Let's do the Time Warp again! Rocky Horror returns to spotlight with a fresh spin

Jessica Fuller • Oct 14, 2018 at 11:38 PM

Hold on to your fishnets, the Transylvanians are back in town. 

Johnson City Community Theatre’s fourth run of “The Rocky Horror Show” opens this Thursday at the theater, 600 E. Maple St., for seven performances this season.

The show is one of the theater’s most popular performances, and a couple of years of sold-out shows prompted director Jonathan Marin to add two Thursday night shows to this year’s production. 

Marin, who is also the theater’s president, played the role of Dr. Scott two years ago, and he said he’s been cultivating his vision of the show ever since.

He said that in addition to adding a darker, sexier theme to the show, he sprinkled in some B-movie references for audience members to hunt for this year. 

“I work very subtly sometimes, so you’ll see some hints at certain movies like ‘King Kong,’ he said. “Fans of B-movies should really enjoy it.”

For those unfamiliar with the cult classic, “The Rocky Horror Show” is a musical intended to serve as a comical tribute to science fiction and horror B-movies in the 1940s through early 1970s.

The musical was penned by Richard O’Brien and follows a newly engaged couple as they encounter a mad transvestite scientist, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, as he unveils his creation — a perfect, muscular man with “blond hair and a tan.” 

The show was adapted into a movie, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” in 1975, starring Tim Curry. Ever since, it has gained status as a cult classic and remains a Halloween staple for many audiences whether in the form of the movie, a live performance or a shadow cast performance.

Live performances of the show gained popularity because of the audience participation element. It’s common – and expected – for lingerie-clad audience members to shout cues in between lines, squirt water guns, throw playing cards and wave lights during the performance. 

If it sounds like a wild ride, that’s because it is. 

“One of the big cast members, one of the leads, is the audience,” Marin says. “There’s a lot of callbacks, and that changes the dynamic of the entire show. As fun as the movie is, the live show, to me, is one of the most fun experiences you can have as an audience member because you get to be a part of it.”

‘Rocky’ falls into the same season as shows like ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ ‘Godspell,’ ‘Sordid Lives’ and ‘Tarzan’ for the theater. Marin said every season is crafted with diversity in mind, from family-friendly musicals to classic plays and the racy romp that is ‘Rocky.’ 

“We’re a diverse theatre, we focus on diversity and artistic credibility. ‘Rocky’ is one of those that plays right into our season because we’re speaking to a generation and we’re speaking to a culture,” he noted. “As we think, ‘How can we do shows for everyone?’ ‘Rocky’ falls right into that because it definitely has its niche.” 

Tickets to the performance are $15 plus fees if you order them online. Visit jccommunitytheatre.org or call 491-5053 to reserve tickets. Grab bags full of audience participation items will be available at each show for $10 each, and each showing will feature a costume contest.

“The Rocky Horror Show” is intended for mature audiences. 


When you can catch “Rocky Horror”
Thursday, Oct. 18  7:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 19  7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 20  7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 25  7:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 26 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 27 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 27  midnight
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