Broadway

All posts in the Broadway category

Review: Black Button Eyes’ Evil Dead the Musical

Published February 8, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

Evil Dead Caitlin.jpg

Cheryl Williams is the specter that forever haunts my friend Kirsten. The classic image of that Evil Dead character’s zombiefied face peeking through a crack in the cellar door endlessly chills her. Thus, we have a proud woman of horror being successfully thrilled by another proud woman in horror.

This cycle continues with Black Button Eyes Productions current mounting of Evil Dead the Musical. Enacted by an incredibly talented ensemble of eight, this Midwest event is proudly presided over by actress Caitlin Jackson’s often ecstatic take on Cheryl. Her energy and skill, coincidentally, make this role a true celebration of one of my favorite yearly events, February’s Woman in Horror Month. Jackson’s ability to present multiple shades of one individual in a comedic terror piece proves that the eclecticism and uniqueness of the macabre arts are often most truly presented in a feminine form. Indeed, suffering and the humor needed to overcome certain tragedies are an essential part of her take on this shy, often abused wallflower who finally finds the devilish power within. Cheryl_Possessed_by_the_Demons

Of course, this is a rather heady take on a show that promotes goofy, blood stained shenanigans. Combining plot points from Sam Raimi’s first two Evil Dead films, EDTM finds proud S-Mart employee Ash Williams breaking into a woods strewn cottage with his closest family and friends. The discovery and subsequent reading of a skin stained, rustic book soon finds him surrounded by possessed, tune humming demons. Therefore, even with the help of an accomplished, talkative scholar, Ash may soon find himself dead before dawn!

Nicely, by hiring a diverse ensemble and toning down some of the more obvious frat boy antics of the original material, director Ed Rutherford presents one of the more balanced productions of this beloved and zany show. Jon Beal’s fight choreography presents all sexes in a strong light and the live band, led by Oliver Townsend, gives audience members an immediate, joyful feel for the limb flinging proceedings.

Evil Dead Jordan

But this would all be for naught, perhaps, without the proper take on Ash, a character adored by scare fiends, far and wide. Fortunately, the handsome and charismatic Jordan Dell Harris nails it here. Coming off like Bruce Campbell’s younger doppelganger, Harris sings and dances with charming aplomb. Nicely, he intuitively adds an uncomplicated honesty and heart to Ash’s often over-the-top bravado, succeeding in winning the crowds of people, whom have been rightly flocking to this show, over entirely.

Evil Dead the Musical runs through February 16th at The Pride Arts Center in Chicago. Further information is available at https://www.facebook.com/blackbuttoneyesproductions/.  Tell ‘em Kirsten and Cheryl sent ya!

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Melba Moore on Monsters

Published October 12, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

melba monsters 1

Even Tony winners can be tempted. Just ask the radiant Melba Moore! In The Mandrake Root episode of Monsters, this multi-faceted performer found herself compromised by a sexy plant man and her life – or at least that of her character’s – was never quite the same again.

The plotline here finds Moore, as the demure Angela Lyle, clearing out the remains of her mysterious grandmother’s estate. The discovery of a dusty box leads to the emergence of a mysterious plant. Said vine, due to Lyle’s curious tinkering, naturally grows into something tall, handsome, smooth…and full of bloodlust. 

Melba monsters 3Nicely, as an actress, Moore simply navigates her character’s growth from timid to uncontrollably lustful. There is no grand posing, but you truly believe that she has fallen under her supernatural partner’s spell. Meanwhile, Byron Minns, as the vein strewn reason for Moore’s down fall, makes one understand why she would tumble down this murderous rabbit hole, head first.

Accentuated by the series’ unusual twists and turns, this episode ultimately provides something for both enthusiastic show tune lovers and terror anthology buffs alike.

Melba monsters 2

Moore, meanwhile, is always in full bloom at www.melbamoore.com.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Ariana Grande

Published September 2, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

Ariana Grande Scream Queens 1

She’s endured public tragedy and overt sexism on a national scale. Her Chanel #2 even met a very bloody end on the first season of Ryan Murphy’s short lived Scream Queens.

