The first thing that immediately impresses toe-tapping audiences at “The Rocky Horror Show” is writer, Richard O’Brien’s incorporation of Rock ‘n Roll music. At Music of Connecticut (MTC) the lively orchestra is directed by Tony Bellomy at keyboard #1, Rodney Loren nicely backs-up with keyboard #2, Max Caserta brilliantly strums guitar, Nick DeVito hoots lively woodwinds, Alan Lounsbury boldly plays bass guitar and Michael Blancaflor is the dynamic percussionist.
This sexually explicit musical Premiered in England during 1973. In 1975 it played on Broadway and was also made into a film. O’Brien as Riff Raff and Tim Curry as Frank ‘N’ Furter starred in both popular productions which developed into cult-following audiences.
The simple plot concerns an engaged couple who are caught in a rainstorm and forced to take shelter in a haunted house that is occupied by a group of queer aliens.
At MTC the ensemble of actors, aptly directed by Kevin Connors, are all Equity members who were obviously selected for their talents, and each principal character is given a turn in the spotlight todo their “thing.” Outstanding antics are rendered by Jeff Raab (“Riff Raff”) and Justin Johnston (“Frank ‘N’ Fuerter). The “Narrator” is MTC’s Managing Director and Co-Founder, Jim Schilling. The engaged couple who are about to lose their innocence are Skye Gillespie (“Janet”) and Michel Luongo (“Brad”). “Rocky” is muscle-man, Domenic Servidio. Hillary Ekwall, Brianna Bauch, John Tracy Egan, Leigh Martha Klinger and Stephen Petrovich complete the cast of sexually suggestive aliens.
Choreographer, Chris McNiff, Fight and Intimacy Director, Dan O’Driscoll and Costume Designer, Diane Vanderkroef also deserve special recognition for their vital contributions to the show.
The musical’s theme of freedom and acceptance of all sexual and cultural differences during the 1960’s further developed during the 1970’and continues to promote these same, on-going movements of today. Audience participation is encouraged in the form of dressing-up as the show’s characters and shouting call-outs.
MTC has an ideal, intimate stage-setting for this particular show however, on opening night, less than a handful of the packed audience dressed-up or shouted-out according to custom.
One audience member was sexily dressed in a corset, complete with net-stockings, authentic face make-up, and a wild hair-do, and she seemed to know all of the call-outs! Naturally, this unexpected feature was a show in itself and when I asked for a comment, she replied, “Rocky Horror is not actually a good show… The plot is probably one of the worst plots in history, but that’s not why you go see it. You go for the experience!”
While this girl was one of the few people shouting the callouts, the entire audience was on its feet by the curtain call, dancing along to the infamous “Time Warp”!
MTC’s opening nights usually cater to a more conservative crowd – but don’t despair! You can still “go for the experience!” There are special performances that will definitely attract the usual followers of this free-spirited, entertaining show.