Weekender

Millbrook Playhouse takes on cult classic “The Rocky Horror Show”

The cast of Millbrook Playhouse’s “The Rocky Horror Show” poses during a recent rehearsal.
The cast of Millbrook Playhouse’s “The Rocky Horror Show” poses during a recent rehearsal. Photo provided

Following a summer of sold-out shows like “The Marvelous Wonderettes” and critical successes such as “The Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash,” Millbrook Playhouse in Mill Hall is about to get into the Halloween spirit with “The Rocky Horror Show.”

“The Rocky Horror Show” is a musical that was adapted into the 1975 film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which has the longest-running release in film history. A humorous tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the late 1940s through the early 1970s, the musical tells the story of a newly engaged couple getting caught in a storm and coming to the home of a mad transvestite scientist unveiling his new creation, a muscle man named Rocky Horror. It includes timeless classics, such as “Sweet Transvestite,” “Damn it Janet” and “Time Warp.”

Presented at Millbrook’s Ryan Main Stage Theatre and Poorman Courtyard, the production stars Jake Evans as Brad, Katrina Diehm as Janet, Catherine DeLuce as Magenta, Brad Foster Reinking as Dr. Frank ’n’ Furter, Charles Walljasper Robinson as Rocky and many more.

Brad is your typical ’50s young man, with his heart set on marrying the right girl and having the perfect American life. He’s also a bit of a nerd with a penchant for the sciences.

“Brad is a pretty conservative guy, who doesn’t really want to deal with things outside of what he considers to be the norm,” Evans said. “He does, however, have hopes of being that ideal man of the times, protector of his girl, and the man with all of the answers.”

“Janet starts off as your typical, all-American, housewife-to-be from the ’50s; but she quickly finds that to change as the show starts to move along,” Diehm said. “Janet is not afraid to go after what she wants.”

Over the years, Halloween has become the adult Christmas, as more and more people are going all out for the holiday. Because of that, Producing Artistic Director David Leidholdt believes it’s the perfect time of the year to present this show.

“We did a survey and our patrons had stated that they wanted us to extend our season, so what better than “Rocky Horror” at Halloween time in an old converted theater?” he said. “What I think is so unique about this musical is that it was first a stage show and there is nothing more exhilarating then a live theater experience.”

As always, Leidholdt wants to make going to see a show at Millbrook a once in a lifetime opportunity, so they will honor the movie, while putting their own spin on the show.

“I also feel that the show is more than participation; it is the collective and shared experience of the group seeing the ‘Rocky Horror Show,’ ” he said. “People love ‘Rocky’ because it’s part tragedy, but it’s also a comedy and musical. It is cruel and poignant, campy and entreating — something for everyone.”

For Diehm, “The Rocky Horror Show” can be best summed up with one line from the show: “Give yourself over to absolute pleasure.”

“This show is about being in a fun and crazy environment for a night,” she said. “ ‘Rocky Horror’ is a cult classic. We want all people to jump into the time warp and rock out.”

“The Rocky Horror Show” lives in a world that is so unlike our own that the suspension of disbelief is almost a character in the show itself. In Evans’ mind, this cult classic is about fun, classic horror movies, awakenings and just giving yourself over to the absolute insanity.

“The Rocky Horror Show’ is an absolute ride that you just have to get on and go with,” he said. “The audience should leave this show having had a great time just enjoying themselves and what they’ve experienced. Hopefully we’ll have some veterans of the show, as well as some newbies to the whole spectacle, all of whom will leave thinking, ‘What a ride!’ ”

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