With Halloween just around the corner, there are a lot of events people are anticipating: trick-or-treating, haunted houses and, of course, doing the “Time Warp” in the aisles at the Vista’s ninth annual production of “The Rocky Horror Show.”
For those out there who have yet to be initiated into the world of “Rocky Horror” the story follows newly engaged Brad and Janet who, after attending a wedding, decide to visit a mutual friend. The tire on their car blows out on the way there and they must ask for help at a nearby castle. Once inside, they realize the help they are to receive is more than they bargained for. Throughout the night Brad and Janet are held captive and tempted by a mad scientist named Dr. Frank-N-Furter and his new creation, Rocky Horror.
With a production every year, keeping the same story fresh may be a challenge, but director John Everson, who has directed this show once before, plans to change it up by making the show closer to what people remember from the film adaptation of the original stage musical.
“This year what I’m really trying to do is bring it back, not necessarily to the movie, but closer to the movie. Just to give people a taste of what they loved from [it],” Everson said. “In my mind the whole time I was directing the show was this little tagline going on in my head, which was ‘Rocky like they remember, but like they’ve never seen before,'” Everson said.
Although putting on a musical can be challenging, especially one with such a cult-following as “Rocky Horror,” Everson said the collaboration between everyone has made it truly enjoyable and rewarding.
“Everyone working together and everybody working toward the common cause of putting on this show is just amazing to me,” Everson said.
NMU Alum Bobby Glenn Brown said that although he has played the character of Frank-N-Furter six times now, there’s always something different with each production.
“Each [director] brings their own mix to it and I think that makes it fun. A lot of odd and fun things have happened over the years with the different concepts,” Brown said.
If Brown is the quintessential Frank- N-Furter, it may be because he was introduced to the film when he was relatively young. Brown recalled when “Rocky Horror” was shown in Jamrich 102 through Gonzo Media when he was still a senior in high school.
According to Brown, his friends called him up to go see a movie and then informed him that they had his costume and makeup ready for him to wear. This confused Brown as he had no idea what he was about to get himself into.
“So, I dressed up,” Brown said. “I had the lab coat and the Frank-N-Furter makeup. People on campus freaked out and I fell in love with the movie.”
One of the more unique aspects of “Rocky Horror” is the fact that the audience itself is a part of the play just as much as the people on stage are. With everything from pieces of toast to rice to noisemakers, the audience will throw items around the theater while shouting out sarcastic comments in relation to a character’s lines of dialogue.
While this piece of the play may be intimidating to those on stage, senior secondary education English major Curtiss O’Rorke Stedman, who plays the titular role, thinks the opposite.
“It makes it less formal. I know I’m going to be trying to have as great a time as possible. If they’re throwing stuff then it just takes the edge off a little bit,” Stedman said.
Although Stedman had never seen the movie or the stage play, he was encouraged to audition by the director after he met him at an open mic night at Flannigan’s bar. Afterward, Stedman rented the movie to see what he was getting himself into. He then proceeded to audition and won the part of “Rocky Horror.”
As part of the character, Stedman must wear what he refers to as “a glorified gold speedo” in front of the entire audience for the vast majority of the play.
“I kind of freaked out. There’s a lot of touching in the play, as well, and that part we had a month and a half to get know about 13 people very intimately,” Stedman said. “It’s been a whirlwind of emotions and a great step to becoming self-confident.”
According to Stedman, this year the Vista will offer a VIP service, which includes a bag containing all props an audience member will need to throw throughout the show. VIP members will also be able to wait inside of the lobby instead of outside. To obtain VIP status, one need only purchase their ticket in advance from any E-Z ticket outlet and have Stedman sign it.
“The Rocky Horror Show” will play at the Vista Theatre in Negaunee on Oct. 22-24 and 29- 31. Each performance starts at 7:30 p.m. with special midnight showings on Oct. 24 and 31. Doors open half an hour before each performance. Tickets can be purchased at an E-Z ticket outlet and are $12 for showings at 7:30 p.m. and $15 for a midnight performance.