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'Evil Dead: The Musical' Opens This Week In Pensacola

So here’s the story, five college students spend the weekend in an abandoned cabin in the woods and accidentally unleash an evil force that turns them all into demons. Not ordinarily the stuff of musical comedies. But that’s the premise behind the show Evil Dead – The Musical, and it's coming to the Vinyl Music Hall in Pensacola for a total of five performances this Thursday through Sunday, including a newly added show Saturday at Midnight.

"Evil Dead: The Musical has existed for about 15 years now. It started in Toronto in a bar, kind of as a joke. And the joke got away from them" said Chris Wilkes, the talent buyer at Vinyl Music Hall, and the co-producer/co-director of the show. He says that the show has been produced internationally including long runs off-Broadway and on the Las Vegas Strip. "It's something I've wanted to do since I first heard about it, because my background, before I got into promoting rock shows and whatnot is actually in theater. I'm a horror movie fan, 'Evil Dead' is my favorite franchise. So it melded two things that I really, really love.

Enter Nicole Dickson, the founder of IMPROVable Cause and Director of Improbable Cause Mystery Theatre. "The exact words he said (were) 'I want to do Evil Dead: The Musical but I will only do it if you do it with me'. And I said 'OK!'" Dickson is also co-producing and co-directing the show. "I love the idea of horror meets camp. And I think we're going to do some really spectacular stuff with it."

The biggest obstacle for the production was money. To that end, the production team initiated a successful Kickstarter campaign that more than doubled the original goal of 5 thousand dollars. The extra money they raised allowed the producers to bring in some special guests from the original Evil Dead movie. "Chris has arranged it so we are bringing the ladies of the Evil Dead to Pensacola," said Dickson. These are the three female stars of the original movie.

The show was originally set to run for three nights, but ticket demand allowed the extra performances to be added. There are still limited tickets available for the Sunday evening performance, and tickets for the newly added Saturday Midnight performance have just gone on sale this week.

One more thing. If you’ve seen this show before produced by community theaters or a high school, you may be in for a surprise. "The high school version is only 45 minutes long because it has to cut so much out of the show," said Wilkes.

Dickson agrees, saying "We are trying to make this production truly a horror production. So there are going to be elements that are really scary, which is why it's for adults. There will also be some funny bits, too."

And to bring that point home, people sitting in the first four rows at the show will be given ponchos to wear because they will be in — and I swear they say this is true — the "splatter zone."

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.