But the magnificent Ariana Grande, whose dream role just happens to be Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, instinctively knows how to keep rising above. …Or majestically sinking below as this delightfully Alice in Wonderland inspired video for No Tears Left to Cry so artistically proves.

Grande, of course, is always keeping it magical at http://www.arianagrande.com.

Ariana-Grande-Scream-Queens2

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Carol Lawrence

Published February 25, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

carol lawrence summer of fear

Best known for her career defining performance as Maria in the original Broadway production of West Side Story, the exquisite Carol Lawrence also cavorted, gracefully, across television screens on such shows as Murder, She Wrote, Hawaii Five-O and General Hospital.

As other urbane divas before her, Lawrence showed her horror roots by flirting with danger in the 1978 made for TV film Summer of Fear (AKA  Stranger in Our House). Directed by the legendary maestro of terror, Wes Craven, here Lawrence found herself being threatened by the supernaturally enhanced Lee Purcell. Nicely, this beloved cult piece that offered Linda Blair a place to hone her act as a feisty damsel in distress, has recently been given a deluxe Blu-ray release by Music Box Films.

That is reason to celebrate, as Lawrence did in 1965, that some people do understand our needs as horror fans…and that they most certainly “got rhythm”!

www.carollawrence.com

carol lawrence pants

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Lainie Kazan

Published January 21, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Lainie album.jpg

More than blood and gore, horror films survive on their sense of dramatic stakes. Similarly, theater diva Lainie Kazan, who has graced a number of horror themed projects, has as much drama in her voice as the best of them.

 

First coming to prominence as Barbra Striesand’s understudy in the original Broadway run of Funny Girl, Kazan may be better known as a comedienne in projects such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Lust in the Dust. But she’s added sass and vibrancy to Out of the Dark, a late ‘80s slasher featuring a golden cast of stand-bys including Karen Black, Tab Hunter and Geoffrey Lewis, and an episode of Tales From the Crypt that featured other notables such as Bill Paxton and Brad Dourif…who did away with her overbearing office manager character in a very gruesome manner.

Lainie

www.lainiekazan.com

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Barbara McNair

Published September 24, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

Photo of Barbara McNAIR

Cult aficionados know the exquisite Barbara McNair from her association with writer-director Jess Franco. Forever tempting in Venus in Furs, one of Franco’s most fully realized fever dreams, she also sang the theme song to 99 Women, one of his more popular (and sleazy) women in prison epics.

barbara venusBut McNair was a maverick on many levels. She was the first black woman to host her own syndicated variety show. She also co-starred on Broadway and recorded for Motown Records, scoring a minor hit or two with them. Appearing on many of the hottest shows of the ‘60s and ‘70s, she always added elegance and flair, as well.

Here, she gives the dapper, joking Dean Martin a run for his money with their take on the standard, The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, an appropriate title for a horror blog if there ever was one.

McNair, who passed away from throat cancer in 2007, lives on in memory at http://www.barbaramcnair.com.

barbara mcnair

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Julie Wilson on Monsters

Published July 13, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

 

Julie Angry

Sultry cabaret legend (and Broadway performer) Julie Wilson joined the ranks of such acclaimed stage doyennes as Vivian Blaine, Gisele McKenzie and Patricia Morison when she appeared on the 1991 Monsters episode, A Face for Radio. All these grand dames of the dusky boards had horror credits to their names and Wilson was a welcome addition to the club.

Julie MortonHere as the clairvoyant Cassandra, Wilson tries to warn Morton Downey,  Jr.’s obnoxious Ray Bright about impending danger. Of course, Bright treats Cassandra with nothing but skeptism and scorn. Despite this hateful onslaught, Wilson allows her character to maintain the cool regality that made her a wonder of the song set and establishes Cassandra as someone with both compassion and a rigid will. Naturally, Bright’s cynicism eventually relegates him to the clutches of a Dick Smith inspired creature in the episode’s penultimate awakening. Still, the finest moments here, for terror freaks who like the horror mixed with a cup of class, belong to Wilson.

Julie Monster

Interestingly, the smoky Laura Branigan, a singer who possessed a much different style yet equally passionate fan base, also appears here as the woman who helps spell Downey’s doom.  All in all, it’s a twisted music lover’s wonderland.

julie singing

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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