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theater

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Palms Tower Room Renovation

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www.klaijuba.com 28 | Desert

Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

whatever fell across the transom. After some fits and starts, he hit paydirt with “Evil Dead The Musical,” which played to sold-out houses in October 2011 and again last January. Yet behind the boffo box office, trouble was brewing. For reasons that remain murky to this day, Michaels — a nom de voyage for Chris Palkow, who places his origins vaguely “in Jersey” in the early 1970s — was given the sack last February. However, Michaels still had a hot property in his back pocket — “Evil Dead” — and he quickly began shopping it, eventually landing, of all places, in Planet Hollywood’s V Theater, where it plays 10 p.m. Fridays and 11:30 p.m. Saturdays. Despite debuting opposite $10 million ultra-megaflop “Surf the Musical” (“their opening sucked the air out of ours,” Michaels says), “Evil Dead” has thrived in its new home while, upstairs, “Surf” was a swift wipeout. Maybe the secret is splatter. By Michaels’ estimate, “Evil Dead” plays to 75 percent of capacity and regularly sells out its “Splatter Zone.” Splatter Zone? This is the front of the house where fans pay a premium to be doused with pink goo – a spectacle that sometimes brings the show to a screeching halt. “Presently we can hold up to 100 people in the Splatter Zone alone,” says Michaels. “At the Onyx, 100 seats was the entire venue capacity.” Although “Evil Dead” audiences at V are split roughly 60/40 between newbies and fans of the cult films — a trilogy directed by Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell — the show is definitely best appreciated by those who have seen and liked the flicks. When protagonist Ash proclaims, “Good? Bad? I’m the guy with the gun,” movie fans go ape while novices draw a blank. “The whole thing is a deliberate exercise in bad taste and over-the-topness, so you can’t say there’s a right or wrong way of doing it,” wrote the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Mike Weatherford, a perceptive chronicler of Michaels’ transformation from local provocateur to Strip celebrity. “The show is written very specifically to be a stand-alone production,” explains “Evil Dead The Musical” author George Reinblatt. “We’ve seen tons of audience members who know nothing about ‘Evil Dead’ — and they love it. That being said, if you are a fan of the movies, you’ll hear the lines you want to hear and once in a while you’ll catch a little something that maybe not everyone gets. But when done correctly, these insider moments don’t take away from the production and the show

Desert Companion - November 2012  
Desert Companion - November 2012  

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