If you’re a fan of musicals, you know the greats: “All That Jazz.” “Chicago.” “Phantom of the Opera.” “Evil Dead.” Yep, “Evil Dead: The Musical” is the first film ever to spawn its own musical production. And little wonder: The film series has become a cult classic among horror hounds and independent film aficionados alike. In August of 2003 in the back room of a small bar in Toronto called the Tranzac Club, “Evil Dead: The Musical” came to fruition. Over the past eight years, productions have sprung up across the world, including in Seoul, Tokyo, Calgary, California and even Kalamazoo. Then, in October of 2009, producers Jake Wheat and Joey Arena brought their own vision to Louisville, Kentucky. The show ran for four straight weeks to rave reviews and sold-out houses. Now two years later, Arena is back with a two-week stop in Cleveland at the newly renovated Phantasy Theatre, now known as The Cleveland Thunderdome. Arena, who also directs the production, spoke enthusiastically about how he first got involved in the “Evil Dead: The Musical.” “A friend of mine brought it to my attention, saying that he couldn’t imagine anyone else being able to direct it properly,” Arena said. “So I read it, listened to the music, laughed myself completely stupid and knew I had to produce and direct this show. It was love at first incantation of the Necronomicon, you could say.” Before admirers of the film series get up in arms at how close the production stays to the source material, Arena assures us that fans will not be upset. Taking both characters and dialogue from all three films, the musical captures the heart and soul of the series, really boiling down to the essence of the characters and original story. “The basic plot is the same as the first two films, but seeing as it’s a loving spoof and tribute as well as a mashup, we do take a few liberties,” he said. “However, hardcore fans will not be disappointed in them. In fact, they’ll get the inside joke we’ve thrown in just for them.” While Arena enjoys every aspect of the production, he speaks most highly of the actors that take the stage every night. “My cast is an incredibly talented bunch of actors who have as much fun with the material as I do and makes it a joy to come to work,” he said. “Plus, they take all the abuse I can heap on them for the audience’s amusement with very little complaints.” Arena admits the job is unlike anything else he has every experienced before and enjoys the chance to get paid to do something so uniquely attuned to his own admiration. “I’ve always been a huge fan of the series, so it’s kind of like getting to dress your favorite supermodel and get paid for it,” Arena said. “We get to do scary, we get to do serious, we get to do juvenile and we get to cover a willing part of the audience with over 10 gallons of blood.” The gallons of blood Arena is referring to are part of the section dubbed The Spatter Zone, comprising the first three rows of the theater. These seats come with a pair of “Evil Dead: The Musical” custom goggles; those sitting there should expect to be splattered with fake blood throughout the show. “I love the Splatter Zone for the simple reason that if I were in the audience, that’s where I’d sit,” Arena said. “The childish need to cover people in blood and have them cheer you for it. Some habits just die hard, I suppose.” “Evil Dead: The Musical” runs two consecutive weekends this month in The Cleveland Thunderdome at Phantasy Theatre. The show runs November 4 through 12; all four performances begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $30 for the Splatter Zone. For more information, visit louevildead.com.