“The Rocky Horror Show is a fun-filled reminder that life’s too short to conform to society’s standards and to explore yourself and the world around you outside of what you’re used to,” said sophomore Grace Peknic, who plays Janet in the Theatre Arts Program (TAP) production of “The Rocky Horror Show.”
“The Rocky Horror Show” will hit the Edgerton stage on Thursday, April 13, 2023.
The hit musical is the inspiration for the 1975 cult classic film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which follows all-American couple Brad and Janet as they navigate a night stranded at the home of mad scientist Dr. Frank-n-Furter. As the night unfolds, Janet and Brad must grapple with their traditional values and primal urges as they encounter Frank’s sensual household of quirky characters.
The story, which heavily leans into LGBTQ+ themes and relationships, onstage intimacy and depicts characters living life for the thrill of pleasure, was quite controversial at the time of its conception and has become a beacon of representation and pride for the queer community.
Junior Nicky Duca, who plays Dr. Frank-N-Furter said, “As a student, I’ve felt nothing but love and care from Sacred Heart through the TAP program in my LGBT identity, so being able to play such an iconic character and be part of a cast of people like myself and respectful of my identity means a lot and really feels like home.”
The show’s themes are also expressed through some of the most famous songs in movie-musical history. Rock songs like “Time Warp” and “Touch-A-Touch-A-Touch Me” are accompanied by explosive choreography and rock concert-esque technical effects to transport audience members to the alien world of the show.
In addition to the show’s on stage performance elements, the material has taken on a life of its own among audience members.
“This is not going to be your usual theatre experience. Part of the draw of ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ is that the audience participates,” said senior Grace Curley, assistant director of the production.
The dedicated fanbase of the “Rocky Horror” franchise continues to thrive decades after the show’s conception, with countless online forums and message groups dedicated to the film and musical. Audience participation ranges from cheeky out loud callbacks to the characters’ lines to the use of props that coincide with onstage action.
“There is a specific approach when taking on such iconic source material. You want to take care of the material and honor and respect it because it was so groundbreaking,” said Curley. “You have to find that fine line between giving people the show they know and love while giving them our own SHU TAP twist.”
TAP’s production comes at a time when the right to perform such content is being limited in parts of the United States. According to NPR, legislatures in 11 states have proposed bills banning drag shows in public settings, with Tennessee already passing a law codifying the ban.
“It’s a very polarizing show, inspired by the punk movement in the 70s so it’s very queer and it contains a lot of the messages, quirkiness and campiness you don’t get in other shows and it’s
really important to see today,” said junior Lauren Baroletti, the Production Stage Manager of the show.
TAP’s “The Rocky Horror Show” runs in the Edgerton Center April 13, 14, and 15 at 8 P.M. and April 16 at 3 P.M.
Tickets are available in the Edgerton Box Office or by calling (203)-371-7908.
Spectrum writer Nick Rubano is affiliated with this production