BWW Interview: Dir. Greg Grobis Talks Blood, Camp, & Comedy - Everything That is EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL at the City Theatre!
Evil Dead: The Musical returns for its tenth and final season in Detroit beginning September 26th at the City Theatre. The hilarious and bloody tradition is packed full of talented local cast members - new and returning - all ready to bring the musical version of Sam Raimi's 80's cult classic film to life. Returning cast members include David Schoen as Jake and Garrett Michael Harris as Ash. Evil Dead: The Musical is the old familiar story: boy and friends take a weekend getaway to an abandoned cabin, boy expects to get lucky, boy unleashes ancient evil spirit, friends turn into Candarian Demons, boy fights until dawn to survive. Why don't we let the director, Greg Grobis, tell you more about the "splatter comedy of camp and blood" as he describes the show in our interview with him below...
Broadway World Detroit: Hi Greg! Can you give our readers a brief background of yourself and then your theatre career as an introduction?
I am the Chair of the Department of Performing Arts at University of Detroit Mercy. I have been teaching at Detroit Mercy since 2008 after earning a M.F.A. degree from Wayne State University. Metro Detroit directing credits include: Young Frankenstein, Avenue Q, The Whale, Can't Thread A Moving Needle, This is How It Goes, Cabaret, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I have been in involved (producing, managing, directing or acting) in over 130 productions with theatres throughout Michigan and Metro Detroit since 2008.
I believe the power of the performing arts can transform our individual identity, our communities that we live in and our world that we share. Theatre is entertainment, but can be a source of comfort for many when we include diverse voices to uncover truth in stories where oppression is occurring. Fighting for justice through the arts is what I stand for.
Though fighting off demons and saving the world is not the usual source of material that I produce, musical theatre is a core component of the joy that I find in the arts.
Pitch me Evil Dead: The Musical in the first two sentences that come to your mind... and go! Quick!
Evil Dead: The Musical is a must-see cult-classic musical comedy that will have you rooting for Ash, the demon killing, chainsaw carrying hero that you don't see in your everyday life. Be blown away by the amazing singing and dancing as we bring this final season to the City Theatre in Detroit.
What was your introduction to show?
I first saw a performance of Evil Dead: The Musical a few years back at the City Theatre, but became familiar with Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn the movie as a teenager.
What made you decide want to direct Evil Dead: The Musical?
This musical is a romp of a good time. Though this musical has a lot of elements that most musicals do not have: the blood effects, it is a production with crazy characters, and hero that saves humanity from the demons we encounter. This crazy comedy honors the work and legacy of the amazing films while offering a fresh take. This season we have a lot of fresh faces offering jolting performances by rocking the music and choreography. This project is one of the longest running musicals by local talent that has ever hit the boards in Detroit.
Did you do any special research in preparing to direct the show?
Diving into the Evil Dead movies was a real treat in horror and comedy, but this musical is a slightly different beast. Deadite* followers will rejoice that this year's musical doesn't steer far from previous season's shows except for the fresh cast and the new blood effects that makes it the bloodiest year ever!
*Deadites are what followers are called of the Evil Dead franchise - film and musical.
Do you have a favorite moment in the musical?
How can you not love the splatter zone? What musical drenches the audience with gallons of fake blood to celebrate this epic story? There are many moments in the show that are my favorite, but I would say the new blood effects are my favorite this year. I just can't talk about them, you've got to see this show.
What would you say to someone with no prior knowledge of Evil Dead: The Musical to get them to see the production?
Audiences have raved about this show for over ten years. Do not be afraid of this musical comedy that has audiences screaming in delight and laughing 'till their sides hurt. Though we cut off body parts and numerous people and demons die in this bloodbath, it is done in a hilarious fun way that will have you regretting if you miss this last year of the production. In fact, I suggest you see it early in case you love it so much that you want to see it again around Halloween! Get your tickets before we sell out.
What makes The City Theatre's interpretation of Evil Dead: The Musical unique?
This season features many fresh faces, but keeps two iconic actors in the roles of Jake and Ash. Our production is like no other in town. It offers a unique experience for the audience, especially the loyal fans of the show and movie. We encourage the audience to shout out famous lines and laugh at the ridiculous puns before being covered in blood. The intimate City Theatre is a great place to grab a beer, watch a show, and escape from reality while being entertained. There are seats in the theatre where you won't get covered in blood, but if you want the whole experience, sit in the splatter zone!
Evil Dead: The Musical is a special, well-known show here in a Detroit. Why do you think Detroit theatre-goers find a reason to return year after year and what draws new faces in?
The whole production team is incredibly proud to be a part of the show's legacy in Detroit. We not only celebrate the musical, but the films that inspire it. We have developed an incredible loyal following throughout the years that makes seeing this show an October tradition. The show is stupid fun with great dancing and singing. Why see people dressed up as "Cats" when you can see and experience this cult film classic come to life on stage?
I remember screaming, laughing and being terrified as a teenager when I first saw the film, but I now have a much deeper appreciation for the clever splatter comedy that Evil Dead: The Musical is. I think Michiganders connect with the story and love the thrill of this entertaining comedy that takes place in the woods!
Plus, many of us have had experiences of finding a cabin in the woods where we have heard things that no one can explain. I hope everyone will join us one last time as we take an adventure to our cabin in the woods.
Evil Dead: The Musical runs September 26th to November 2nd at the City Theatre in Detroit. General admission tickets are $38.50 and can be purchased at 313Presents.com, Little Caesars Arena XFINITY box office, and Ticketmaster.com. Groups of 8 or more can receive a discount by calling (313) 471-3099. Please note, the Splatter Zone seats, where the blood really are available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Connect with Evil Dead: The Musical on Facebook at facebook.com/evildeaddetroit. Use these hashtags on your social media when you attend: #EvilDeadDetroit and #EvilDeadTheMusicalDetroit