Sneak Peek: The Rocky Horror Show on Stage

A stage version of <em>Rocky Horror</em>? We’re shivering with antici …
… pation!

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the 1975 cult-classic musical starring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon, is definitely having a moment—it’s that eerie time of year when fans are extra likely to assemble at their local theater at midnight to throw popcorn at the screen and dance the Time Warp. Plus, a new, much-hyped TV version airs on Thursday night on FOX. But you can get even more up-close-and-personal with the live stage production of The Rocky Horror Show coming to the Athenaeum Theatre from October 21 to 29.

Zach Rosing and Zack Neiditch (Z&Z) have seen their recent productions of The Rocky Horror Show named NUVO’s Best Locally Produced Play the last two years in a row. Will this year mark a three-peat?

Rosing anticipates a fun, silly two hours that just “doesn’t get done” by other theaters. Z&Z have found there is an audience for the musical with an insanely devoted cult following, and want to go back to the show’s beginning, when it originated as a musical stage production in London in 1973. In this tribute to classic sci-fi and horror B-movies, innocent sweethearts Brad and Janet, stuck in the rain with a flat tire, stumble upon the bizarre mansion of Dr. Frank N Furter, a transvestite scientist. The Rocky Horror Show (minus the “Picture”) is the same story and songs that fans know and love, but with in-person actors bringing each outlandish character to life.

Scott Keith reprises his role as the iconic “Dr. Frank N Furter,” as does Betsy Norton as “Janet Weiss.” Erin Becker is returning, too, not as “Magenta,” but as “Columbia” this year. Throw in the Madison-dancing Tim Hunt (“Brad Majors”) and the out-of-this-world duo Claire Wilcher (“Magenta”) and Craig Underwood (“Riff Raff”), and you’re in for a different type of Rocky Horror experience that, promises Rosing, you’ve “not seen like this.”

So what keeps the audience coming back to a show that they’ve already seen, possibly to the point of being able to recite the script verbatim? “Most people have only seen the movie, and don’t realize the type of show they are coming into, and are pleasantly surprised once they get here,” says Neiditch. And expect the cast to really vamp it up. “It’s on actors’ bucket lists,” says Rosing. “It’s a chance to put on a wig, high heels, and prance around in your underwear.”

As opening day draws near, tickets are going fast. Leave your toilet paper and newspaper at home—no props are allowed—but costumes are highly encouraged. The show is recommended for ages 13 and up.

Curious? Come up to the lab … and see what’s on the slab.