By Contributing Writer Abigail Field
Halloween 2019 kicked off the 26th annual Rocky Horror Picture Show. A wonderful show which consists of actors expertly miming the scenes of the iconic movie while it plays on a screen in the background, it captivated the audience with its humor and interactivity throughout.
The beginning of the show, hosted by Director Sawyer Pollitt (History and Religious Studies, 2020), consists of show “virgins” – those who have never been to a live Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow cast – popping red balloons which are proxies for their proverbial “cherries”. This “virgin ceremony” got the audience laughing hysterically before Rocky itself actually began.
The show itself began with a rendition of “Science Fiction – Double Feature” sung by the onscreen character of “Lips”. Usually, this is accompanied by an actor in the foreground onstage doing a strip tease while mouthing the words. This time, however, in memory of Marc Lalosh, the “father” of this production on campus, and the founder of 20 Cent Fiction Production Company who recently passed away, there was no actor and audience members were invited to sing along. The ensuing show was dynamic and funny and, in a word, iconic, with actors and actresses doing an amazing job at portraying their respective roles.
“I love this show!” audience member Connor Powers (Management, 2021) proclaimed, “I’m liking it even better than last year!”
“It got better the more rum I consumed! I loved it!” a certain Jared Freddette (Biology, 2022) exclaimed.
Audience members Dorothy Jenness and her daughter Kylie loved the production as well. “It’s a great show. I’ve always wanted to bring her, but until now she’s been underage. I’m happy I was finally able to bring her.” When asked what it was like to be a show virgin, Kylie’s mother proclaimed “It was great being a show virgin! I wanted [Kylie] to get pulled onstage!”
Rocky Horror Picture Show was a pivotal movie. It came out in 1975 and was one of the first movies that celebrated LGBT culture in a way that was so pivotal for the time. Katie Mac (Sociology and Anthropology, 2020), who played Dr. Frank-N-Furter, said “Every year it keeps getting better! It’s a fun thing to do and a cool way to spend my time. It’s a really good way for people on campus wo are as exposed to queer culture to get a glimpse of where it all started. Rocky came out before the pride flag was even invented. This really is where it all began! It did so much. It inspired so much!”
As for how it felt to be the lead, she said she is “all about having fun. It’s a really cool ride. I’m not really an actor. It’s like dress up people are paying to see.” Regardless of what she said about her acting skills, she absolutely blew it out of the water. She was incredibly expressive and might as well have been cast as Frank-N-Furter back in 1975.
Megan Sullivan (Music Education, 2021) played Riff Raff. “Rocky is such an exciting and super fun show to perform in and to interact with the audience. It’s so exciting because everyone just goes insane. It’s great to perform as a character who isn’t like me at all. Riff Raff is maybe a little dead inside. It really expands my acting skills. It’s a party! Everyone is doing great!” Megan was nearly unrecognizable as Riff Raff, and her acting chops certainly shone through in her rendition of the character.
James Stergios (Operations Management, winter 2019), who played the character for whom the show is named, Rocky, hadn’t expected his role, which he also expertly portrayed. “The first time I was even exposed to Rocky, it was one year ago. I say the midnight showing and I turned to my friend and said ‘I have to do this next year’. I knew I wanted to be a part of it, and I didn’t even care which part. It’s been everything I dreamed of. I’m sad it’s my senior year because I’d like to have been able to do it again. I’m glad I got to experience at least one.”
Assistant Director Bridget Bannon (Animation and Game arts, 2022) said “Rocky is a really important show to UMD culture. Many in the cast have said it’s actually a part of why they actually chose to come to this school. It’s going to keep getting better. It celebrates an important part of LGBTQ+ history and the like. It’s also a fuck ton of fun, so… I’m happy each year t’s getting bigger and bigger. It’s very important.”