Written by Shana Robinson
“The Rocky Horror Show,” directed by Rick Roemer, starts Wednesday, Feb. 25 in the Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones Theatre. The rock ‘n roll musical features Frank-N-Furter, Brad, Janet, Magenta, Riff-Raff and crew as they sing and dance to favorites like “Sweet Transvestite,” “Dammit Janet” and “TimeWarp.”
“Straight up, people should expect a drag show, a rock show and a just all around good time,” Evan Faram, a junior playing the part of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, said.
Junior Michael Balagia, who will play the part of Dr. Everett Scott, said, “People can expect to be offended if they have a delicate sensibility. They can also expect to feel awkward if they are sitting next to their parents.”
One of the least family friendly aspects of “Rocky Horror” is the costumes. The majority of the costumes for the show were made from scratch by the department.
“Costumes will be quite incredible, and in some cases, minimum. There is lots of color, lots of heels, lots of leather and lots of skin,” Faram said.
The complex plot defies a brief summarization. Balagia did not even want to attempt it, and said, “It’s a ridiculous plot, and if I try to describe it, it won’t do it justice.”
The reason people come and see the show is because of how much fun it is for the audience to interact with the cast.
“Because it is such a ridiculous show, it is utterly ridiculous in every way, that just makes it a blast to do and watch,” said Balagia. “It will be exciting. The nature of “Rocky Horror” is that it involves audience participation. There will probably be more at the midnight showing, but it’s “Rocky Horror”…people scream at the movie. It won’t be any different for the show,” Faram added.
Friday, Feb. 27, there will be a special midnight showing of “Rocky Horror,” where audience participation will be at the max. “The midnight showing is going to be like if you’ve ever seen a showing of the film. There is going to be audience shouting, and prop bags to use for interacting with the show,” Balagia explained.
Audience members are encouraged to dress up as their favorite characters because there will be a costume contest judged by the costume and makeup designers. “You can do just about anything except show up in the nude,” Faram said.
Also special to the midnight showing is the trip give-away. Every person in the audience at this showing is eligible to possibly win two Easter New York Theater Tour packages, which include air-fare, hotel and tickets to three Broadway shows.
“We all want the midnight performance to be a big, wild party” said Roemer. “Everybody dressed up and having a great time. The department, in collaboration with Mask & Wig, are providing all the materials for “audience participation” for the midnight performance. All audiences can participate and dress up if they want at any of the other shows, but at the midnight one we are making it mandatory. We want the entire university to come see this show and party with us!”
“Rocky Horror” is clearly supposed to be fun and enjoyable for the audience, but the cast has also had lots of fun working and rehearsing for the show.
“It’s hard to pinpoint one of the most exciting things about working on this musical,” Faram said. “All the rehearsals have been a blast. Because of the excess the show requires, ‘Rocky Horror’ rehearsals have been no hold back. Everything is big and people are surprised at themselves at what they are willing to do.”
Balagia, who acts in a wheelchair, says that one of the biggest challenges for the cast was “walking in heels.” Also, “the set is one of the most complicated ones we’ve ever done.”
He then adds that the actual biggest challenge is meeting the people’s expectation, “because it is such a cult classic, there is a lot to live up to for this show. People are going to come into this show with more expectation than other shows, but I am confident that we will wow the world and knock them off their feet.”
Sophomore Laura Mitchell said that she is excited to see the show for the first time.
“I have never actually seen ‘Rocky Horror.’ I am also excited to see the audience and how they dress up and react during the show” she said.
Faram’s advice for anyone who is attending the show is, “It’s definitely our own show. We didn’t just remake the movie. Have a good time, come prepared to actively enjoy the show. It’s not a show where you come and sit back and passively take in what is being presented to you.”
Showing times are Feb. 25-March 1. The Wednesday and Thursday performances are at 7:00 p.m. The weekend performances are Friday at 8:00 p.m. and midnight, Saturday at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Tickets are available at http://www.southwestern.edu/boxoffice or by calling the SSFA Box Office 512-863-1378.
The cost is Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday Adults: $12, Seniors: $10, Youth/Students: $8. Friday, Saturday Adult: $18, Seniors: $14, Youth/Students: $12. Special midnight showing: $20 for adults and $15 for students. There are discounts available for groups of 15 and more.