Curtains for Rubber Chicken’s ‘Evil Dead’: Director says this year’s performance will be the last

Ric Stevens (from left) is Jake, Nathan Payne is Ash, and Anna Vogt is Annie in the Rubber Chicken Theater production of “Evil Dead: The Musical” at the Underground. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Ric Stevens (from left) is Jake, Nathan Payne is Ash, and Anna Vogt is Annie in the Rubber Chicken Theater production of “Evil Dead: The Musical” at the Underground. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

In the early 1980s, a low-budget horror flick grossed out the right people to become a cult film worthy of a nod from the genre’s biggies in the biz.

Stephen King once said of “The Evil Dead”: “(It’s) the most ferociously original horror movie I’ve ever seen.”

In recent years, a local theater company has staged semi-annual productions of the musical adaptation with similar results — it’s become a sort of cult favorite for gore-adoring theater-goers.

“We have people come from really far away and in huge groups,” said Nathan Payne, who has been involved since before the first show in 2009 and is directing the musical for the first time this year. “A lot of people make their own shirts and come in huge groups.

“It has a massive cult following.”

But fans beware: This is the last year the show will play, Payne said.

“I’m so happy with how this has gone,” he said. “I want to end it on a high.”

And this year, he insists, is the highest of high notes.

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Get Into Halloween with ‘Evil Dead’

Canadian Demons dance during the musical number “Do the Necronomicon” in the Rubber Chicken Theater production of “Evil Dead The Musical” at the Underground. (Clint Austin  caustin

Based on the popular Evil Dead film series, five college students spend the weekend in an abandoned cabin in the woods. During what was supposed to be a weekend filled with fun, booze and shenanigans, they unleash a supernatural evil spirit that turns each and every one of our hero’s (Ash) friends into demons. There is no way out of the woods because the bridge that brought them to the cabin has collapsed. In this comedic version of 1980s horror film series, our main characters turned demons attack and try to kill each other while they sing and dance. And as seen in the movies, Ash is forced to attach a chainsaw where his evil hand used to be, and arm himself with a gun to slay his friends one by one. Imagine what the “Splatter Zone” will look like! All in all, Evil Dead has proven to be a hysterical musical mayhem that is fit for Halloween season!

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Best Bets: ‘Take it with You: Live Radio Theatre’

“Take it With You” is live radio theater that plays monthly at The Underground. Photo courtesy of Blake Thomas.

“Take it With You” is live radio theater that plays monthly at The Underground. Photo courtesy of Blake Thomas.

A Wisconsin-based country-folk band that was named one of Wisconsin’s 10 Bands to Watch by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel will be the musical guest for a Halloween-ish episode of the local live radio theater show “Take it With You.”

Count This Penny has appeared on “A Prairie Home Companion,” and The Onion’s A.V. Club said of the band: “It’s music steeped in old American traditions, but the concise form the songs adhere to and pop structures the band employs make the songs modern and streamlined enough to thrive far from the mountains where their inspiration first saw the light of day.”

“Take it with You,” starring two handfuls of biggies in the local theater biz, is set in a fictitious bar where Blake the Singing Bartender interacts with the regulars, the staff and those who pop through the front door.

The show has been likened to a mix of “Cheers” and “Austin City Limits.”

This episode promises to include Halloween elements.

Other guests include: Dawn Magnuson, Christine Stocke and Jill Routh, the owners of Zstudio. Mayor Don Ness continues to be a recurring character (except for the time Laura Ness subbed in).

GO SEE IT

What: “Take it with You: Live Radio Theatre”
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (October 28)
Where: The Underground, 506 W. Michigan St. (Follow the yellow line on the sidewalk towards the east side of the building. There will be signs, too.)
Tickets: $10 at the door, preorder at takeitwithyou.org, or purchase tickets through duluthplayhouse.org.

Review: ‘Evil Dead’ splatters audience with super-funny production

Nathan Payne plays Ash in the Rubber Chicken Theater production of “Evil Dead: The Musical” at the Underground in Duluth. Photo by Clint Austin | caustin@duluthnews.com)

Nathan Payne plays Ash in the Rubber Chicken Theater production of “Evil Dead: The Musical” at the Underground in Duluth. Photo by Clint Austin | caustin@duluthnews.com)

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who march bravely across a floor covered in plastic wrap in a pair of surgical-caliber disposable shoe covers for a seat in the Splatter Zone, and those who mentally compute the squirt power of a common diner-style ketchup bottle and then move to the farthest reaches of the theater, far, far from the Splatter Zone.

The former were rewarded with a face full of intestines and an exaggerated amount of blood-like substance during Rubber Chicken Theater’s high-camp, super-funny, sing-along production of “Evil Dead: The Musical” Thursday at The Underground.

Did they, the few, the proud, the stained regret their front-row status?

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Tales from the Booth with Stefan Kahlstorf

A lot of work goes into each and every production done at the Playhouse. It may sound cliche, but many hours of blood, sweat and tears really do go into each show. It’s a heckuva lot of work, but ask any of the actors on stage or crew members running things behind-the-scenes, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of putting on a production for hundreds (or thousands!) of people.

The Children’s Theatre season opener of ‘Sideways Stories of Wayside School‘ has a lots of cool technical elements to see and hear. If you haven’t already seen the show (which you should. Get your tickets here.) From eerie sound effects to laptop-exploding projections (again, you’ll have to come see the show to find out what we mean!), it’s all in thanks to our behind-the-scene helpers, like Stefan Kahlstorf.

Meet Stefan, and learn what it’s like being a part of the Playhouse.

Stefan Kahlstorf

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Audition Announcement: Willy Wonka, Jr. and Shrek: The Musical!

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Auditions are set for October 20 – 21 for the Children’s Theatre productions of Willy Wonka, Jr., and Shrek: The Musical! at the Playhouse Conservatory.

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Are You Ready For “Sideways Stories of Wayside School?”

30 stories, 30 students, 30 floors…What could possibly go wrong?

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Sideways Stories of Wayisde School’ is based on the 3-book series by Louis Sachar. The Children’s Theatre presents one of these books, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, adapted by John Olive. What makes this school worth telling about? Wayside School was supposed to be 30 classrooms, built one next to the other, but instead the classrooms were built one on top of the other.

What else? The characters range from crazy Mrs. Gorf, who turns her students into apples if they answer incorrectly, to Miss Zarves, who is a teacher on the 19th floor (but there’s not a 19th floor, so technically, there is no Miss Zarves!) Anything is possible in Sideways Stories from Wayside School.

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