April 24, 2013


On April 26, George A. Romero's immortal Night of the Living Dead will come to life (no pun intended) on the stages of Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto. Under the stewardship of Nictophobia Films and Evil Dead: The Musical director Christopher Bond, Night of the Living Dead Live is shaping up to be a show that no self-respecting horror fan can afford to miss.

Don't wait to buy your tickets. Night of the Living Dead Live is going to explode and tickets are going to go faster than shot gun shells in a zombie apocalypse. But if you need extra motivation, here are five irrefutable reasons to see Night of the Living Dead Live.

1.) The Show is Endorsed by George A. Romero  

For years, people have been ripping off Night of the Living Dead. Aside from the 1990 remake directed by Tom Savini, all the other remakes, prequels, sequels, and re-imaginings have been done without the involvement or support of all three original creators: George A. Romero, John A. Russo, and Russ Streiner.  Night of the Living Dead Live, however, has the blessing, investment, and full involvement of the holy zombie trinity. Romero (who now lives in Toronto), Russo, and Streiner are singing the praises of this ambitious new stage adaptation. Be there to see the show that's reunited the original zombie scream team.

Some of the production team (L-R): Christopher Harrison, John A. Russo, Carlos Henriques (kneeling),
Marty Birthelmer, and Russ Streiner

2.) It's Not a Musical!  

Listen, don't get me wrong. I love a good musical. Just see my review of The Toxic Avenger musical for proof of that. But the world doesn't need a Night of the Living Dead musical right now. It needs a fun but reverent live zombie experience. With the popularity of The Walking Dead on AMC, we need to remind new zombie fans about the roots of their favorite genre. A campy musical about zombies isn't going to cut it. If the hype is to be believed, Night of the Living Dead Live has fun with the material while hitting all the beats of the 1968 classic and bringing the zombies off the stage to engage with the audience.

3.) It Stars Nug!  

Mike "Nug" Nahrgang is one hell of a talented guy. Not only is he absolutely hilarious as Bulo in the Dark Rising movie and TV series, but this Toronto actor is also a great improv comedian who routinely shows his chops on the improv sci-fi podcast Illusionoid. This is also not the first time Nug has lent his impressive acting and mad comedy skills to a horror movie stage adaptation. Nug had a great three-turn run as Jake in the incredibly popular Toronto staging of Evil Dead: The Musical. This time around, Nug takes on the challenging role of Harry, the hot-headed curmudgeon always at odds with Ben. 

4.) It's in Glorious Black & White! 

How can you tell that creators Christopher Harrison and Phil Pattison really love the original Night of the Living Dead? Well, they're staging Night of the Living Dead Live completely in black and white, just like the original classic. With the help of makeup and lighting, the grainy and stark contrast of Romero's classic 1968 horror film will explode into an immersive and three-dimensional black and white experience. It'll be like the zombies have walked right out of your TV!

5.) The Hammer Connection

From the Hammer to Steel City and Back Again
This might not mean as much to those of you who aren't local, but The Zed Word is based out of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. So are Christopher Harrison and Phil Pattison of Nictophobia Films. I've been talking to them about their Night of the Living Dead Live project for almost three years now and have watched the project evolve from a small Hamilton-based play to a much more ambitious Toronto-based staging. Never once have Chris and Phil lost sight of their vision to honour Romero's classic. Not only are Chris and Phil of Hamilton, but their special effects wizard Carlos Henriques of The Butcher Shop also calls the Hammer home. Further solidifying this show's connection to Hamilton, Night of the Living Dead Live will also feature a zombie cameo by none other than prolific local actor (and the best man at my zombie wedding) John Migliore. I'm filled with civic pride to know that these local guys are resurrecting George A. Romero's classic.

Don't delay! Get your tickets before Night of the Living Dead Live sells out. Be there for opening night as Nictophobia Films makes history with the first-ever authorized stage adaptation of Night of the Living Dead. They're coming to get you, Barbara!