George Brown grad stars in Evil Dead: The Musical

Merritt Crews says her family pushed her to follow her dreams

Evil Dead: The Musical is a bloody, far-fetched, musically comedic romp based on the low budget films of the (almost) same name.

The musical, which stars George Brown College graduate Merritt Crews as Shelley and Annie, opened Feb. 12 and runs until Feb. 28 at the Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst St.). On Feb. 14, Evil Dead will run twice, once at 7:30 p.m. and again at 10:30 p.m.

The Valentine’s Day performances also fell on Crews’ 29th birthday. “What a great present for an actor that I get to be performing on my birthday,” Crews said.

Crews graduated from George Brown in 2013 from the theatre program after first attaining a degree in psychology and drama from Queens University.  Pushed to pursue acting at the post-secondary level by a beloved high school drama teacher, she said she didn’t consider focusing solely on theatre until around 2007, when a run in with the mother of an old friend became dinner conversation later that evening. Crews was put on the spot by familial support and could no longer turn away from her dreams of lighting up the stages of the country.

She completed her degree in 2009, snatching leads in both musicals produced by her program that year. Crews then set her sights on a program which, she felt, offered the discipline and real-world connections she would need to hack it as a performer. “The reputation that George brown has, the work that the grads are doing, and the teachers that I knew were teaching there were extremely attractive to me,” she said.

Crews found the wide range of classes offered and topics discussed to be invaluable, citing experiences with actors and George Brown graduates like Sarah Dodd and Julie Temperman, as profoundly instructional.

Crews acknowledged one class in particular, the Business of Acting, for giving students a chance to glean practical, real world insight into the realm of acting. For the class, working actors are bought in to discuss what it’s really like to make your way in that world, while balancing things like an outside life and family obligations. Crews explained, “it’s not so simple as ‘Get an agent; the end!'”

When it comes to preparing their students for the real world of acting, “I think George Brown is really ahead of the curve on that one,” Crews said. “They certainly teach you the work ethic!”

Catch Merritt Crews in one of the 19 showings this month. Be sure to sit in the Splatter Zone for the most in-your-face fun!

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George Brown grad stars in Evil Dead: The Musical