‘Theater Is Dead’: Decker Sadowski And Shane West Topline Katherine Dudas’ Campy Horror Comedy

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

EXCLUSIVE: Decker Sadowski (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Shane West (ER, The Dirty South) are set to star in Katherine Dudas’ horror comedy Theater Is Dead. The film is also written by Dudas (Waking Up Worried), Sadowski, Olivia Blue (This Game’s Called Murder) and Madison Lawlor (Casa Grande).

Production for the film recently wrapped on Vashon Island, WA.

More from Deadline

Blue and Lawlor also star alongside Sadowski and West. The cast is rounded out with Jacob Nichols, Stephanie Suganami (Opus), Colin McCalla (Ruthless), Dylan Adler (First Time Female Director), Tammy Tavares (Days of Our Lives) and Julie Wittner (ACME Saturday Night).

Theater Is Dead is inspired by the all-too-common experience of being an artist taken advantage of by a mentor, and what it means to turn that trauma into female rage. The story follows sheltered Willow (Sadowski), who meets mysterious theater director Matthew Malvaggio (West) when he comes to the isolated island where she lives. She auditions for his play — a modern adaptation of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Women of Trachis — and books the lead role. This launches Willow on a journey of self-discovery under Matthew’s tutelage, as she ignores dangers lurking in the shadows to get closer to her dream.

“When the writers and I were deciding on the best genre to utilize for this story, horror/comedy immediately occurred to us as the right fit,” said Dudas. “I come from a comedy background, and horror would bring the proper stakes to the empowering, feminist message of the film. Both genres rely on a buildup and release, and combining the two has given us the best tools to tell this incredibly important story about an artist’s journey.”

Sadowski shares her own experience in Hollywood. “I always wanted to be an actor, but I didn’t think it was a realistic career choice,” she said. “After graduating engineering school, I turned down a job offer and set out for Los Angeles. I quickly learned that this dream had nightmare-like qualities and after a few years, I was ready to pack it up. When I met Blue, Dudas and Lawlor, we shared similar experiences working with exploitative mentors and decided to make a film about facing these demons (literally). The truth can be shocking and ridiculous, so we embraced all that dark absurdity and hilarity with this film.”

Theater is Dead is produced by Dudas, Sadowski, Blue, Lawlor, Nichols, West and Juan Mas (Z Nation) in association with Zach Mann (1-800-Hot-Nite, Tiger 24, Low Low) of Halfway Crooks Entertainment.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.