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The student news website of Omaha Central High School

The Register

The student news website of Omaha Central High School

The Register

The rave of The Rocky Horror Picture Show

I’ve known how to do the Time Warp for virtually my entire life. I’ve jumped to the left and stepped to the right countless times. But I’ve never gone back to the source of this iconic song — “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” — until this year when I saw Rave On Production’s show at The Slowdown. 

 It began as “The Rocky Horror Show” in London’s Royal Court Theater, eventually landing on the Broadway stage. The musical was even beloved by Her Royal Highness Princess Diana. A year later, the musical was adapted into a movie, retaining many of the cast and crew members from the original production. According to the BBC, it was “A box office flop so ker-splatty it was pulled from the few screens showing it back in 1975, only to be lovingly resurrected by a devout fanbase.” 

 I was first introduced to the world of “Rocky” after reading Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” in which the main character is thrust out of his comfort zone by attending his local “Picture Show” with the encouragement of his new friends, who comprise the show’s cast. Chbosky painted it as a unifying experience, where all sorts of people come together to embrace the show’s quirks, shout comebacks to the characters and enjoy 1970s-era rock ‘n’ roll with a science fiction twist. 

 As for the show’s plot, think “Frankenstein,” but much gayer and lustier. The insanity of its contents and its cult following make for a fulfilling live performance coupled with constant audience participation. I’m talking shouting profanities at the cast, throwing bread at the stage, and singing and dancing along with the music. The characters weaved in and out of the audience throughout the runtime, so you were still close to the action even if you didn’t have pit tickets. 

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 Throughout the experience, I met a vast array of characters, and not just ones in the production. From the people behind me in the entrance line who judgmentally mumbled “virgins” at the sight of concertgoers who weren’t dressed up in racy attire typical of the show’s attendants to a veteran “Rocky Horror” couple beside my friend and I who gifted us words of encouragement upon discovering we were “Rocky Horror” virgins, it was a mostly welcoming environment. 

 I’ll even argue that for those who were at the picture show for the first time, the environment was a bit too welcoming. I knew coming into the show that there were going to be cues I didn’t know and references I didn’t understand. Rumor had it that first-timers are even put through an initiation before the show begins. I was shivering with anticipation, expecting to be humiliated, hazed and a bit clueless during the interactive bits. But they went easy on the virgins, providing prop bags for $10 and projecting all the cues on screens that hung above the stage. However, Rave On Productions did explain, “Personal props are not permitted for safety of audience & performers.” 

 But I assumed there is a deep history behind these “Rocky Horror” traditions (there is), ones that were crafted by the show’s cult followers after seeing it time and time again, and as silly as it sounds, the knowledge of those cues felt like something that should be earned after multiple viewings, not handed to me. “Rocky Horror” is one of those musicals that everyone memorizes the script of, but it’s probably the only musical where it’s socially acceptable to shout the lines out and respond to them as if you’re a part of the show. 

 The actors were lively and effortlessly embodied their characters. Many of them have been performing “Rocky Horror” with Rave On Productions for years, and it shows. Benn Sieff commanded attention as Frank ‘n’ Furter and expertly portrayed the nuanced character, who is simultaneously charming and unsettling. Nina Washington wowed the crowd as Janet and nailed the voice of Susan Sarandon, who portrayed the character in the movie. Billy McGuigan as Brad was a man who knew exactly what he was doing. Megan Berger as Columbia was fierce, Kevin Buswell as Riff Raff was wonderfully creepy, Erika Hall-Sieff was devious as Magenta, and Jonathan Berger was the ultimate himbo as Rocky.  

 The costumes on stage were hilariously scandalous. The most notable outfit included the cast’s matching red corsets, stockings and feather boas during “Rose Tint My World,” which was one of the greatest performances of the evening. Other standout performances included “Dammit Janet,” “Time Warp” and “Touch-A, Touch-A Touch Me,” so essentially everything that featured Janet or Frank ‘n’ Furter. “Science Fiction/Double Feature” and “Eddie” were underwhelming because the former only featured one cast member and did not add to the musical’s plot, and the latter just felt out of place. These are not the faults of Rave On Productions’ show but simply of the musical itself.  

 The show’s greatest asset was a live band providing the background music. The band was visible throughout the entire production and often captured my attention, even though they were supposed to blend in as opposed to stand out. A benefit of attending a live performance of “Rocky” is the energy that the instrumentalists bring to the venue. Their presence contributes to the feeling of being not just a viewer of the show but an active, vital part of it.  

 An homage to horror movies that has a killer soundtrack and allows viewers to immerse themselves in a fantasy world for a few hours, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a pop-cultural phenomenon for a reason. Whether you simply watch the movie at home, attend a midnight screening or catch a live production at the Slowdown, “Rocky Horror” is worth your time. Add it to the top of your bucket list, folks, because there’s truly nothing like it. 

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Hadley Forsen-Yepes, Chief Copy Editor
Hello, my name is Hadley (she/her), and I am a Senior at Central. This is my second year on staff and my first year as Chief Copy Editor. I was voted most likely to buy all the books in a series before reading the first one, which is painfully accurate, as I have done this time and time again (and will likely continue doing it until the day I die). My hobbies are reading, watching movies, playing piano and spending time with my friends and family. I’m looking forward to making the next six issues of The Register its best ones yet!
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