Musicals

All posts in the Musicals category

Review: Black Button Eyes’ Evil Dead the Musical

Published February 8, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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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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Music to Make Horror Movies By: June Allyson

Published January 13, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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June Allyson was the girl that every G.I. wanted to marry. Her sweet presence provided a happy glow to many 1940’s musical-romances. But ever a true performer, her roles in the ‘70s showed a darker depth. She found the emotional heart of a vengeful bisexual in the Giallo style murder mystery They Only Kill Their Masters, giving the film’s final moments an understated punch. The television film The Curse of the Black Widow provided a bit more of the fun side of horror with Allyson’s Olga getting the sticky end of an old family curse.

But even in supernatural circumstances, this Golden Age icon was always accessible. Anyone with an ounce of humanity and self doubt could definitely relate to Allyson’s sorrowful take on Just Imagine from Good News, one of her most popular projects.

Allyson, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 88, is forever (and rightly) being celebrated at http://www.juneallyson.com/.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Melba Moore

Published September 23, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

Melba read

From the gilded Broadway stages to poverty row, the luminescent Melba Moore has seen it all. Her appearances in Def By Temptation and The Mandrake Root episode of Monsters also prove that she likes to put a little fear into the hearts of her devoted fans.

Further showing her eclectic nature, Moore, known for the fluidity of her rhythm and blues crooning, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Rock Performance for her sexy take on Read My Lips, the title track of her successful 1985 album.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Man Meat

Published August 12, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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The one thing that has always struck me as both unique and heartbreaking about the theatrical performance is its impermanence. Once it is done, it’s done and if you weren’t there, it isn’t even a vaporous speck in your consciousness. Of course occasionally, whether in rehearsal or secretively done during a performance, footage can be recorded for posterity.

Such is the case with Zombie Bathhouse: A Rock Musical. I wrote the book for this show that premiered during the Halloween season in Chicago last fall. Along with the ghastly limb chewing action and romance – (Yes, romance. This was a musical, after all.) – that occurred onstage; some ghostly presence got some recorded evidence of the show. Now we have a super cool music video of one of composer-lyricist Scott Free’s most aggressive numbers, Man Meat.

Nicely, this leaves an imprint for both the work of director Dan Foss and one of the show’s inspirations, Joey Kissling. Foss, who was suffering from kidney and heart disease, died nine days after the close of the show. His imaginativeness helped flesh out the show’s structure and his love for the cast allowed everyone to overcome the emotional hurdles involved with mounting a larger production with ease.  Kissling, meanwhile, provided the spiritual outline for Michael, the show’s conflicted and defiant lead. Kissling succumbed to an aggressive form of cancer in the spring of 2016 and Michael was created in his honor. Now, thanks to the existence of this video, they both have a more permanent and much deserved legacy.

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Dan Foss directing the ZB cast.

For those interested in the production itself, please feel free to visit www.zombiebathhouse.net/.

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

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Music To Make Horror Movies By: Ann Sothern

Published July 29, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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In a career spanning 60 years, the magnetic Ann Sothern mastered everything from the pratfalls of delightful physical comedy to the art of pulling heartstrings, subtly, in the form of classic musicals. As many Pre-Code beauties before her, Sothern also dabbled in the darker avenues offered by such Gothic outings as Lady in a Cage, The Killing Kind and The Manitouann sothern lady in a cage

 

1948’s Words and Music, nicely, gave Sothern a justifiably deserved Technicolor moment as she, feelingly, asked Where’s That Rainbow?

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Fred Astaire

Published June 24, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

fred astaire

The essence of cool suave in an every man’s persona, Fred Astaire lit up dozens of enjoyable musicals for a stretch of over twenty years.

His final role in the film adaptation of Peter Straub’s powerful Ghost Story, meanwhile, saw him adding a nice helping of contemplative sorrow to the spooky proceedings.

Of course, this celluloid ease was put to grand display in The Gay Divorcee, one of the classics that he made with Ginger Rogers, his most notable dancing partner. Cole Porter’s Night and Day may have been sung better by others, but it never looked more grandly elegant.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Dorothy Lamour

Published May 20, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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The glorious Dorothy Lamour was probably best known for the multiple Road pictures that she did with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope (and for the vibrant wraparound dresses that she wore in them) in Hollywood’s golden age. There, and in other brightly filmed projects, she often burst into inventive song. Anthology buffs, though, probably know her best as the doomed Martha Spruce in the Old Chief Wooden’head episode of Creepshow 2. Thankfully, she had a much more colorful (and happier) role in Cecil DeMille’s grandiose The Greatest Show on Earth.

Lamour, who also appeared in the fun  1975 television terror Death at Love House also showed some new generation teens how to sell a production number in 1964’s Pajama Party.

Saying sarong…and until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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