What’s In My Evil Dead Performance Bag? (and bonus tech week footage!)

I absolutely *love* what’s in my bag videos. I’m not sure why, but I do. So I filmed one of my own!

This is what I carried in my performance bag for Evil Dead 2.0, but I filmed this right before the last weekend, so you’re getting a great look at what an actress looks like at the end of the run versus the perfectly packed bag at the beginning.

Question for you- what do you carry in your performance or rehearsal bag? If you’ve made a video, send me the link, I’d love to see it!

Evil Dead the Musical 2: Electric Boogaloo

(all photos in this post are from Chris Bishop Photography!)

In 2017, I played my boldest role yet: Cheryl Williams in Evil Dead the Musical. You can read all about that first adventure here!

In 2019, I got to return to the cellar and play her again!

The show was a huge hit for our theatre the first time around, and not only did patrons want to see the show return, but most of cast wanted and was able to come back. I reprised my role and so did our Ash and Jake, but we had an all-new Scotty, Linda/Annie (this time the roles were combined), and Ed. We also had a new fake Shemp (this actor plays a variety of roles including an Evil Tree and Annie’s Ghost Dad) and this time my boyfriend Shane joined me onstage for the first time!

I was honestly so excited to come back as Cheryl. It’s my favorite role I’ve ever played, and I feel like the two years in between really gave me a chance to work on my voice and my stage presence, so I think I was even stronger this time around. Plus, I was definitely a lot less nervous of dancing around in my bra onstage.

We had a pretty short rehearsal process, but a lot of it was getting the new actors caught up to speed and cleaning up what we’d worked on before. It’s interesting to revisit a role- I really focused on how I could improve my performance from the first time, which funny bits to keep and which things to try differently. It really helped to work off of some new actors though! Jeffrey, who played Scotty, played the role completely different and gave me so many different choices to work off of.

I made a new costume this time around! Still with unicorns, though. I kept the same jacket and hairbow too, and the Glee messenger bag, since those pieces seemed so completely Cheryl to me, but I got new sneakers (the old ones never fully recovered.) You can tell that I tried out two different shirts- the lime green was the winner, even though it rapidly got more and more tattered as the show went only. Although maybe that was a good thing! I also sacrificed my old extensions  and wore them for this show- they are now exclusively my Cheryl extensions (I’m really really hoping to play her at least one more time in my life.)

I also made Annie’s tearaway dress! It was definitely not perfect at all and I wish I’d had more time to really nitpick it, but the reality is that we were constantly fixing it before each performance. But that’s what happens when you tear, bloody, and wash a dress over and over and over again, I suppose!

What helped this time around it that we didn’t do a 7pm and an 11pm show again. That was way too much for me! Cheryl is a super demanding role, particularly for act 1, and being able to run and scream and belt like that for two shows back to back was ex-haust-ing. We stuck Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night performances instead and it was perfect!

I absolutely loved bringing my favorite stupid bitch to life again (Broadway World called me a “lovable scene stealer”!) and I hope I get at least one more change to play her. That being said, I filmed a whole bunch during our run, so stay tuned if you’d like to see more antics from the cabin in the woods!

(Want to see more of my 2017 Evil Dead shenanigans? You can watch them here!)

Noises Off

I think most of the time people consider straight plays to be easier than musicals. And to some extent, I think that’s correct. Musicals have all that singing and dancing and whatnot. But I think Noises Off could give a musical a run for their money.

Noises Off is a farce, a very zany play that involves a lot of running around. In act one, the cast of Nothing On is in their final rehearsal and everything is going horribly wrong. In act two, it’s a performance in the middle of their tour and everything is in even worse condition- especially since now the set is turned around and the audience is watching the pantomimed antics backstage. And in act three, it is the final performance of the run and nothing at all is going the way it should.

I auditioned not knowing which role I should go for- Poppy, Dotty, Belinda, or Brooke. I was lucky enough that the first or had me read for all four roles multiple times. (I actually filmed my audition prep process if you’d like to see it- comment below if you think I should post it!) In the end, I was cast as Belinda.

(Side note: my costume might look familiar. It’s part of my Dapper Day Elinor ensemble!)

I’ve done some challenging shows in my day, but this was probably the most fun challenge I’ve experienced in a while. The first hurdle was that I missed the first two weeks of rehearsal because of A Chorus Line- but the director knew that before I auditioned and cast me anyway. (Always post your conflicts on your audition form!)

The hardest part for me once we got into rehearsals was remembering which cue lead to which line. Belinda’s bits tend to be non sequiturs, so there isn’t a good set up to trigger the next line of dialogue. And since all three acts follow a similar structure, the same cue line in all three acts could lead into completely different responses. I literally made myself little cue cards to keep in my skirt pocket to prompt myself through tech week. I was fine without them once they opened, but the sense of training wheels has been very reassuring.

Belinda is also a challenging character to play. She’s a perky optimist, so how do you keep her from getting boring? She’s a major gossip, so how do you keep her likable? She’s saying all these nice things, but is she completely genuine or a little bit sarcastic about it? It’s been fun to play a character with so many options.

The show was booked for a three weekend run, nine performances total. After last Friday, performance number four, the guy playing Lloyd broke his arm, so for the Saturday performance the actor playing Tim stepped in to play Lloyd and one of the stage crew stepped in to play Tim. I described it as “a very sweaty performance.” It was nervewracking for sure, especially since it felt like I had just hit my stride, but the actor now playing Lloyd is delightful and I worked with him last summer on Charley’s Aunt, so I was happy to have scenes with him this time.

Tomorrow begins our last weekend of performances; I’m planning on vlogging my way through the last three shows. Stay tuned, I may have more edits to this post as we wrap up this run!