A Penny for Thought: Suggestions For The Rocky Horror Show

Did you know that in Europe the stage show production of The Rocky Horror Show is more frequently performed and is better known than the movie version?

Did you know that also in the stage version, there is no dinner scene?

Typically there’s no throwing toast here either. But the storyline for the stage show is generally the same.

People are talking on and around campus and the buzzword is The Rocky Horror Show. Everyone’s interest is growing as people start to realize that opening night for Western’s University Players’ production is not too far ahead. Scheduled for February 27- March 3, the cast, crew and directors are preparing for an exciting and unusual theatrical performance.

As for the show, the original script for RHS is not quite the same as the movie production, which is what most people have seen or heard. While the audience can expect familiar costumes and setting, they should be reminded that this is live theatre and every performance is different.

Dr. Richard Beam, director, said, “We are consciously trying to not imitate the movie. I don’t want people to be too disappointed, but I hope that people will go with us in that we are doing the stage version based on the script. That’s the joy of live theatre. It also comes with the differences that happen when you go from one medium to another.”

Because of the differences in stage vs. movie production, some of the kinds of movie audience participation won’t apply or are inappropriate for the stage production.

“Audience members have to be concerned for the safety of the actors,” Beam said. “I want to encourage everyone to have fun because this is a ‘marvelously fun and satirical rock-n-roll show,’ but be aware that the aisles of Hoey are narrow and allow for minimum movement.”

Dr. Beam advises audience members to come watch the play and get a feel for the building once before trying audience participation. It’s also important to be aware that the timing as well as some dialogue is different in the stage production.

While theatergoers need to start thinking about the safety issues surrounding the upcoming production, they should also get ready for a much-anticipated performance.

“Publishers released amateur rights to do the show only about a year ago,” Beam said enthusiastically. “We (University Players) are very excited to get the opportunity to be one of the first groups to perform Rocky Horror.”

The cast and crew are currently in the process of searching out props and putting together costumes. They are also learning music, choreography, and lines. While set ideas and costumes are still evolving, it is all just part of the magic and creativity of theatre.

Dr. Beam also stated, “Our hope is that if the audience finds that we are enjoying ourselves in this production, they will enjoy it as well.”

The cast includes several familiar faces as well as a few that have never performed on Western’s stage. There is also a returning alumnus, Kevin Billings, who will play Frank ‘N’ Furter. Brad will be played by Daniel Weger, along with Emily Wood as Janet. Serenity Richards will perform the famous Magenta, Bobbie Baker is Riff-Raff, Daniel Strouble is the Narrator, and Courtney Becknell is Columbia.

Other characters include:

· Rocky – Damien Marts

· Eddie – Josh Ellis

· Dr. Scott – Heather Smidt

· Phantoms – Scott Needham, Courtney Tyson, Cherie Vass, and Crystal Waters.

To give insight into some of the differences in this stage production, consider the following:

· The opening sequence, “Science Fiction, Double Feature,” is sung by an usherette.

· During the first three songs, back-up vocals are sung by “phantoms” located in various places in the theatre and audience.

· The songs “Time Warp” and “Sweet Transvestite” are in the reverse order in the original plays, though later productions have used the movie sequence.

· Frank’s big “creation scene” speech varies from the movie.

But these are just a few of the differences, and audiences should remember that the opportunity to see Rocky Horror should not be missed. Keep your eyes open for more updates with the progress of the show as opening night approaches.