"The Rocky Horror Show” is “a celebration of all that’s weird and different,” says Rick Robinson, managing director of Oregon Cabaret Theatre.
"Audiences continue to connect with the campy cult classic because they can let their freak flags fly," he says.
OCT is remounting “The Rocky Horror Show” — the company’s unabashed hit of 2016 — for seven performances. The production features 80 percent of the cast, costumes and props from last year.
The wildly funny musical will run at 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Oct. 22-23; 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27; and 8 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 29-31, at OCT, on the corner of First and Hargadine streets in Ashland.
The house will open at 7 p.m. for 8 p.m. shows and 10:30 p.m. for 11 p.m. shows. Appetizers, desserts and beverages will be available, but dinner will not be offered for this production. Reservations are required.
Tickets are $36 for the 11 p.m. shows. There are two ticket options for the 8 p.m. performances: $36 or $22 for high top and second balcony seating. Student rush tickets — subject to availability — may be purchased for $10, 30 minutes before curtain. Tickets and information are available at oregoncabaret.com or by calling 541-488-2902.
Valerie Rachelle returns this year as the show’s director.
For those few souls who aren’t in the know, “The Rocky Horror Show” is both rock 'n' roll tribute to and comic send-up of the silly, yet taken ever-so seriously science fiction and horror B movies that haunted screens in the late 1940s through the early '70s. It’s the story of Brad and Janet, who are stranded at an eerie mansion where punk rock-costumed characters parade in and out, and Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a mad transvestite scientist, who is toasting his perfect man — a gorgeous, muscled hunk named Rocky.
"The Rocky Horror Show,” with music, lyrics and book by Richard O’Brien, has been an occult favorite since it premiered in London in 1973. The show closed in 1980 after 2,960 performances. Its 1974 debut at the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles had a successful nine-month run and earned a Tony nomination and three Drama Desk nominations.
The musical, which has remained in almost continuous production, was adapted into the 1975 film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Although panned by critics, it became known as a "midnight movie” with fans showing up in costume. Dressed as characters in the show, audiences mimic the action on screen and on stage, lip-sync dialogue and sing along. More than four decades later, audiences are still as much a part of the show as the actors on stage.
Robinson first witnessed the phenomenon of a live performance of “The Rocky Horror Show” in 2015.
"It was unlike anything I’d ever seen,” he says.
And, yet, he was still thunderstruck that last year’s OCT production was a massive hit.
The popularity of both the stage and film renditions caused a tidal wave of response, he says.
Remounting the show is an effort to reach out to theater-goers who missed out last year when every performance sold out before opening night.
"It was a raucous good time," Robinson says. "Folks came in costume ready to participate. All of which makes the show even better."
"It was magic last year, the way people responded,” Rachelle says. “We had terrific, full houses every night.”
With audiences dancing in the aisles, it was like a rock concert with both actors and audiences the rock stars.
Reprising their roles are Galloway Stevens as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Tony Carter as Rocky, Valerie Rachelle as Eddie, Amanda Andersen as Janet, Kristen Calvin as Magenta, and George Herkert as the Narrator. Nathan Monks, who played Dr. Scott last year, is recast as Riff Raff. Joining the cast are Galen Schloming (Brad), Mia Gaskin (Columbia) and Alex Boyles (Dr. Scott).
"The Rocky Horror Show” owes its Ashland following to an atmosphere that welcomes audiences to have fun and be crazy together, Rachelle says.
There is a group mindset to just be silly.
"The appeal is we are free to be,” she says.