Oh What a Show

Posted on February 2, 2015


By: Lees Romano


When it comes to pop culture’s most acclaimed cult characters, few loom as terrifyingly and hilariously large as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, the mad, perhaps just misunderstood, doctor/transvestite at the heart of musical-turned-monster-movie spoof “The Rocky Horror Show.”

The musical came to life on stage in the early 1970’s by Richard O’Brien who wrote most of “The Rocky Horror Show” in a single winter. It was made into the film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in 1975 and became a midnight movie hit, starting the tradition of fans dressing as the characters and talking back to the screen while watching the movie. With viewers dressing as Magenta, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Columbia, Brad, Janet, or even Rocky Horror himself, the popularity of the show extended onto the live stage. Playhouse on the Square performed the satirical science fiction production in 1990 and in 1997, even taking a production on a rare tour to Atlanta in 1998.

The iconic screen role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter belongs to Tim Curry, and Jerre Dye, who plays the larger-than-life character in Playhouse’s staging of “The Rocky Horror Show,” has achieved in adding his own personal touches on his role as the not-so-good doctor. Dye likes the way playing Frank-N-Furter makes him feel.

While it’s Dye’s first venture into this musical and perhaps his first time in platform heels, there are a couple of faces in this production that have traveled the time warp from previous shows. One is director Scott Ferguson, who manned the show in 1997. Another is Bill Andrews, reprising his role as the narrator.

Jordan Nichols and Leah Beth Bolton play innocents Brad and Janet, who end up at the doctor’s laboratory on a cold and rainy late night after getting a flat tire. The show has come a long way since the 70’s when audiences were first introduced to Brad the Jerk and Janet the Hussy, Eddie the Rocker, and a host of alien party animals.

Katie Springmann is crafting the scenic design, and the “Rocky Horror” revival set is inspired by a theater under construction. Working in tandem with Springmann, Caleb Blackwell has brought a sci-fi movieland influence to the costuming. There are hints to the movie in each of the costumes, and the chorus and ensemble are all iconic movie silhouettes from different time periods.

Just as fans dress up to view the movie, those who go to the stage production do the same. There are interludes throughout the show in which audience members are invited to participate with the stage actors, including a ritual that requires all audience members who have never seen the production before to go on stage and have a “V” for (“The Rocky Horror Show”) Virgin lipstick-ed onto their cheeks. The cult following of the movie has generated lists of items to bring to a Rocky Horror showing, including, but not limited to, newspapers and water pistols, flashlights and rubber gloves, toilet paper, and toast for various scenes throughout the show.

“The Rocky Horror Show” will run until Feburary 15, at Playhouse on the Square, 66 S. Cooper, 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays.

Posted in: Arts