The Equinox Theatre Company has generally made a name for itself with cult, campy genre shows, says artistic director Deb Flomberg: “Reefer Madness, Carrie, Little Shop of Horrors. Our audiences love them, and they’ve been asking for this one for quite a while."
This one is that perennial cult favorite, The Rocky Horror Show, a send-up of horror and science-fiction movies. The play premiered in 1973, was turned into The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the 1975 movie version, and—as far as its legions of fans are concerned—has never aged or gone out of date. It tells the story of an innocent young couple, Brad and Janet, who suffer a flat tire during a thunderstorm, and end up in the creepy mansion of transvestite scientist Dr. Frank N Furter. It opens Friday, May 26, and runs through July 1, at the Bug Theatre.
“I’m very excited,” Flomberg continues. “It’s probably our most highly anticipated musical yet. We had to wait till the timing was right, and this season everything fell into place. We were waiting for another company to not do it. We didn’t want to compete with other groups in town.”
The musical team, under the direction of Adam White, is very together, she says. “With open auditions, you never know who’s going to walk in that door, but we really lucked out with the casting," she explains. "John White, who plays Frank N Furter, is so brilliant, and so is the rest of the cast. It’s just incredible watching them play off each other.”
Director Colin Roybal will respect the Rocky Horror tradition, she adds: “We’re making some changes, but we really want to honor the work that came before. You can’t do this show without thinking of Tim Curry [the original Frank N Furter]. But also, Colin never shies away from doing things differently. The show is scaled to a minimalist style; the intimacy comes forward more in this production. Also, he has cast the show with a couple of roles gender blind. Riff Raff is played by Katelyn Kendrick and Rocky by Chelsea O’Grady. Their voices are incredible.”
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Audience participation has always been an important part of the Rocky Horror mystique. Fans tend to arrive in costume and bearing props (water pistols, condoms), shout out the lines along with the actors, and dance “The Time Warp” (“It’s just a jump to the left/ And then a step to the right...”). You can even find scripts and guides online. Equinox will confine these antics to two special midnight performances on June 10 and 24, however, and keep the rest of the run as non-participatory as possible. Still, Flomberg admits, “It’s going to be one of those shows that’s hard to control."
Next up in July is another, and far darker, musical, Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story, based on a real life crime: the murder of a young boy by a pair of college kids who wanted to prove their superior intellects would permit them to pull off a perfect crime. The show hasn’t been seen in Colorado before. And a second regional premiere, Disaster, the Musical is on the roster for November. Check the Equinox Theatre's website for more information.
“We’re trying to pick shows that have the same kind of cult feeling, almost campiness, but not — stories on the fringe of society," Flomberg says. "Even if we’re not doing The Evil Dead or Reefer Madness all the time, there’s still the same kind of outsider feeling.”
The Rocky Horror Show opens Friday, May 26, and runs through July 1, Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street, $20-$25, 303-477-9984.