Arts » Theater + Dance

Rocky Horror Show returns to Indy stage with a few twists

A sneak peak of what's different from the movie and past productions


  • Zach Rosing

Maybe you shiver with antici...pation every time you think of Tim Curry as Dr. Frank N. Furter, you know when to jump to the left or take a step to the right during "Time Warp" and you get a little misty-eyed when you hear "I'm Going Home."

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, the director, producer, and cast of The Rocky Horror Show won't judge you during their performance at the Athenaeum Theatre, which opened on October 21.

"You don't have to know anything about the movie to have a good time," says the show's producer Zach Rosing, who produced the show for Footlite in 2012 and again on his own in 2014. "You don't have to come in costume, you don't have to do any of that crazy stuff, nothing will be done to you."

  • Zach Rosing

"No virgin sacrifices," adds director Zack Neiditch, referencing something that happens to first-time filmgoers when they attend the film screenings that feature the shadow casts. Neiditch also worked on the 2012 and 2014 productions of the stage production.

"But we also don't discourage anybody who wants to get crazy and do all that kind of stuff," adds Rosing.

But for someone who hasn't seen the stage show, they want to lay a few ground rules.

To start, the musical is not going to be an exact replica of the film. Some of the scenes and the songs are different than the movie.
  • Zach Rosing

Part of that is because it's a stage production, so there are limits to what can be done, but because the musical, which had a successful run in London from 1973 to 1980, before the movie first hit theaters in 1975, has always been a slightly different show.

As far as audience participation, Rosing says, "We'd get a lot of people who are shouting things throughout the show. That can be interesting for an actor to deal with. We never quite know how extreme or not it's going to be. I think people quickly get a feel as to what's appropriate or what's not for a live production. It's always different every night."

They've also cast a woman, Joanna Winston, in the role of Eddie, who is portrayed by Meatloaf, a man, in the film. Winston will also play Dr. Scott.

"It's just a place to have fun and get another woman on stage," says Neiditch. "I love drag in general, and as much as I love drag queens, I also love drag kings. If that can be done successfully as to where people are a little confused as to what is going on, that's good." He adds that it is their "artistic choice."

The look of this show will be different from the movie and past productions, thanks to the work of scenic designer Andrew Darr, lighting designer Michael Moffatt, costume design by Ashley Kiefer and Andrea Bear of Peachy Keen Costuming and hair and makeup and wig designer Daniel Klingler.

Klingler, who worked on the 2012 and 2014 productions, says he wanted everyone to have a different look from the film characters, including purple hair and a beard for Frank N. Furter (Scott Keith, who reprises his role from 2014); a mannequin-esque, plastic look for Columbia (Erin Becker, who played Magenta in the 2014 production); a steampunk look for Magenta (Claire Wilcher); and a gender-fluid look among the cast.

  • Zach Rosing

"My bigger thing is creating individuality and texture, as well as balance," says Klingler, who says this production is more "professional and conceptual than the shadow casts who try to copy the movie. We can think outside the box."

Considering the stage show and film premiered more than 40 years ago, says Neiditch, "It is bizarre to me it is so popular. ... But if you've been to a midnight showing, it is the epitome of counterculture, that underlying, hidden urge everyone has got to be a little nastier ... More than it being a show, it is an experience. You hear so many people say, 'I've never seen Rocky Horror, in a way that they should have seen this show by now. When it came time for casting, even a lot of the actors said, 'I've never done Rocky before,' so all of a sudden it's also their rite of passage."


This Week's Flyers

Around the Web