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'Nevermore' - Jeffrey Combs Is Edgar Allen Poe

'Nevermore' - Jeffrey Combs Is Edgar Allen Poe In A One Man Play

Jeffery Combs has to be one of our favorite Star Trek actors of all time.  He has played 9 different roles in the Star Trek universe and now you can see him in his one man show playing poet Edgar Allen Poe.  Called 'Nevermore . . . An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe', Jeffery will continue playing Poe Fridays & Saturdays at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood until September 26th. (thanks to reader Elisa for the corrections)

Below is an excerpt from the excellent L.A. Times article detailing Jeffery's performance. Check out the rest of the article which gives good insight into his roll in the sci-fi / horror genres and how originally made it in hollywood.

Edgar Allan Poe is reciting his poem "The Raven." Well, reciting may be too tame a word. Poe (a.k.a. Jeffrey Combs) is creeping, cowering and gesticulating his way through a rendition that begins with aplomb but soon descends into a frenzy fueled by the author's broken heart, unsteady mind and fondness for whiskey. As Poe utters the final line, the audience at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood erupts into applause. Who knew such a famously morbid man could be so entertaining? Indeed, the humanity -- and humor -- in Combs' portrayal is one reason "Nevermore . . . An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe" has enjoyed full houses and ecstatic reviews. Another is the deftness with which the play pokes holes in the popular image of the 19th century writer. "Everyone seems to think they know Poe's story, but they usually get something wrong," says Combs during lunch at his home in suburban Ventura County. "He's really a complex guy. He could be sweet and stern, articulate and falling-down drunk. The complete human condition, albeit to extremes."

Combs hopes his one-man show -- which has been extended through Sept. 26 -- will make people think differently about not only its subject but its star. Even though his roots are in theater, the 54-year-old actor is best known as a horror movie hero and TV space alien. He became a splatter icon after appearing in the 1985 cult classic "Re-Animator" as Herbert West, a medical student obsessed with bringing the dead -- and their assorted body parts -- to life. He also has created deliciously nasty or conniving characters for several "Star Trek" spinoffs.

"Horror and sci-fi have been good to me, and the fans are wonderful," Combs says. "But I pride myself on being a versatile actor, which I hope comes through here."

Combs, a history buff, became intrigued with the idea of playing Poe about four years ago after noticing the two men were the same size (5-feet-8) and believing few had successfully dramatized the author's story. Gordon and Paoli reimagined Poe's story "The Black Cat" -- with Poe (Combs) as the protagonist -- for a 2007 episode of Showtime's "Masters of Horror."

Combs was so convincing that Gordon suggested he do a one-man show. The veteran film director has an eye for theatrical potential, having co-founded Chicago's Organic Theater Company, whose many original worksinclude David Mamet's "Sexual Perversity in Chicago."

Combs, Gordon and Paoli conceived "Nevermore" as a public appearance by Poe in 1848, a year after the death of his beloved wife and a year before his own mysterious demise at 40. Instead of a typical "I-did-this-then-that" bio format, the writer's life is revealed in nonlinear glimpses. "It's like peeling an onion," says Gordon.

The evening showcases some of Poe's popular works as well as his internal demons, including his penchant for self-sabotage and his rage and regret at gaining fame but neither wealth nor the respect of his peers.

Combs sees Poe as a comrade of the mad scientists and space villains in his "rogues' gallery" of characters. "I guess I have the ability to play people you love to hate or hate to love."

"In 'Nevermore,' " he says, "we bring you this tortured individual in all his colors."

That's why the play ends with a bravura performance of "The Raven." "We can't have you go away without hope," Combs explains. "We want to show that Poe can rally and be everything we want and expect, everything about him that made us laugh and cry and cringe." (source L.A. Times)

Read the full article here.

More info can be found at the Steve Allen Theater website here.

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