Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Taking Flight Theatre Company Evil Dead: The Musical

By • Jun 3rd, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Evil Dead: The Musical
Taking Flight Theatre Company
Waddell Theater, Sterling, VA
Through June 13
$18/$12 Seniors or Students
2:00, with one intermission
Reviewed May 30, 2010

It’s an old tale. You’ve probably heard it a hundred times, but Taking Flight Theatre Company took the cult hit Evil Dead: The Musical, and made it fresh and enjoyable.

Evil Dead: The Musical is about five college students who steal away into an abandoned cabin in the woods during spring break. They soon discover a shotgun, The Book of the Dead, and a recording of demon-summoning words. Soon enough, each of them become Candarian Demons, and eventually, all turn against Ash, the story’s protagonist.

As Ash, Jesse Baskin was to die for! His vocals were on point and his comedic timing was excellent. “Housewares Employee,” a duet with Katie Pond as Linda, was hilarious and showed Baskin’s talents as the romantic lead. Susanna Todd as Ash’s demonetized sister Cheryl was a blast. She had such a powerful belt and showed so much comfort with her character. She and Baskin were very believable as brother and sister.

Glen Bartram as “Good Old Reliable Jake” had amazing vocals and was incredibly funny. Ra’Shawn Durell’s duet with Baskin (What The F*** Was That?) was by far one of my favorite numbers, coming second to “Do The Necronomicon,” which was skillfully choreographed by Kelly M. Sharon, and brilliantly performed by the Candarian Demons.

A cast is only as strong as their weakest link, but quite frankly, there were no weak links in this production. Every single member of the ensemble cast was strong and incredibly talented.

Every aspect of this production was superb, especially properties on the technical side. The set, designed by Kevin King, was simply marvelous, and when combined with Jeff Bender’s special effects, it was flawless. Everything moved! Absolutely everything. It was fun seeing books and the moose head, designed by Elisabeth Reeves, jump around as though they were really possessed. Christine Spata’s makeup design also demands applause. Spata did an amazing job designing each of the Demons. They all looked amazingly sinister, most especially Cheryl.

Taking Flight Theatre Company’s Evil Dead: The Musical has been one of the most fun filled experiences I’ve had as a theater audience member. I literally had a smile on my face from beginning to end, and then some. The show will run again on June 4, 5, 11, and 12 at 8PM, and on June 6 at 7PM. It would be foolish to miss out on this experience. Go ahead and “Join Us,” become a Deadite.

Director’s Notes

“How can this be real?” I echoed Ash’s sentiments when Taking Flight Theatre Company accepted my proposal to stage Evil Dead: The Musical. I remember being a young boy and watching the original film and being terrified, and then laughing until it hurt as a teenager when the trilogy ended with Army of Darkness. For many years, these movies and the characters have been near and dear to my heart and, to this day, I continue a traditional Halloween viewing of all three.

When I first heard of the musical being released Off-Broadway in 2006, I’ll admit I was one skeptical Deadite. How could they possibly transfer the essence of Evil dead to the stage and in musical format? Quite brilliantly. The musical, though it takes liberties of lines and character, captures everything that the fans love about the movies. The dialogue is sharp and witty. The plot is a tad inconsistent. The music is catchy and memorable and, of course, the show has copious amounts of blood. What I found interesting is, like the films, the musical harkens to comedy very similar to the Three Stooges where slapstick, schadenfreude, and the ability to take yourself very seriously in the delivery of those moments is much funnier than playing for the laugh. It is this faithful transference, and the little jabs, pokes, and homages to the films, that have created a cult fan base of almost Rocky Horror Show proportions for this musical. Yet it is still accessible to those who hear Necronomicon and don’t immediately think “book of the dead.”

This has been an incredibly journey, full of discovery, that I’ve had the pleasure to make with a very talented staff, cast and crew. Some people knew nothing about the movies or show before coming on and others were as diehard fans as myself but all have come together for this purpose and it is the hard work and dedication of many that has fone into what you are about to see.

