Wednesday, October 19, 2011


The cast of "Evil Dead: The Musical" provides an evening of gory-good fun at the Sharadin Bigler Theatre.


The chainsaw, the blood and the laughs will be flying around the stage of the Sharadin Bigler Theatre beginning Thursday night, as the Ephrata Performing Arts Center presents “Evil Dead: The Musical” as its Halloween offering for the 2011 season.

The musical embraces – and winks at – the classic-horror tropes of those campy, gore-filled, Sam Raimi-directed “Evil Dead” movies of the 1980s.

Five teenagers travel to a cabin in the woods – if you’ve ever seen a slasher film in your life, you know THAT scenario isn’t going to end well – where most of them wind up being possessed by demons.

And, as everyone, no doubt, knows, the only way a housewares employee like Ash (played at EPAC by Brian Virea) can deal with flesh-possessing demons is to dismember his zombified friends.

If all that isn’t in-your-face enough, you might want to purchase special $30 tickets in the “Splatter Zone” – front-row, on-stage seating that's closest to the mock-macabre action! You’ll be given a plastic poncho – and you’ll need it, when the gore starts flying.

With songs like “I’m Not a Killer,” “It Won’t Let Us Leave” and “What the F@#% Was That?”, “Evil Dead” will fill your evening with crazy, over-the-top Halloween fun.

Edward R. Fernandez directs. Here’s the rest of the cast list for the show.

NOTE: THIS SHOW IS BEST ENJOYED BY THOSE AGES 17 AND UP; it contains ADULT language and situations.

The show runs through Saturday, Nov. 5., with a midnight show on Saturday, Oct. 29, and a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Nov. 5. Other showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Prices for the midnight show only are $35 for regular seating and $40 for the “Splatter Zone.” Those tickets include light refreshments and adult beverages before the show.

Visit the EPAC website to order tickets online, or call 733-7966, Ext. 1, for the box office.

We’d like to salute Bob and Doreen Hershey and all the scaremasters at Jason’s Woods, that granddaddy of Lancaster County haunted attractions, for consulting on the special effects and for helping EPAC promote the show.

EPAC board vice president Jim Ruth and I recently braved the dark halls, trails and hayride of Jason’s Woods, and had a marvelous time having frightening creatures jump out at us in the dark. One of those creatures, it turned out, was Jim’s nephew!

After you check out “Evil Dead: The Musical,” go check out Jason’s Woods. It, too, is for grownups who like a good scare!

From Blood to Beer

Your ticket to opening night of “Evil Dead: The Musical” entitles you to attend the opening-night party at the Olde Lincoln House, 1398 W. Main St., Ephrata. The EPAC family would like to thank the proprietors there, along with party sponsor Green Mountain Cyclery, for giving the cast and patrons a place to chillax after a bloody-good evening at the theater.

Be our guest … and audition!

Calling all kids and teens, ages 5-16, who’d like to be involved in the theater!

Come out and audition for “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” from 1-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. Click here to fill out an audition form.

Callbacks are at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14. Performances are Feb. 2-12, with a school-day performance on Feb. 9.

-- Mary Ellen "Merv" Wright

Saturday, October 1, 2011



(... and EPAC veteran Jonathan Groff is the star!)
(... and those going on the bus trip get a talk-back with Groff and the cast after the show!!)

According to Associated Press Drama Writer Mark Kennedy, “… MCC Theater's ‘The Submission’ is a raw, unsentimental play about race and gender that exposes the quiet prejudice and intolerance among even our most progressive thinkers. It is both uncomfortable and impossible to not watch. Discussions are certain to be sparked after the curtain has fallen, on the way out of the theater. …”

One of the stars of that play is Ephrata Performing Arts Center alumnus Jonathan Groff, of “Spring Awakening” and “Glee” fame. And, for a great price, you can go see Jonathan, along with “True Blood” star Rutina Wesley, in “The Submission” at New York’s Lucille Lortel Theater – on Christopher Street in the West Village! – on Saturday, Oct. 8.

For just $95, you’ll get motorcoach transportation to and from New York and your ticket to the show, AND you’ll be helping support EPAC with a $20 donation (included in that price). You’ll be going to see a play about theater, with a bunch of real theater fans; the bus ride to and from NYC will, no doubt, be a wonderful trip.

AND A SPECIAL BONUS ... those going on the trip will get to participate in a talk-back with Jonathan Groff and the cast after the show!!

The bus will leave the parking lot of the Sharadin Bigler Theatre at 7 a.m. and return around 10 p.m. That means you’ll have a bit of time in New York before the show starts (did I mention you’ll be in the WEST VILLAGE?!); see the 2 p.m. matinee of “The Submission,” and have a chance to grab a bite to eat before you get back on the bus for the trip home!

Call the box office of the Sharadin Bigler Theatre, (717) 733-7966, Ext. 1, for tickets or more information. You can also order online here.

In closing, here’s a bit more from the AP’s Mark Kennedy:

“… (Jonathan) Groff (‘Spring Awakening, ‘Glee’), does well in a complex role, one in which he is both likable and later despicable, a lefty who assumes he is politically evolved but still has a way to go. He plays Danny with an earnest guilelessness, unaware of the damage his words can make. Emilie is wonderfully realized by (Rutina) Wesley (‘True Blood’); she veers from sex kitten in one scene to savagely screaming invectives a few moments later. …”

Click here for the full review.

-- Mary Ellen (“Merv”) Wright