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Groovy: This classic horror series is now a musical horror-comedy in Twin Falls

Posted at 7:25 PM, Oct 16, 2023

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The Magic Valley is home to a vibrant performing arts and community theater scene.

Any month of the year you are likely to find several offerings for on-stage entertainment, from junior high and high school productions to community shows across the valley, from Oakley ... to Rupert … to Jerome and beyond.

Although Halloween is still more than two weeks away, spooky season is in full swing here at the Orpheum Theater in Twin Falls. Most of the shows that you’ll see on this stage have a broad appeal for all ages, but for a few weeks around Halloween, they take a bit of a sinister turn.

The show Evil Dead: the Musical, opened on Friday the 13 at the Orpheum Theatre, and a second weekend of shows is still ahead.

The original Evil Dead, filmed in 1981, and its 1987 follow-up, Evil Dead 2 along with a third film Army of Darkness, are revered as cult classics of the horror genre,

The musical was written in 2003 and paid homage to these classic staples of b-movie horror, complete with an original songbook of hilarious and borderline inappropriate songs.

The curtain opens on a group of teenagers driving out to an abandoned cabin in the woods. Unfortunately for the characters (but fortunate for the audience), their little weekend getaway becomes complicated when they accidentally awaken some ancient demons who are pretty intent on killing them.

You know, pretty standard horror movie stuff.

The films have held their place in the culture thanks to a b-movie quality that infuses plenty of camp and humor into the gore of the horror genre,

The musical picks up this zany, comical absurdity and runs with it.

Savannah Damian describes the show as campy, outrageous, and a bit ridiculous

“As long as you’re not going to get offended, it’s for anybody,” Damian told Idaho News 6.

And while the shows you can normally see at the Orpheum tend to be family-friendly – they sold out several weeks of the little mermaid – Damian said she doesn't think the gore or naughty language should drive too many people off.

“I mean, it really is for anybody above children’s age," Damian said. “For teenagers, I honestly feel like it's appropriate. I think they’ve all heard any cuss words.”

Kenny Sparks is a long-time fan of the Evil Dead movies. He first watched them on cable when he was in high school. Now, as an actor who frequently appears in a wide range of roles, Kenny is playing the hero of the series, Ash – a cultural icon.

“The show itself is incredibly over-the-top, and that is how I like to act when I’m on stage,” Sparks told Idaho News 6. “No matter how ridiculous, what you’re trying to read actually is, you’ve just got to sell it in a way that’s going to make them come away thinking ‘that’s genius writing.’"

And though he said he has other roles he thought made a bigger impact on an audience, the riotous and over-the-top musical is rewarding as a fan.

“This all the way around is the most fun I’ve ever had on stage, Is playing Ash. " Sparks said. "Personally, the most fun I’ve ever had.”

The show first ran at the Orpheum in 2021, so this is a kind of reunion show. Before that, there hadn’t been much in the way of spooky celebrations on the Orpheum stage.

But in a town where a good percentage of people get out the skeletons and zombie yard displays the day after Labor Day, clearly there is demand for Halloween entertainment.

Director Dale Laughlin said that prior to the initial 2021 production, he had been wanting to bring this show to Twin Falls for a long time.”

“I’ve seen the show a couple of times in different places and it's always hilarious and it's always fun, " Laughlin told Idaho News 6. "It's always been a musical that I really wanted to do because it's so outlandish and so fun.”

Just as theater events in days gone by had an interactive gimmick, this production of Evil Dead the Musical has an interactive element.

The first four rows in the Orpheum Theatre have been designated as *the splatter zone. If you are in the splatter zone, expect to be drenched in (fake) blood before the show’s second half.

If you plan on purchasing tickets, be aware that the first four rows are splatter zones. It should be marked on the website, and those are the seats that are first to go.

“Our splatter zone is sold out for Friday and Saturday,” Laughlin said, “So, everyone wants to get a little bloody.”

Find out more information, as well as tickets and showtimes for Evil Dead: The Musical at the Orpheum Theatre’s website.