To those who are here for a different kind of night at the theater, those who are curious, and the most hardcore Deadites, “it’s time” to grab your “boomstick,” “come get some,” and be glad you decided to “join us!” You’re in for a hell of a ride!

-Phillip M. Archey, Director

Photo Gallery

Photos provided by Taking Flight Theatre Company.


  • Ash: Jesse Baskin
  • Linda: Katie Pond
  • Cheryl: Susanna Todd
  • Scotty: Ra’Shawn Durell
  • Shelly: Gretchen Wright
  • Annie: Laura Fontaine
  • Ed: Sean Cafferky
  • Jake: Glen Bartram
  • Moose/Professor Knowby: Stephen T. Wheeler
  • Evil Tree: Will Olivier


  • Guitar: Tommy Beekman
  • Keyboards: Michael Dombrow
  • Drums: Jim Hofmann

Production Staff

  • Producer: Theresa Nichols Bender
  • Director: Phillip M. Archey
  • Assistant Director: Wayne Jacques
  • Music Direction: Michael Dombrow
  • Choreography: Kelly M. Sharon
  • Co-Stage Managers: Colleen Stock, Liz Stock
  • Technical Director: Rick Wilson
  • Set Design: Kevin King
  • Master Carpenter: Earl Boaman
  • Assisted by: Kevin King, Rick Wilson, Jesse Bogue, Nick Durso, Hannah Rohlfs, Jill Tunick
  • Set Painting Design: Kevin King
  • Assisted by: Leah Aspell, Theresa Bender, Adam Carpenter, Barbra Carpenter, Hannah Rohlfs, Michael Schaaff, Christine Spata, Liz Stock
  • Set Dressing: Shannon Khatcheressian
  • Lighting Design: Ian Claar
  • Light Board Operator: Ashley Swiger
  • Sound Design: Ben Allen
  • Sound Board Operators: Beth Atkins, Sue Klein
  • Mic Mixing: Liz Stock
  • Special Effects: Jeff Bender
  • Assisted by: Kevin Walker, Barbra Carpenter
  • Costume Design/Construction: Jacquin Pierce Allen
  • Assisted by: Lil Colquitt
  • Properties: Trevor Johnston
  • Moose Head Construction: Elisabeth Reeves
  • Hair and Makeup Design: Christine Spata
  • Publicity: Natale Safley, Michael Schaaff
  • Box Office/House Management: Barbra Carpenter
  • Assisted by: Adam Carpenter, Leah Aspell, Beth Atkins, Deb Bartram, Kat Brais, Ken Clayton, Kathy Dunlap, Mary Ann Hall, Ryan Housley, Bill Hoyt, Michael McAdoo, Scott Olson, Renee Rabben, Bob Rosenberg, Jessie Roberts, Jerri Wiseman, Kyra Wiseman
  • Desk Captain: Michael Schaaff
  • Fight Captain: Sean Cafferky
  • Run Crew: Trevor Johnston, Will Olivier
  • Poster Design: Nick Arey
  • Photography: Trevor Johnston, Shannon Khatcheressian
  • Playbill Design: Matthew Randall
  • Audition Management: Mike Bender, Theresa Bender, Michael Schaaff, Liz Stock

Disclaimer: Taking Flight Theatre Company provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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3 Responses »

  1. Thanks so much for coming to see the show, Jose! And for being part of our unbelieveable opening weekend!! This is probably the most fun I’ve *ever* had on stage–can’t wait to get our freak on again tomorrow 🙂

  2. Ditto here! This show has been a dream come true for so many of us. Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. It was so good and so much fun that I think I’m going to see it again this weekend…..if tickets are still available. The show was very tight without looking over-rehearsed. Special effects were killer (pardon the expression) and the cast was just superb! Two thumbs up from this harsh critic! And a big shout out to Susanna Todd, who was completely out of the box with her character and delivery. It has been a joy watching her grow into the brilliant, versatile actress she has become.