Plenty of chances for a Halloween tradition
Two area venues have weekend performances of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’
Anyone hankering for a Halloween treat should consider the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Although far more funny than scary, “Rocky Horror” moves front and center on two stages this weekend. In addition, if horror looks more appealing on a flat screen rather than in person, FOX is presenting a fresh new version, starring “Orange Is The New Black” star Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank N. Furter, tonight at 8 p.m. The movie’s original star, Tim Curry, will return as the narrator of the television show, now sub-titled “Let’s Do the Time Warp.”
“Rocky Horror Picture Show” follows an innocent, newly engaged couple, Brad and Janet, as they seek shelter at a dark, old castle after their car breaks down on a dark and stormy night. Their encounter with Dr. Frank N. Furter, his creation Rocky and an assortment of crazy creatures gives the audience quite an eyeful and earful of offbeat entertainment.
On one stage, “Rocky” will return to the Pajama Factory, 1307 Park Ave., this weekend, with 7 p.m. performances tonight, Friday and Saturday, and additional 11 p.m. shows Friday and Saturday.
On another stage, while the weather outside is nippy, it is pleasantly warm upstairs at Millbrook Playhouse, 258 Country Club Lane, Mill Hall, as the 2016 version of “Rocky” unfolds — make that explodes — on the Main Stage. Richard O’Brien’s warped rock musical has 7:30 p.m. performances tonight, Friday and Saturday, with 11 p.m. shows Friday and Saturday at the old barn theater. Theatergoers approaching the box-office will see a poster alert: “Rocky Horror Show is not recommended for those easily offended. We handle mature matters in immature ways.”
While the poster also cautions that the song lyrics for the show may also make it “not everyone’s cup of tea,” no one at one of last weekend’s performance needed that alert. The good-sized audience talked back to the actors, chanted a bit of the lyrics, recited some of the dialogue, laughed at the expletives — all of which is encouraged — and waved their wands and threw confetti and playing cards from the “prop bags” handed out to audiences on their way in.
After last year’s successful “summer stock in the fall” fundraiser, artistic director David Leidholdt and the board of directors undoubtedly realized that although some of Millbrook’s traditional patrons raised their eyebrows in dismay at this production, there still is a very strong following — including much younger theatergoers – for this campy show based upon the 1975 movie.
Although the storyline is not always coherent, the Millbrook production clicks on every level. Special attention must be paid to the designers, with some outstanding work on the set and lighting. There is a wild array of colorful costumes, with racy outfits for the girls and high heels and fishnet stockings displayed by a couple of men. Riff Raff, with his leather corset and silver-beaded leggings, is a sight to behold.
But it is Brad Foster Reinking, reprising his role as Dr. Frank N. Furter, who gives an electrifying performance. Flaunting his role as the mad scientist, the fun-loving, hard-partying Reinking struts around, hitting and holding high notes while singing many of the show’s score.
There are at least a half dozen actors, including some back from this summer’s shows, who also raise this production to a high level with their energetic singing, dancing and bits of raw humor.
Alexandra Frost is the damsel in distress, Janet; Rachael Marie Synder is Magenta, with James Cella as her brother (and lover) Riff Raff; Nicholas Miller plays Rocky, the mad doctor’s “perfect” creation; and Christina Kidd is Columbia, and the show’s dance captain, with Brett Epsteinn funny in handling the narrator chores.
Charlotte Evans is music director, with Alex Perez choreographing the frequent crazy, dance movements. Seth F. Wollam plays the saxophone and conducts the band playing the rock score including “Sweet Transvesite,” “Hot Patootie,” “Damn it, Janet” and the pulsating “Time Warp.”
With a running time of slightly less than two hours, Matt Spencer encourages the audience before the show and during intermission to interact and invites them to join him on stage. But it is Leidholdt, who in directing this show, has inserted some new faces plus a giving a fresh look and lots of zest. To this production. Millbrook’s “Rocky Horror” has lots of maniacal momentum and is simply scintillating.
For more information or to buy ticket, visit www.millbrookplayhouse.org