Weekender

Millbrook Playhouse to put its spin on cult classic

Brad Foster Reinking will reprise his role as Dr. Frank ’N’ Furter for this year’s Millbrook Playhouse production of “The Rocky Horror Show.”
Brad Foster Reinking will reprise his role as Dr. Frank ’N’ Furter for this year’s Millbrook Playhouse production of “The Rocky Horror Show.” Photo provided

With Halloween just around the corner, get ready for a night of fun, frolics and frivolity as Millbrook Playhouse and Producing Artistic Director David Leidholdt once again present Richard O’Brien’s “The Rocky Horror Show” in Mill Hall.

The story follows squeaky-clean sweethearts Brad and Janet on an adventure they’ll never forget, with the scandalous Dr. Frank ’N’ Furter, rippling Rocky and vivacious Magenta. The musicial includes classics such as “Sweet Transvestite,” “Damn it Janet” and “Time Warp.”

In the role of Janet is Alexandra Frost.

“Janet is portrayed as the stereotypical good girl — very wholesome — but she has a yearning to rebel that hasn’t been awakened yet, until she meets Frank,” Frost said. “Taking a walk on the wild side is exciting and sometimes you just have to take that ‘step to the right.’ ”

Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter, played by Brad Foster Reinking, is an alien/mad scientist who descended to Planet Earth to build a zombie. Frank ‘N’ Furter is trying to live his life to the fullest and will stop at nothing to have a good time, but he has had so many that he doesn’t know how to connect with people anymore.

“He struggles with his relationship with Columbia, he struggled with his relationship with Eddy and now he has built Rocky in hopes that he can finally have a partner in his wacky little world,” Reinking said. “But he gets so overcome with emotion and anger and fear that he doesn’t know how to deal with others anymore.”

Because it is Millbrook’s off season, preparation for this production has been much different, with no full-time staff on site.

“The actors have all performed for us before, so it’s a great group of people who are used to the space and the short process,” Leidholdt said. “Luckily, I have a great loyal group who love the playhouse and love ‘Rocky Horror.’ ”

The process for this year’s show is especially fun for the cast, as they are changing it up from last year’s production.

“While we did ‘Rocky’ last year, we’re not just taking that production out of mothballs and throwing it back up — we are doing a whole new production,” Reinking said. “We have a mostly new cast filled with Millbrook favorites, a new concept and new costumes — new everything.”

Reinking believes the reason that “The Rocky Horror Show” has stayed such a phenomenon for 40 years is because it allows people from all backgrounds to come out of their shell and have a good time.

“For all of the campy and crazy, at the center of ‘Rocky Horror’ is a giant heart,” he said. “There is so much love in the original movie, it’s so clear that everyone working on it was having such a great time. The characters are all so iconic now, and ‘Rocky Horror’ is still such a huge part of popular culture.”

Frost thinks “The Rocky Horror Show” is particularly special because it gives a lot of people a feeling of home.

“It has such a huge following and with that it gives people so many wonderful memories of ‘Rocky Horror,’ ” she said. “ ‘Rocky Horror’ embraces everyone’s oddities and allows you to let go. People find comfort in the show — I know I do.”

For Reinking, the big message of “Rocky Horror” is that you are special exactly as you are, whatever you have going on in your life.

“All of the characters in the show are flawed and at a crossroads in their lives, and Frank’s castle is where they explore the questions they have,” he said. “I hope our production acts as a vehicle for our audiences to do the same thing — find the joy in their lives no matter what they’re going through and escape from reality for a while.”

“The message we are all trying to convey is to embrace yourself,” Frost said. “Don’t be ashamed of any part of you or judge yourself for wanting to do something that isn’t the norm.”

Leidholdt never likes to copy what other productions have done and thinks this production will have its own unique feel.

“I always like the experience to feel like a once in a lifetime event,” he said. “With something like ‘Rocky Horror’ it’s hard to vary from the movie too much as it’s so ingrained in everyone’s mind. We will once again take our own spin to it but pay honor to the movie.”

“We have a really cool twist on the traditional ‘Rocky Horror’ material, and I think the audience is going to love it — even though it’s a little different from what they might be used to,” Reinking said. “My hope for the audience is that they can escape from their everyday lives for a couple of hours and let us transport you to the world of ‘Rocky Horror,’ where you are free to release your inner spirit. Prepare for the unexpected.”

“The world is so crazy right now, so this show truly is an escape from the norm,” Leidholdt said. “I hope the audience comes in ready to go on a ride and has so much fun that maybe they will be a little more accepting of everyone’s freaky side.”

“The audience will come away with their faces melted off because of the fiercely amazing high rock belting,” Frost said. “This cast and production team at the Millbrook Playhouse has so much heart and passion for the show and for the theatre that I think that the audience will come away feeling the pure love that we have for the show.”

IF YOU GO

  • What: Millbrook Playhouse’s “The Rocky Horror Show”
  • When: Oct. 13-Oct. 22
  • Where: Millbrook Playhouse, 258 Country Club Lane, Mill Hall
  • Info: www.millbrookplayhouse .net
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