By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Monday, March 7, 2016
UPDATE on April 27: This effort was cancelled. Not enough interest.
"The Walking Dead" can be relentlessly grim. Blood spurts everywhere. Characters die. People emote about life and death.
Only on rare occasions is there actual humor, usually thanks to Eugene.
So the creators of "Puppet Dead" have decided to turn the most popular show in America into something a little less depressing. Rick and Michonne and Daryl are now puppets slaying puppet zombies. Not so scary anymore! The nationwide show comes to the Buckhead Theatre June 3 and 4 with tickets going on sale Friday. (Details here.)
"I love 'The Walking Dead,' " said co-creator Jim Millan, who also does live shows for the "Mythbusters" duo and Marietta's own Alton Brown, who has his own live show coming to the Fox Theatre next month. "I'm really hoping we can get people from the show to come down."
He realizes that humor and horror can be done as in "Evil Dead The Musical" or the film "Zombieland."
"To me, once I realized it would be done with zombie muppets with blood squirting everywhere, this puppet gore seemed hilarious," he said.
Familiar with the actual characters from the show, he took eight or nine of them and had them go through some of the plotlines familiar to the fans of the show, then twist them a bit. "We can play up the crazy world of the show," Millan said. "The obsessions of the characters and satisfying monster moments. Plus, they'll break into song."
Folks like Rick, Daryl and Michonne (arguably the three most popular characters) are "ripe for comedy," he said.
Daryl, he said, "is the James Dean of the group. But in our story, he secretly writes poems and haikus. Rick is so intense, he can barely absorb facts. He's obsessed with being a leader. He's so busy, he doesn't even listen."
Michonne will show up much earlier than she does on the show and they plan to incorporate her romantic connection with Rick, which (spoiler alert) just happened a couple weeks ago. Carl, the son, will be an incredibly self-absorbed teenager. "He'll spend a lot of time hero worshiping Daryl more than Rick."
Parody, he notes, "has to have a kernel of truth in it. We'll cover a lot of territory. We'll be in an RV. We'll go into a herd of zombies. We will do a musical number about Atlanta called 'Nothing Bad Ever Happens in Atlanta.' "
As I write this, the puppets are being made. Each one costs $2,000. How will he ensure they don't get ruined with blood and guts every show? He said, anything blood related will be directed to the humans holding the puppets, not the puppets themselves.