A few years ago, the last thing you would see on an Omaha Playhouse stage would be f-bombs, gore, body parts, and more blood than a American Red Cross drive. But this season in the Howard Drew Theatre has been anything but typical. Evil Dead: The Musical, opening this weekend and running through March 17th, is a prime example of the new direction that the nation’s largest community theatre is taking with their side stage. A spoof musical of the cult classic horror film by Sam Raimi, Evil Dead: The Musical features cheeky songs like “All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons” and “What The F*** Was That?”.
While some of the more traditional Playhouse goers might be asking themselves the latter question after seeing it, the playhouse hopes the show will continue to bring in the strong audience numbers that the Howard Drew saw from August: Osage County and boom.
The objective for the smaller stage this season seemed to be focused on newer, edgier, more contemporary works in the hopes of attracting new audience members. The strategy has been a success so far according to OCP Marketing Director Katie Broman, “We felt more confident offering more diverse works in the Howard Drew with Find Your Stage this season because we rely more heavily on single ticket buyers now than we have in the past. We definitely saw new audience members.”
Looking around the country, Evil Dead has built up a reputation for bringing in audiences that normally don’t go to theatrical events and the same will no doubt ring true for the Omaha production, but how do you reach out and connect to new audiences in this modern landscape of technology? For Broman, the best tool for the job is the oldest form of social media: word of mouth.
“I think advertising is still very important, but people (especially young people) tend to do something because a friend invites them or a coworker raves about it. It is about creating an awesome experience and getting the conversation started...Everyone is so obsessed with having a social media presence, but it only works if you can incorporate into people’s conversations.”
One thing's for sure, Evil Dead: The Musical is sure to be a conversation starter for many.
Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to email@example.com