Best Actor in a Musical

Gregory B. Cuellar

Bruce Campbell created his own legend — or maybe revealed his godhead — as Ash in the Evil Dead trilogy. For Evil Dead: The Musical to work, you can't just strap a fake chin on a dark-haired guy and expect audiences to buy this non-Bruce Campbell Ash; you need someone who can wear the S-Mart vest with pride and respect the legacy Campbell created. This person also has to be funny and sing well while not embarrassing himself in the eyes of the most die-hard fans if the show is to succeed. Gregory B. Cuellar captured the essence of Ash/Campbell while both singing and chain-sawing his girlfriend to death — a piquant combo of braggadocio and charming stupidity — and he made it howlingly funny. There's a fine line between impersonation and interpretation, and Cuellar stayed true to Campbell's version while also exploring Ash's more romantic side. Look, it ain't Show Boat: Cuellar has an extended fistfight with his own hand at one point, and he only wins because he gets to the chainsaw first. His ability to play the entire thing as straight as an arrow while also indulging in classic Campbell mannerisms (that eyebrow cock was tastefully deployed all evening long) was what made the performance so compelling. Making the entire thing look so easy, especially when fake blood is geysering out of every neckstump in sight, is the hallmark of a pro.

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