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"Evil Dead: The Musical" Returns to Dexter for Second Year

The musical is based on Michigan native Sam Raimi's 1980s cult classic films and opens in Dexter Oct. 19.

The Dexter Community Players (DCP) are back by popular demand with the campy gore fest Evil Dead: The Musical.

The story loosely follows the 1980s films The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II directed by Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell. A group of college kids on spring break sneak into an isolated cabin and accidentally unleash demon zombies when they come across the Necronomicon, an ancient book of the dead. The kids confront ghosts, trees full of evil spirits and household items that come to life.

"This is a fun, campy musical that will keep you laughing," director Jason Smith said.

This year's show reunites two former Dexter High School classmates. Peter Crist, who plays lead Ash Williams, and Corrina Gauss, who plays his love interest Linda, graduated in 2002.

Crist, who is returning to the stage for the first time in 10 years, said it was by shear coincidence to work with Gauss again.

"I didn't know Corrina was in the show until I read for and was cast in the part of Ash," he said. "It's neat to be able to share the stage with someone as talented as Corrina is."

Gauss performed in Evil Dead in 2011 and said she's excited to bring the show back to Dexter.

"This is not your typical wholesome show," Gauss said. "I think its a big draw for people who don't normally like  musicals. It has blood, gore, sex, and pretty much everything that is taboo in regular theater."

The outrageous — and profanely adult — spoof, features a unique "splash zone" with audience members in the first three rows getting up close and personal with cast members.

"Demon killing is a messy business, as the first three rows of the audience will experience. The blood of the innocent often rains down on the splatter zone," Smith said. "Some people will get a little blood and others will get drenched, but everyone comes away laughing."

Smith is reuniting with University of Michigan choreographer Stacey Smith, and musical director Jonathan Sills to bring the show to life. Dave Hettmer, one of the effects technicians that worked on Army of Darkness, the third of the Evil Dead films, is also lending his expertise to the show. Hettmer's custom zombie prosthetics and high-powered "blood cannons" bring unique, interactive flair to the production.

"The great part of this show is that it takes the campy comedy of the movies and runs with it," Crist said.

Smith said directing the show has been a dream years in the making.

"I'm a fan of the Evil Dead films and horror movies in general. Several years ago I came across the soundtrack for the musical and said, 'I have to do this show.' It's a fun, fantastic show," he said.

Evil Dead: The Musical runs at the Copeland Theatre on Friday through Sunday. Splatter Zone seating is limited. Performances will be held at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 7 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $20 for Splatter Zone and $15 general admission. For more information, visit www.dextercommunityplayers.com.

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