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Doin' the Time Warp, again

With a resurgence in mainstream popularity due to the recent Broadway production, the Stage West Community Playhouse presents The Rocky Horror Show.

By JOY DAVIS-PLATT

© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 13, 2001


SPRING HILL -- There's been a light burning at the Frankenstein Place for more than a quarter century.

The Rocky Horror Show premiered on the London stage in 1973 and spawned the cult classic movie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, two years later. Now, enjoying a resurgence in popularity because of a current Broadway production, the show makes its way to Stage West Community Playhouse beginning tonight.

"We are hoping that people will get into the spirit of Rocky Horror and come dressed in costumes," said director Jan Lavin. "This show is all about having a good time."

Rocky Horror is the musical story of a young couple who stumble upon a castle (the Frankenstein Place) full of extraterrestrial cross-dressers and a mad scientist bent on creating the perfect man.

But the show's plot takes a distant back seat to its outlandish characters and catchy riffs.

Brian Dare, president of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Rocky Horror Picture Show Fan Club, says the film and the stage production are connected, but there are some key differences.

Unlike movie crowds that respond to -- and often talk over -- performers' lines, Dare said, theater audiences are bound by rules of etiquette.

"You have to remember that these people are giving a performance and they've worked very hard to prepare," he said. "It just seems rude not to enjoy that for what it is."

Besides, after someone has seen the movie 100 times, there's nothing really new, said Dare, who plays the criminologist at weekend Picture Show performances at the Beach Theater in St. Pete Beach and Halloween performances at the Tampa Theater. But with each live production, performers put their own twist on the play.

Although the uninitiated may take offense at Rocky Horror's overt sexuality and marginal violence, Dare said the show's outlandish plot is just for fun.

"It's extreme," he said. "It's about cross-dressing transvestite cannibals from another planet. Anything else you may have going on in your life pales in comparison."

If you go

A summer special at Stage West, The Rocky Horror Show will run just two weekends, Friday through Sunday. Saturday shows are at 8 p.m.; Sunday shows are at 2 p.m.; curtain is at 8 p.m. today, and the July 20 show is at midnight. Tickets are $14 for adults. The theater's box office is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and one hour before each show. Call 683-5113.

Rocky-props

Of course, the most important thing to bring for any Rocky Horror experience is a carload of friends and a sense of humor. Beyond that, many audience members delight in bringing props.

For Stage West's production, audiences are asked not to bring items from home. Instead, the theater will sell bags containing an assortment of props used during the show for $5. Here is a list of what the props are and when to use them. At no time is it okay to throw anything at the actors or onto the stage.

ACT I

Boa -- Put it on!

Newspaper -- There's a Light (Over at the Frankenstein Place)

When the car gets a flat tire, Brad and Janet walk to the castle. When they get caught in the rain, they cover their heads with a newspaper. You should, too.

Flashlight -- There's a Light (Over at the Frankenstein Place)

When Brad and Janet sing the line "There's a light," turn on your flashlight.

Confetti -- I Can Make You a Man (reprise)

When Frank and Rocky tie the knot and walk down the aisle, throw confetti at the happy couple.

ACT II

Toilet paper -- Dr. Scott's entrance

When Dr. Scott enters, throw a piece of Scott toilet paper.

Playing card -- I'm Going Home

When Frank sings the line "Cards for sorrow, cards for pain," throw your playing card.

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