LYNN — Arts After Hours is bringing back the Splatter Zone for its production of “Carrie: The Musical.” The city’s edgy theater company has even hired a “blood expert” and is hosting a “blood drive” to raise funds for the 40 gallons of fake blood that will rain down on theatergoers during the run of the show based on Stephen King’s horror novel.
Ten performances of “Carrie: The Musical” are scheduled from Oct. 18 to Nov. 2 in the Neal Rantoul Black Box Theater, 25 Exchange St.
Samantha Gambaccini, the company’s producing artistic director and director of “Carrie: The Musical,” said she’s always wanted to bring back the Splatter Zone bloodbath, even though her predecessor, Corey Jackson, halted it because it was such a pain to clean up.
“We put out a call for a blood specialist, and Dan Mellitz, a technical director from New Hampshire, enthusiastically responded,” said Gambaccini. “He’s taken the job and run with it.”
Mellitz has even created a “secret” blood recipe, that will easily come out in the wash. “There will be so, so much fake blood, we had to be sure it would not stain clothes or get people sick if some blood ended up in their mouth,” said Gambaccini with admirable deadpan restraint.
Theatergoers sitting in the front two rows of each performance will be in the Splatter Zone, and will be given a hooded poncho and booties to lessen the damage.
Fans of the 1976 Brian DePalma film starring Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie and John Travolta might be thinking “Hey, what gives? Didn’t everyone burn to death in the movie?”
“That’s true,” said Gambaccini. “But everyone in the cast read the book, and, as Stephen King diehards know, there are many different ways ill fates can happen to the Chamberlain High School senior class.”
Gambaccini said “it’s expensive to dump that much blood over 10 performances. We even had to buy new microphones. After all, you can’t drop blood on a mic that’s not waterproof.” Therefore, a push is on for “blood donors”; $15 sponsors one pint of blood up to the $150 Sprinkler Sponsorship. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could get blood sprinklers,” she added, then laughed.
Abby Seidel, who played teenage daughter Shelley in last year’s “Bat Boy the Musical,” returns in the lead role as Carrie White, the awkward teenage daughter with telekinetic powers. “She’s a real scream queen,” said Gambaccini.
Mary Margaret Hogan of Peabody plays Carrie’s mom. The senior class BMOCs are Nick Elwell (playing Tommy Ross), Tim Sheils (playing Billy Nolan), Shelby Lynn Thomas (playing Chris Hargensen) and Emma Quinlan (playing Sue Snell).
The cast also includes Felisha Trundle-Knapp, Nick McKinnon, Gina Ansaldi, Will Gracik, Catherine Benjamin, Grace Graham, Stephen Zubricki IV, Autumn Blazon-Brown, Nicole Jones, and Larissa Jantonio.
Kathleen Tringale of Lynn is choreographer. Shane Stecher is music director and leader of the pit band.
Adding to the fun is part two of the Science Fiction Double Feature: a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” shadow cast extravaganza on Oct. 26. This is the first Arts After Hours/Lynn Auditorium collaboration. The film will be shown on the auditorium’s big screen, while a live cast of professional interpreters on stage will act out scenes, using props. “There will be much dancing, costumes and audience participation,” said Gambaccini. An on-stage party and reception will follow.
For tickets to both shows, go to ArtsAfterHours.tix.com.