Frank-N-Furter and His Minions Raise Money for Looking Glass Playhouse

For the second year in a row, Looking Glass Playhouse in Lebanon, IL staged The Rocky Horror Show to raise money for the theater. In two weeks, and crammed into a small Belleville loft, the cast rehearsed and prepared for the show. If you were fortunate enough to see the show both years, you may have noticed that many of the actors were the same. And both times they killed it!

For those of you that live under a rock, here’s the run down. A story of creation, love, hate, adventure, and most of all, sex; the story begins in Denton, Ohio as Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, after getting engaged, travel to see the man who began it, but wind up at the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite alien from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania. They meet Riff Raff, Magenta, and Columbia which leads to doing the Time Warp again. Soon they discover that this is a special night. Frank’s creation is to be born. From there, chaos ensues, and mistakes are made.

Photo by Gigi Dowling Urban

The Rocky Horror Show is an exceedingly grand visual and musical camp satire of the golden days of the B-movie horror and science-fiction genres. Projected along with a musical soundtrack to give audience participation a new meaning in dimension, time, and space, this shall be a night that both Brad and Janet will remember for a very long time in the sexually kinky, rock ‘n roll, rock-opera world of a gender-bending scientist – and his time warped plans.

The Rocky Horror Show is the live stage version of the 1975 cult classic film, Rocky Horror Picture Show, which starred Tim Curry as the infamous Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Written by Richard O’Brien, who also starred in the movie as the ever popular Riff Raff, the movie was torn down by critics until it became known as a midnight movie in which people would dress up and participate in antics through out the showings. From there, it shot to the top in popularity.

What most people don’t know is that the stage version came two years before the film. At London’s Royal Court Theatre, the musical premiered on June 19, 1973 and ran for an impressive 2,960 performances at various locations around London. Since it’s inception, it remains an audience favorite and, for many, an annual tradition.

Chris Kernan as Dr. Frank-N-Furter Photo by Gigi Dowling Urban

With only two weeks to prepare for the Looking Glass Playhouse fundraising show, the cast stayed mainly the same as last year. One big change that was made was the casting of Chris Kernan as Frank-N-Furter. The previous year had Russ Reidelberger take the lead but he chose to hand over his fish nets and instead play Eddie, the leather clad trouble maker. The show also starred Leigh Reidelberger as Magenta, Cassie Zuger as Columbia, Mike Russell as Dr. Scott and the Narrator, Shannon Netemeyer as Janet, Will Knowles as Brad, and Brian Rauckman as Rocky.

Unlike other shows that are carefully scripted, the actors stayed on their toes as the audience participated in true Rocky Horror fashion. The rhetoric between the narrator and an audience member (over the lack of the narrator’s neck) sent the audience into a tail spin of laughter. The theater also provided, for a small fee, a goodie bag of props to be used during the show. I wished I had gotten one when the chorus began shooting water guns into the crowd to create a “stormy, rainy night.” I will say from personal experience, this was one of the best audiences I have ever seen at a Rocky Horror production. They were spot on with all the popular ques.

Over all, this show was one of the most enjoyable I have ever seen. I laughed until I cried and I screamed with the crowd until I practically lost my voice. I suggest you mark your calendars for next year because you do not want to miss it! I’ll make sure to remind you when it gets closer so you can be ready to do the TIME WARP again!

Photo by Gigi Dowling Urban

Thank you to Director Gigi Dowling Urban for inviting me. I am so glad I came. And next year, I will definitely buy the goodie bag!


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