There are many similarities between George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead. Both were independent horror productions filmed outside of mainstream Hollywood. Both were financed by friends and family. Both transformed the horror genre in their own distinct ways, launched the careers of their respective directors, became the first entry in a subsequent series of films and are now considered cult classics which that survived the tests of time. While the Steel City-works of Romero came first, however, it was the Michigan-born Raimi who had his creations adapted for the stage long before Night of the Living Dead was performed live as both a play in Toronto and opera in Pittsburgh during October 2013.
Evil Dead: The Musical began life in 2003 at a theater workshop in Toronto. The success of the endeavor led to an Off-Broadway run in 2006 and an on-going engagement in 2012 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. More significantly, over 150 different regional theaters around the world have staged performances of Evil Dead: The Musical, making it the Twenty First Century equivalent of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. During June 2014, meanwhile, Pittsburgh theater troupe No Name Players brought Evil Dead: The Musical to the Steel City for a three week engagement at Off the Wall Theater in Carnegie. There are a multitude of short video clips on YouTube of productions from other cities, and although they are impressive, they pale in comparison to the Pittsburgh version. From directing to choreography, set design to special effects, acting to vocal talents, the No Name Player’s staging of Evil Dead: The Musical is a top-notch production that ranks as one of the best musical theater experiences in the recent history of the Steel City.