Let’s do ‘The Time Warp’ again: The Rocky Horror Show set to open at the Vista Theater

Anthony Viola

The Vista Theater in Negaunee is prepped and ready to go for another round of The Rocky Horror Show. The peeling walls of the theater have hosted the live rendition of the cult classic for 14 years.

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“It’s a really good venue for it,” music director and NMU alumnus Matt Mitchell said. “It fits the aesthetic really, really well.” The director of the show, Kristen Halsey, was hard pressed for words to describe the show. “It’s a show that makes no sense,” Halsey said. “It’s a story of a couple that just got engaged at someone’s wedding, and they are going to go see their former professor and their tire blows, and shenanigans happen after that.”

Those shenanigans revolve around the proprietor of a Gothic castle, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, who is in the midst of changing scientific history. Like his name alludes, he is attempting to create a perfect human specimen. Where Rocky’s plot deviates from the classic romantic novel, the doctor is a transvestite hailing from, aptly described, transsexual Transylvania.

Frank-N-Furter holds the allegiance of many… servants, who help with the doctor’s experiments and aid in the expansion their numbers.

“They’re basically trying to seduce other people to make their group bigger,” sophomore music education major Eliisa Gladwell said, who plays Janet. The fishnet, high heel, corset wearing doctor sets the tone for an overtly sexual affair.

Although the show has strong sexual content and may seem to be directed at a certain type of audience, looking at you, you deviants, it still has an appeal to every temperament of person. Alfred Keefer, executive director of the Peninsula Arts Appreciation Counsel, which owns and operates the Vista Theater, said he remembers a pair of old ladies that once came to Rocky.

“The show got done and they were walking out and they got this look on their face and I asked them, I said ‘Well ladies, did you enjoy the show?’ and they looked at me, ‘Enjoy it? Next year we’re dressing up,’ and they were like 70, 80 years old,” Keefer said.

Dressing up has been a long standing tradition for Rocky Horror.

Audience members often come dressed in their finest corsets and fishnets or as one of their favorite characters from the show.

If gratuitous sexuality wasn’t enough to draw in the crowd, the show is seductive to a prospective audience member because they are as much a part of the show as the cast.

“There’s a lot of callback lines,” Mitchell said. “There’s almost an equal amount of lines that the audience is expected to shout back versus the lines the actors deliver, and they throw a lot of things around, and everybody gets up and sings and dances ‘The Time Warp’ in the aisles.”

Gladwell said the audience plays an important part of the show and she is excited for them to finally show up and complete the story.

But don’t let the pressure of not knowing those callback lines get you down.

Keefer offers some advice to the virgins of the show.

“Dress up, have a good time, just be prepared for a wild circus ride,” Keefer said.

The Rocky Horror Show opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, and runs through Halloween with shows at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, 25, 29, 30 and 31 at the Vista Theater in Negaunee. There are midnight shows on Saturday, Oct. 25 and Halloween. Tickets are available at the door, The Vista Theater thrift shop, Johnson’s Drug in Ishpeming, Kolor 2 Dye 4 in Marquette and Snowbound Books.

Visit www.vistatheater.org for more details.