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Salem theater presents ‘Toxic Avenger’ musical

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Published: Thu, October 25, 2018 @ 12:05 a.m.




Last year it was blood. This year it’s toxic sludge.

Yes, it’s Halloween season at Salem Community Theater.

To keep things ghoulish but fun, the theater will present “The Toxic Avenger,” opening Friday.

It’s a nutball rock musical love story about a deformed superhero who got that way after being dumped into a vat of toxic waste.

“Toxic” is in the vein of “Evil Dead,” which Salem staged last October. “Evil Dead” is a zombie spoof musical that included a splatter zone in the front row, where patrons could expect to get splashed with stage blood.

But “The Toxic Avenger” will not have a sludge zone.

“That was a lot of work cleaning up the blood,” said Dan Haueter, who directed “Dead” and is also directing “Toxic.”

But there are similarities.

“We were looking for a Halloween show,” said Haueter. “‘Evil Dead’ was a big success, and we were looking for something along the same lines. We didn’t even know there was a ‘Toxic Avenger’ musical until we started looking.”

It’s a stage adaptation of the very low-budget 1984 film of the same name, but it’s even campier, said Haueter.

“It’s very funny and has a great score composed by David Bryan, who is the keyboard player in Bon Jovi,” he said.

The stage version premiered Off-Broadway in 2008.

The story centers around Melvin Ferd (played by Matthew Schomer), a nerd who falls in love with a blind librarian (Carly Ellis).

Every other role is played by Tara Holl, Sarah Kinser and Haueter.

“It’s costume change after costume change,” said Haueter.

Four performances are scheduled: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and also Nov. 2 and 3.

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