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Horror Icon Jeffrey Combs Talks About New Stage Show Nevermore: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe

August 16, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Jeffrey Combs Nevermore An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe

The 411 Interview: Jeffrey Combs

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Modern horror movie icon Jeffrey Combs, star of Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Castle Freak, is set to perform his Edgar Allan Poe centric stage show Nevermore: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe as part of the upcoming Sleepy Hollow International Film Festival in Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, New York, which runs October 10—13th (Nevermore will be performed at the Tarrytown Music Hall on Saturday, October 12th) . In this interview, Combs talks with this writer about the upcoming Nevermore performance, the Sleepy Hollow International Film Festival, and more.

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Bryan Kristopowitz: Nevermore: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe seems to be the perfect project for you, almost a defining role for you. Can you talk a little bit about what this project means for you and how it continues to endure?

Jeffrey Combs: Portraying Poe is deeply challenging, but Poe’s genius and versatility as a writer is intoxicating. He excelled as a poet, a short story writer, a novelist, as an editor and as a literary critic, to name just a few. He invented the detective story and is also credited with being the first science fiction writer. Without Poe there would never have been a Sherlock Holmes and that’s according to Arthur Conan Doyle himself. He’s a writer for the ages and has eclipsed all the writers of his era even though during his life he lived, for the most part, in utter poverty and never received the just rewards for his talents during his all-too-brief life.

BK: How long did it take you to develop the show with director Stuart Gordon and writer Dennis Paoli, and has it evolved since you first performed it?

JC: It took years to develop the project, mostly because of my initial hesitation to dive into it. Without Stuart’s continual urging I would never have done it.

BK: Is it hard to get into the mindset of Poe, or have you done the show enough that Poe is just a character that you can slip into and out of relatively easily?

JC: The play is verbally dense and physically and emotionally challenging, but the rewards are sweet. The hardest aspect is staging the show after a long hiatus. It’s hard to get all the gears in motion after not doing the show in a while.

BK: How much of the show is based on the real life Poe and how much of it is “inspired” by Poe/stuff that’s made up but sounds like it could be real?

JC: I would say about 90% of the dialogue is Poe himself. His poems, one of his short stories and Dennis Paoli, the playwright, researched and culled all of the connecting dialogue directly from the writings, literary criticisms and letters of Poe.

BK: How many times have you played Poe in your career? Is this show something you hope to do/intend to do for years to come?

JC: I first portrayed Poe in Masters of Horror: The Black Cat and during filming Stuart Gordon began urging me to create a one-man show of Poe. I have performed Nevermore for a long run in LA as well as performing it all over the country: Baltimore, New York, Nashville, Austin, Montreal, Las Vegas and Boston, and now, Sleepy Hollow, NY.

BK: Will this show ever be developed into a movie or TV show? Would you ever want to do that in the first place?

JC: We’ve tried for years. In a time of superhero movies having supremacy it has been, to say the least, challenging.

BK: What do you hope audiences get out of the show?

JC: A deeper understanding of the full scope of Poe’s genius and fuller appreciation of his humanity.

BK: Can you say something about The Sleepy Hollow International Film Festival and their involvement with this particular show?

JC: I am so honored to have been asked to be a part of the maiden voyage of the Sleepy Hollow International Film Festival. Here’s to many years of continued success to SHIFF!

BK: What is your favorite Poe story?

JC: The one I recite in the show, “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

BK: Is the Poe mustache something that’s real or is it all just stage makeup? If the mustache is real, how long does it take to grow it?

JC: It’s real. It has to be real. No way would a glued on mustache survive my machinations. It takes at least 3 weeks to grow an acceptable Poe mustache.

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A very special thanks to Jeffrey Combs for agreeing to participate in this interview and to david j. moore for setting it up.

The Sleepy Hollow International Film Festival runs from October 10-13, 2019 in Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, New York. Check out the festival’s official website here.

Nevermore: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe is Saturday, October 12, 2019 at the Tarrytown Music Hall. Check out the Tarrytown Music Hall official website here.

Nevermore poster courtesy of the Sleepy Hollow International Film Festival. The Jeffrey Combs image courtesy of Jeffrey Combs.