poncho? No dice. If you aren’t prepared to look like Steven King’s Carrie, then move to another section. Even those seated just behind the splatter zone, be warned, you may not get a good soaking, but there is a good chance you will get the residual spattering from time to time – so dress accordingly.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, this isn’t exactly a passive event. There is no fourth wall. Audience members are not only allowed to shout out suggestions and remarks to the cast on stage, it’s downright encouraged. This makes the show truly organic and completely different every time you see it. The cast doesn’t want to do the same show every single time – audience participation is what makes it fresh and fun for them too.
The cast is a tight-knit family that promotes Evil Dead The Musical all over the west coast through charity events, public appearances and conventions. They were recently asked to do a 30-minute family friendly version of the show for Comic Con. While anyone, including children, is allowed into the Vegas version of Evil Dead, it does have cursing and did I mention gallons of fake blood? Despite being censored (and making fun of that fact throughout), they were a smash at the Con and were voted best performance and best panel.
Evil Dead The Musical also does special-themed nights like a Star Wars show and coming very soon… a Halloween show! Audience members are encouraged to come in their Halloween’s finest and witness a unique version of this already insane show on the Las Vegas Strip.