This year just got a whole lot more fun... Stuart Gordon's stage musical version of his horror classic Re-Animator (which Gordon mentioned when I interviewed him a few months ago) will open on March 5th at LA's Steve Allen Theater. And Gordon's brought back some of the original film's crew to create it. More after the jump.
In addition to Re-Animator screenwriter Dennis Paoli penning the play's book, the musical will also boast special effects by the film's team of Tony Doublin, John Naulin and John Beuchler. The musical will also feature a first-row "splatter zone", similar to that employed by the Evil Dead musical, where audience members can get happily soaked in blood (take THAT, 3D!). Starring as the play's medical school dean (who gets transformed into a zombie) is none other George Wendt (a.k.a. Norm from Cheers, who worked with Gordon on King of the Ants, and whom horror fans may know best from his role in 1986's House). No word yet on whether or not the film's most infamous scene -- one of disembodied cunningulus -- will be fully recreated on stage, but if it is I'd expect a sell-out crowd every night.
Here's the official press release, with all performance dates, for what's making me feel pretty damn good about living in LA...
WHAT: "Re-Animator - The Musical." World Premiere engagement.
WHO: Book by Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon and William J. Norris. Music and lyrics by Mark Nutter. Adapted from the story by H.P. Lovecraft. Based on the film "H.P. Lovecraft's Re-Animator" produced by Brian Yuzna. Musical director: Peter Adams. Choreography by Cynthia Carle. Directed by Stuart Gordon. Produced by Dean Schramm and Stuart Gordon.
WHERE: Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90027. Parking lot behind building.
WHEN: Previews February 18- March 4. Opens Saturday, March 5, 2011, runs through March 27th. Fridays through Sundays at 8 p.m.
ADMISSION: $25. Previews $20. Student preview tickets $10 (with I.D.).
RESERVATIONS: 1-800-595-4TIX (595-4849).
ONLINE TICKETING: www.steveallentheater.com
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In 1985, Stuart Gordon directed his first feature film and created a sensation. It was "Re-Animator," a smashing popular success based on a horror story by H.P. Lovecraft. The film delivered as many laughs as it did screams making it a cult classic among horror fans and winning a Critic's Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Now, Gordon is back with his co-writers Dennis Paoli and William J. Norris and composer/lyricist Mark Nutter to turn "Re-Animator" into a musical for the stage.
"RE-ANIMATOR" tells the story of Herbert West, a brilliant young medical student who has created a glowing green serum that can bring the dead back to life. What should be a medical breakthrough results in hideous monstrosities and ghastly consequences. "I guess he just wasn't fresh enough," is West's constant refrain as his quest for fresh subjects results in the murders of half the faculty of the medical school.
The cast stars George Wendt, best known as the affable Norm from "Cheers" but now playing the Dean of the Medical School who West transforms into a mindless zombie. Chris L. McKenna, the star of Gordon's neo-noir thriller "King of the Ants" is Dan Cain, Herbert's hapless roommate who finds himself drawn into the mayhem. And operatic Jesse Merlin, who played the President of the United States in the long running "The Beastly Bombing" is Dr. Carl Hill who loses his head for Meg, the dean's beautiful daughter (Rachel Avery) only to actually lose it at the hands of Herbert West. But thanks to the glowing re-agent, Dr. Hill is still able to take his curtain call with his head tucked underneath his arm. Rounding out the cast (in alphabetical order) are Mark Beltzman, Cynthia Carle, Brian Gillespie, and Liesel Hanson, and introducing Graham Skipper as Herbert West.
Special effects are being done by the same guys who did them for the 1985 movie: Tony Doublin, John Naulin and John Beuchler. And the blood will flow so freely that the first row will be designated as a "splash zone." Laura Fine Hawkes, who last designed "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" at the Taper, will provide the creepy sets, Joe Kucharski the moldering costumes and Jeff Ravitz the cadaverous lighting. Stage managing the madness is the unflappable Joe Begos.
Needless to say, the show is not for small children.
Mark Nutter is composer and lyricist and his cheerfully disturbing songs have been compared to Tom Lehrer. His previous stage credits include the international hit "The Bicycle Men"; "Christmas Smackdown" (created with the equally demented Cynthia Carle); and "Wild Men." He's also known for his work on "3rd Rock From the Sun," "Saturday Night Live.") His recent CD "Twisted Songs for Twisted Sophisticates" has been banned from the airwaves.
Stuart Gordon directs. Prior to the "Re-Animator" movie, he spent fifteen years as the founder and artistic director of the Organic Theater of Chicago, where he co-created the original production of "Bleacher Bums," produced and directed the world premiere of David Mamet's "Sexual Perversity in Chicago," presented Ray Bradbury's "The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit," and would later direct the feature film adaptation. Gordon has also directed four more films based on Lovecraft (among them "From Beyond" and "Dagon".) Gordon's most recent stage credits include the award-winning "Kabbalah: Scary Jewish Stories" and the long-running and critically acclaimed "Nevermore," with "Re-Animator" film star Jeffrey Combs as Edgar Allan Poe.