AN INTERVIEW WITH JACK ALLISON
Jack Allison stars as Ash in Out of Box's upcoming production of Evil Dead the Musical by George Reinblatt. Evil Dead the Musical brings Sam Raimi’s cult classic franchise to the stage, and Out of Box Theatre brings it home for its Atlanta premiere. This “All Guts, All Glory” musical interpretation of Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness features songs like “All the Men in MY Life Keep Getting Killed by Kandarian Demons,” “Ode to an Accidental Stabbing,” and “Do the Necronomicon.” This musical is not for the faint of heart, but is sure to leave your screaming with laughter. Evil Dead the Musical runs October 7-30, 2016 at Out of Box Theatre in Marietta, GA, and tickets are available at outofboxtheatre.com.
OOB: How did you first get into acting?
JA: If I had to blame anyone for my love of acting, it'd be my mother. She was one of the first people to teach me that there was nothing wrong with being silly. Jump ahead a few decades and I'm screaming at a talking moose, cutting up demons with a chainsaw hand, and singing the word "Groovy." She'd be proud.
OOB: What are some of your favorite roles to date?
JA: To pick a few roles that I remember fondly, I'd start with John Merrick from Act 3 Playhouse's production of The Elephant Man, mainly for it being the role that challenged me as an actor more than any other in a drama. I'd also be remiss if I didn't include Judas in Next Stage Theater's Jesus Christ Superstar. Were it not for that show, my first in Atlanta, I doubt I would have had the wonderful stage experiences and met the awesome people that followed, this production most certainly included.
OOB: What made you want to work with Out of Box?
JA: In truth, I've wanted to work with Out of Box since first hearing of them. I've long-admired their penchant for choosing shows that aren't on every theatre-goer's radar. The productions I've had the pleasure of seeing there have done everything from widening my perspectives to challenging my morality and while the safe crowd-pleasing shows will always have their place, it's a comfort to know that there is a theater like Out of Box for when I want a show to really reflect on long after the curtain has gone down.
OOB: Why did you want to audition for Evil Dead the Musical?
JA: When I first heard that Out of Box was going to be producing Evil Dead The Musical, I knew immediately that I had to do it, even if I was cast as the couch. I've always enjoyed chewing scenery when the show permits and in this case, hamming it up isn't just encouraged, it's demanded. Learning that it was being helmed by Zip Rampy was simply the icing on the cake as I knew this was a show he'd put his all into and he's not disappointed.
OOB: What or who has inspired your portrayal of Ash?
JA: I can credit my portrayal of Ash to two performances. The first is of course, the ham and chin sandwich that is Bruce Campbell's Ash in Evil Dead 2. The second, and I'm prepared to defend against any flack I get for this, is Nicolas Cage's performance in The Wicker Man. Both exude a manic energy and deliver an incendiary level of madness that drive both of their movie's, respectively and without these aspects, Ash cannot work on the stage.
OOB: What has the rehearsal process been like? Is it different from other shows you've worked on?
JA: This rehearsal process has been an absolute joy. From day one, I've been nothing short of blown away by the awesome talent and professionalism demonstrated by the cast and crew. We began rehearsals focusing each week on either music, blocking, or choreography before throwing it all together and it's resulted in a productive and stress-free process. The kind and welcoming nature of those I am working with have only made it better and I would most certainly work with any of them again, given the chance.
OOB: Without giving away too many spoilers, what are you most excited for the audience to see?
JA: Above all else, I am most excited about the audience's response to the show. A lot of people will be going into this knowing exactly what to expect with the humor and the gore and love every second of it while others, I hope, will be in for some big surprises. That's why I've offered my grandmother a ticket to the show. She has yet to respond.
OOB: How hard is it to have a chainsaw for a hand?
JA: Surprisingly, the chainsaw hand hasn't been the encumbrance I was expecting going in. If anything, the hardest part of wielding it has been taking care not to slice and dice any Deadites, prematurely.
OOB: What's your favorite song in the show?
JA: My favorite song in the show is most certainly, "All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons." Whenever I'm with someone wanting a better understanding of what Evil Dead The Musical is, I cite this song. Its dark comedic lyrics embraced by the catchy 50s doo-wop sound is only made better by Kristen and Trevor, who are a joy to perform this one with. It's also my first time singing a bass part on stage, so added bonus for the new experience.
OOB: Why do you think EDTM is the perfect fit for Out of Box?
JA: I couldn't think of a venue in Atlanta better suited for this musical than that of Out of Box's. The intimate space is going to excel at locking the audience in the cabin with Ash and his pals and when the blood starts flying, there will be very few going home without proof of it.
OOB: Would you take on this role again, if you had the opportunity?
JA: Ash is a role I'd revisit until I was too old to lift a boomstick. He's essentially what you'd get if Beauty and the Beast's Gaston worked at Home Depot, and that alone is too enticing for me to ever turn down. This opportunity has been a real blessing and if this is only the first time I'll get to don the chainsaw hand and broomstick, I'll never forget where it all began.
Headshot by Karen Rooker | http://www.rookerphotography.com/