Halloween 2014: Re-Animator The Musical on stage

Location: The Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90027

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Description: Herbert West - Re-Animator returns in this revival of the stage musical, based on the 1985 cult movie about a precocious college student who develops a reagent that revives the dead. Stuard Gordon (who helmed the film) will direct. Gordon, screenwriter Dennis Paoli, and William J. NOrris wrote the book; music and lyrics are by Mark Nutter (including some new songs for this run).

Previews are on October 10-12. The official opening is on Friday, October 17, after which RE-ANIMATOR: THE MUSICAL will run Fridays through Sundays at 8pm until November 2 November 28.

Tickets are $25 ($20 for preview nights). Call 1-800-595-4849 for reservations.

Read the press release below:

Re-Animator™ the Musical has been re-animated, with new songs and new performers, just in time for Halloween.

Re-Animator™ the Musical 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 in his quest for fresh subjects. Graham Skipper, who won a Best New Performer Award at the New York Musical Theater Festival for his crowd-pleasing turn, returns as the demented young genius. And operatic Jesse Merlin is back as Dr. Carl Hill, who loses his head for Meg, the dean’s beautiful daughter, 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.

Scene from Re-Animator The Musical with Graham Skipper (left), Jesse Merlin (right),
plus a headless Brian Gillespie (back). Photo by Thomas Hargis.

Also returning from the original cast are (in alphabetical order) Cynthia Carle, Brian Gillespie, Marlon Grace, and Liesel Hanson, playing an assortment of doctors, nurses, and rampaging zombies.

New to the cast and Los Angeles are Darren Ritchie (veteran of five Broadway shows, including Dracula and Little Shop of Horrors) as Dan Cain, the handsome young medical student (and West’s hapless roommate), in love with the dean’s beautiful daughter, now played by vivacious newcomer Jessica Howell (recently on Showtime’s Masters of Sex). And an>Ken Hudson Campbell, familiar to many for saving the world with Bruce Willis in Armageddon, plays the doomed Dean of the medical school, whom West transforms into a mindless zombie.

Stuart Gordon, the director and co-writer of H.P. Lovecraft’s Re-Animator, the cult film on which the musical is based, has joined h is fearless producing partner Dean Schramm to prove that anything that can be done in a movie can be a hundred times more astonishing live on stage. Gordon 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, and produced and directed the world premiere of David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago. Gordon recently co-created and directed the long-running and critically acclaimed Nevermore, with Re-Animator film star Jeffrey Combs as Edgar Allan Poe, that is now touring the country.

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 h is work on 3rd Rock From the Sun and Saturday Night Live. His CD, Twisted Songs for Twisted Sophisticates, has been banned from the airwaves.

Special effects are being done by the same guys who did them for the Re-Animator movie: Tony Doublin, John Naulin, and John Beuchler. They all won LA Critics’ and LA Weekly Awards for their mind-boggling illusions. And the blood will flow so freely that the first row will be once again designated as a “splash zone,” so bring your raincoats.

Laura Fine Hawkes, who designed the almost as bloody Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Taper, will provide the creepy sets, Joe Kucharski the moldering costumes, and Jeff Ravitz the cadaverous lighting. Stage manager Michael Lemek will be the master of the mayhem.

Re-Animator™ the Musical was developed and premiered at the Steve Allen Theater under the artistic direction of Amit Itelman, who also founded Trepany House.