NKU brings Rocky to life

As a fan of the original 1975 film I, like every fan on campus, was happy to hear that the cult classic is coming here to Northern Kentucky University. That’s right, the Department of Theatre and Dance is putting on its second production: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” The story is one that has to be seen to believe and understand. It is a story about finding your true self through sexuality. It’s about breaking those social norms of men and women.

Rocky Horror was originally a play script written by Richard O’Brien, better known as the handyman, “Riff Raff.” The show toured small theaters until it was picked up by Twentieth Century Fox and made into a feature film in 1975, starring Tim Curry. Once it became a film, its popularity took off and quickly gained massive attention. And now it has become a massive beast dressed in pearls and heels. On any given weekend, thousands of people flock to small theaters in corsets, wigs and fish nets to sing and dance along to the campy rock musical.

The main struggle with taking the beloved characters from the film back to the stage was keeping what the hardcore fans know and love. “Because of the cult status, any director approaching this musical would be committing suicide if he does not pay homage to those iconic images of the show,” NKU director Michael Hatton said. “My directive was to pick one element for each character that we will pay homage to and have the actors pick one iconic thing they will recreate.”

But while Hatton and the actors are keeping true to the aspects of the film and characters, they aren’t attempting to recreate the film.

“Michael and I decided to keep those iconic images, and then I took those and turned them into my own,” costume designer Amy Rawe said. And while certain images are being kept in the play, Rawe has put her own unique twist on them. “It’s more-so revamping Rocky and revamping what people view as iconic for the show.”

Another iconic aspect of the film is the audience participation. While the audience is encouraged to play along, Hatton has taken it upon himself to include some of the more extreme participation in his production.

“We wanted to embrace that audience participation, but we can’t allow people to throw food or have water pistols because our theater would get destroyed. But for those hardcore fans they will still have a great time,” Hatton said.

With the film celebrating its 35th anniversary, Rocky Horror is taking over the month of October. Not only is NKU’s Theatre and Dance Department putting on its version of the play, but the popular FOX television show Glee is airing its Rocky Horror-themed episode on Oct. 26, two days before opening night. The play opens here at NKU on Thursday Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. in the Corbett Theatre and runs until Nov. 7. Tickets are still on sale, so grab that corset, cake on that lipstick and buy yours before they’re all gone.

Story by Brandon Barb