Be warned. There’s going to be blood — fake blood — on stage, when zombies get Barbara and others at Abbeville Opera House.
Parental discretion is advised. This production is PG-13.
The historic theater is home to live productions of a stage adaption of the horror film classic “Night of the Living Dead” opening at 8 p.m. Friday.
Jimmy O. Burdette, is a ghoul in the show and its director.
Abbeville Opera House audiences might remember his fantastic stage show at AOH in 2014, “Carrie The Musical” based on the Stephen King novel, “Carrie.”
He has acted in and directed numerous plays at Abbeville Opera House and he has worked with notable actors such as Burt Reynolds, Charles Durning, Ann Wedgeworth, Hal Holbrook, Don Knotts and others.
“’Night of the Living Dead’ is a must-see treat for horror fans,” Burdette said. “I have always been a huge fan of all types of horror, especially zombie films by my favorite film director, Lucio Fulci, who did Italian horror classics such as ‘The Gates of Hell,’ ‘Zombie’ and ‘The House by the Cemetery.’ When the City of Abbeville approached me about ‘The Night of the Living Dead’ I was ecstatic.”
Burdette said if it is well-received, perhaps it could become a theater tradition to do a Halloween classic every October.
With a host of special effects — audio, lighting and film — plus zombie makeup, costumes and more, Burdette said this type of stage show is challenging to direct.
For this production, Burdette said he has cast young, old and from all across the Upstate.
Jason Erskine, 37, of Anderson, has the role of Ben, a traveler who finds himself at a rural farmhouse when his vehicle runs low on fuel. And, he soon finds himself in the midst of zombie mayhem.
While he’s acted in some independent film projects and had stage experience, playing characters such as Audrey II, the blood-thirsty plant in “Little Shop of Horrors” in a community theater production in Clemson, Erskine said this is his first time really stage acting in a main role.
“I’m a huge horror movie fan,” Erskine said, noting he’s attended horror conventions and even met key players involved with George A. Romero’s iconic film.
With a background in professional wrestling, Erskine said he’s done a good bit of choreographing action sequences and fight scenes. Erskine said he was up for the physicality of this show.
“But, I now have a lot of respect for stage actors,” Erskine said. “It’s been fun learning how to act and project from the stage. The fighting and zombie slaying in this is fun and there are fantastic people involved with this. It’s going to wow people.”
Kimberly McCurry, who is assisting director Jimmy O. Burdette with this production, and playing the role of Sally, a waitress, said the play “is like a zombie apocalypse.”
“People are turning into ghouls,” McCurry said. “It starts out in a diner and it escalates from there. ... It’s fun and it’s messy. There are strobe lights, sounds, loud noises, a fog machine. And, there’s going to be blood, fake blood. The show is action packed, with things the audience won’t see coming.”
Burdette is also directing “Little House Christmas” at AOH in December and “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” in early spring.
“It’s an honor to be able to give back quality and affordable entertainment to the community after growing up on this stage,” Burdette said of his longtime involvement with AOH.