Michael Teoli Fuses Genres in CARNEVIL: A Gothic Horror Rock Musical
by Ellen Dostal

When CARNEVIL: A Gothic Horror Rock Musical opens at Sacred Fools Theater in Los Angeles on September 16, Michael Teoli will see his worlds collide. The Boston-bred film composer who graduated from Berklee College of Music may be classically trained but he's also been strongly influenced by post '89 Depeche Mode and Goth bands like Blue Angel and Wumpscut. For him it's all about fusing the different genres and worlds together.

Teoli says, "At the time I started writing CARNEVIL I was involved in the L.A. Goth community and I would frequent clubs like Malediction Society and Release the Bats. I really felt at home in that world with the music and the people and that aesthetic. I've also always been a big horror buff and loved carnivals, and as a film and theatre composer I really wanted to bring all these worlds together."

"We're putting a new spin on the genres," he explains. "There have been horror-related musicals before but they usually lean toward the comedy horror or camp side, and we've made a conscious choice not to go in that direction. CARNEVIL has its share of laughs, but it's a much darker world; more along the lines of Wes Craven or Dario Argento or Tobe Hooper. We're keeping that fear in the mix and in order to make it work it really has to have a different musical sound than you'd expect. You'll hear a lot of my influences, everything from the Beatles to Pink Floyd to Audioslave, so the music falls somewhere between progressive rock and a more electronic dark wave sound."


Creepy Review: CarnEvil The Horrof Musical
by Noir Vixen

This past weekend saw the much anticipated opening of Sacred Fools Theater’s latest offering CarnEvil. Creepy LA was there at the sold out opening night gala this past Friday evening to witness the entire thing.

CarnEvil is a campy, B movie musical romp replete with gore (and a bunny! A black one, of course). It’s the story of Danny Farinelli, recently returning to his family’s carnival after doing time in jail. He carries with him a dark secret and a mystical power. It doesn’t take long for his secret to draw out a wicked element.

Much more cannot be said without ruining all the delightful little surprises in store for the audience.

Featuring a creative, constantly moving set that makes use of the entire stage space, Victorian inspired magic lantern shows, human zombie puppets without strings and dancing Cthulus, (That’s right. Cthulus! But that’s my word for it. You’ll have to go to see what is really going on.) CarnEvil is slow to start in order to set up for what will be an entertaining payoff. The production hits full gear about ten minutes before intermission, making it almost vexing to have to stop. The second half of the show is nothing but action from start to finish with a whirlwind pace that slams to a close at the end like a life being snuffed out.

The show belongs to Jeff Sumner who plays Craven Moon. The name alone should tell you he’s the bad guy. His slithering, seductive, fully invested performance is mesmerizing and brilliantly entertaining. David Haverty as the Wolf Boy ‘Albert’ is instantly loveable if not charming. Liza Baron and Whitney Avalon infuse the darkness with a sexiness as well as the smoldering vocals to go with it portraying The Twins. Joe Bybee constantly steels moments with his fantastic line delivery, timing and physical antics. Katy Tang is utterly transfixing while she flops artfully about as a human zombified marrionette in a dance that is equal parts graceful and inhumanly disturbing...

Michael Teoli Fuses Genres in CARNEVIL: A Gothic Horror Rock Musical
by Ellen Dostal

Horror films have spawned a number of musical stage versions in Los Angeles recently and developed a following with mainstream audiences as well as die-hard horror fans. Re-Animator the Musical and Head: The Brain That Wouldn’t Die Musical, as well as several productions of the classic Little Shop of Horrors have all offered their own interpretations of the genre; the former two reaching far into blood, guts and campy humor while the latter kept its feet planted in its comedic dark noir roots.

Now Sacred Fools is exploring the other end of the spectrum with a dramatic take on the horror genre in its new musical CarnEvil: A Gothic Rock Horror Musical by Michael Teoli and Joe Fria. The original story is a musical nightmare of sorts, both unsettling and highly addictive at the same time, with plenty of psychological stimulation to draw you completely into this tattered world, and enough comic elements to offer relief from its underlying intensity. And as always, the Fools throw themselves into the darkness with everything they've got.


Salem native debuts gothic rock musical in Los Angeles

Salem native Michael Teoli is putting the scare into Los Angeles this fall.

The world premiere of the composer’s gothic horror musical, “CarnEvil,” will take the stage at the Sacred Fools Theater there Friday, Sept. 16, and run through Saturday, Oct. 22.

After scoring music for numerous feature films, Teoli, a graduate of Berklee College of Music, is eager to bring the genre to the stage. “For the horror genre, the stage can be even more powerful than the screen,” said Teoli, who has scored or worked or more than 40 films during his 10 years as a composer. “There is an immediate satisfaction that comes from scaring a live audience that you can’t get from a movie.”

The story follows a young man with a dark past who returns to a family-owned carnival after a long absence, only to find unspeakable horrors waiting for him.

The production features a live band and a cast of 21 that includes both dancers and puppeteers. The project was co-written by Joe Fria and is directed by Janet Roston.

From Cows to CarnEvil
Maria Olsen

A few weeks ago, I was graciously comped to see the latest theatrical offering of one of Los Angeles’ most progressive theater companies, Sacred Fools: CarnEvil. CarnEvil, A Gothic Horror Rock Musical, is the brainchild of talented composer Michael Teoli and gothicly gifted wordsmith Joe Fria, and this horror-filled world-premiere musical was deftly directed by Janet Roston. Stuffed to the brim and beyond with stunning songs, Lovecraftian plot twists and imaginative sets, costumes and staging, this musical is a must-see for any horror fan, and the good news is that its run has been extended through October 29th. CarnEvil showcases the talents of, among others, James Lynch, Jeff Sumner and Natascha Corrigan, and this watcher’s interest was especially peaked by the masterful performances offered up by Joey Bybee and Lauren Teoli. So come to the CarnEvil and be entertained by psychotic Siamese twins, alligator men with anxiety disorders, creeping horrors from beyond the rim of the world and puppet-obsessed serial killers…you won’t regret it!

The very existence of CarnEvil attests to the public’s growing fascination with all things horror, which is exactly what Live-In Fear is trading on. Horror tries to explain the unexplainable: the pervasive darkness that, in the end, we all have to face. Sometimes this face-off happens on stage, and sometimes on film, and, with CarnEvil, you should hold tight to your theater seats and check behind you for lurking carnies in grotesque masks while, with Live-In Fear, just pray that you’ll never have to watch this movie alone…in the dark…where you will, truly, live in fear…