For over 20 years, Blue Man Group has been the only show in New York to require the ‘You may get wet’ disclaimer. Now, theatergoers can go from blue to red as they get sprayed with blood from the undead. After two sold-out, extended runs in Los Angeles, Re-Animator the Musical is being presented at the New York Musical Theatre Festival from July 17 through July 22. Based on the H.P. Lovecraft story and 1985 camp film, the musical centers on Herbert West, a young medical student who invents a serum to reawake the dead; naturally, the potion has some unintended side effects. As the stage becomes more populated with West’s killer creations, the carnage reaches the first rows of audience members in the “splash zone.”
The actor charged with the most blood splatter is Graham Skipper, who plays West. A life-long fan of all things cult horror, Skipper feels at home with the plays aesthetics of gore and blood spatter. “When you need an extra push to get you to the end of a show, how could a geyser of red in your face not wake you up?” Skipper said of the on-stage bloodbath.
There are two concoctions used to make the blood in the show. The kind the audience gets sprayed with is a mixture of laundry detergent, baby shampoo, and food coloring, so it’s “easy to wash out,” Skipper explained. The actors get a less forgiving blend, which includes tomato juice. While harder to get out, it also “shows up really well under the stage lights,” Skipper said, who also admitted to often receiving strange looks as he makes his way home from the theater, covered in stage blood.
While the stains are merely an occupational hazard for the cast taken in stride, Skipper said no one in the audience has ever seemed to mind. However, Skipper offers a word of caution for anyone who sees the show. “If I see somebody that’s actively avoiding trying to get wet in the splash zone, of course I’m going to target you.” Skipper recalled a performance in which he locked his aim on a man who repeatedly made futile efforts to hide behind other audience members’ seats. “I got him so bloody and soaking wet,” Skipper said, chuckling. “At the end of the show, I bowed and waved to him; he only seemed a little perturbed.” Read more