Curtain Call: Skyline Creek Productions’ The Rocky Horror Show

Curtain Call: Skyline Creek Productions’ The Rocky Horror Show
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Hangar 9
Marion Cultural and Civic Center

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Curtain Call: Skyline Creek Productions’ The Rocky Horror Show

Who: Skyline Creek Productions
What: Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show (live theater/performance art)
When: 2015-10-22 - 2015-10-31
Forty-two years since The Rocky Horror Show and forty years since The Rocky Horror Picture Show firs
Jeff Hale

Forty-two years since The Rocky Horror Show and forty years since The Rocky Horror Picture Show first transported fans to the delectable darkness of Transsexual Transylvania, local troupe Skyline Creek Productions invites those looking to step into the Time Warp a chance to celebrate with performances on Halloween weekend, October 30 and 31 at 7 p.m. and midnight at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center.

In addition to the four performances on Halloween weekend, the hard-working cast will also provide a preview performance Thursday, October 22 at the Hangar 9 to inspire interest in the upcoming production and preshow fun for those anticipating the upcoming full productions. Fans of the musical and movie are invited to dress up as their favorite Rocky Horror characters, or just come in their favorite costumes, and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with cast members as they belt out karaoke versions of classic numbers from the score in a Rocky Horror karaoke contest. The singing contest will result in prizes given to the best performances. The event at Hangar 9 is free, and Hamblin hopes that those who can’t wait for Halloween will show up to get a little taste of everyone’s favorite kitschy musical.

The cult classic, a satirical tribute to the popular science fiction and B-horror films of the 1930s through the 1960s, tells the hilarious and deliciously frightening tale of a young couple stranded in a rainstorm who find themselves trapped in the castle of Dr. Frank-n-Furter, a mad transvestite scientist on the cusp of unveiling his greatest invention, an engineered, fully grown and physically perfect muscle god named Rocky Horror.

With its outrageous costumes and infectious score (including audience favorites “Dammit Janet,” “Sweet Transvestite,” “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me,” “Hot Patootie— Bless My Soul,” and the now iconic “Time Warp”), the show became a favorite with audiences who flocked to performances again and again until they knew lyrics and lines by heart. Audience participation soon became a key part of The Rocky Horror Show’s unique charm, and quickly elevated the musical to cult status.

By 1975, Bray Studios had purchased the rights to the iconic show, and employed original lyricist and composer Richard O’Brien and Jim Sharman to create the highly anticipated film version of the stage juggernaut. The film quickly became known as the midnight movie, with audience members showing up in outrageous costumes parodying the onscreen characters, singing along to their favorite songs, and repeating and responding to the cast’s iconic lines. A cult film classic was born.

This Halloween marks the fourth consecutive year that Skyline Creek has invited audiences to don their best Rocky Horror attire, kick up their heals, and join in the moonlight madness. The show has drawn crowds of hundreds to the Marion Cultural and Civic Center, and this year the Rocky Horror fun will take on a new dimension as the cast gives anxious Rocky Horror heads a taste of what’s to come.

Music director Derek M. Hamblin finds himself at a loss to explain just what first-time audience members (virgins!, as they are affectionately called by fans) will encounter at the performances.

“I don’t think there’s any way I can describe this!” Hamblin laughs. “We’ve got brand-new costumes this year and a brand-new set this year. We’ve got a cast of sixteen and a live rock orchestra. Everything is live— live singing, acting, and dancing. We’re just trying to give audiences Rocky the way that it should be. There’s no miming or lip-synching. It’s the complete live performance. And we never know what’s going to happen.”

Hamblin says the annual performance has experienced increased ticket sales every year, a testimony to The Rocky Horror Show’s ongoing popularity.

“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” Hamblin says. “I remember when we did it the first year, I think we had twelve people in the cast. Last year, I think we had twenty-five. And the audience just keeps getting bigger, too. Attendance has more than doubled. Last year, we had over seven-hundred people at one show alone. We had lines coming out of the Marion Civic Center and stretching down the side of the Civic Center. It’s grown to have a really, really big following. Everything is fun about it. For me, as a musician, the most fun is actually being on stage, performing a show that is known by so many people. They audiences are always yelling out the responses, and that makes them a part of our show as well.”

For the cast and live orchestra, the spontaneity that has made The Rocky Horror Show a favorite with audiences does present unique challenges. However, according to Hamblin, those challenges are as rewarding for the cast as the laughter and joy that the performance brings its crowds.

“We never know what might happen,” Hamblin says. “We know our lines, we know our blocking, we know the songs and the dances, but when we put that audience in the middle of it, we never know what they’re going to say or how they’re going to respond to what we’re doing. That adrenaline is the most fun. When we say it’s The Rocky Horror Show Live!, live is what we mean. It can change scene to scene. It’s so exciting, and it keeps you on your toes. There are a lot of people who never get to see it live— they have to go and watch the movie. It’s amazing to be able to have that live audience there and use them to draw energy for the show.”

Fans who know The Rocky Horror Picture Show but have never had the chance to experience the stage show that inspired the film will have special fun discovering the live magic, especially in musical numbers left out of the film’s score, like “Once in Awhile” or “The Charles Atlas Song,” which became “I Can Make You a Man” on the silver screen. Hamblin says those little contrasts will be interesting for people unfamiliar with the original musical.

This year, The Rocky Horror Show features an all new cast, which includes Kyle Ray Johnson and Aubrianna Noelle Rathunde as Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, the unsuspecting couple who find themselves captives in the devilish castle of the evil Dr. Frank-n-Furter, played by Brandyn McGhee. Dramatic director Samantha Bursich and musical director Hamblin pull double duty as the outrageous audience favorite Magena and the side-splitting Riff Raff. Cary Laake portrays Dr. Furter’s most perfect creation, the Frankenstein of the muscle world, the sexy and terrifying Rocky Horror. Delenn Olsen portrays Columbia and Kaleb Triplett rounds out the primary cast in the roles of Eddie and Doctor Scott. The omniscient narrator’s voice that sets the scene of the demented tale belongs to John Hunsell.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Hamblin says. “This whole thing is going to be a lot of fun. I honestly don’t even know any other way to describe it. It’s hard to describe the show to people who don’t know it. The main thing that makes the show fun and always catches us off guard is the audiences’ responses to the show, especially the funny responses that have been made up since the show started. That’s forty years of people creating callbacks to the lines. We can’t prepare for that, although we know the most popular ones. We’ve researched the most popular responses, but every year there’s something new that happens or someone says in the audience that we don’t know about, and it’s usually really, really funny. And every year we hear something for the very first time. That’s the best part of it. It’s priceless.”

Tickets for the Marion Cultural and Civic Center shows are $15 and available at the box office at (618) 997-4030 and online at <>.

who: Skyline Creek Productions

what: Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show (live theater/performance art)

where: Hangar 9; Marion Cultural and Civic Center


when: Thursday, October 22; Friday and Saturday, October 30 and 31