The outside of The Clinton Street Theater before a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Photo by Abby Chapman

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a timeless film classic released in 1975 that features famous actors such as Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon. The film is about recently engaged Brad and Janet who get a flat tire in a storm, and find themselves in a mysterious mansion after looking to find a phone. In this mansion live many colorful characters such as Dr. Frank N. Furter, Magenta, Columbia, and Riff Raff. Throughout the movie there is a complex story and a handful of musical numbers. Following the huge success of this movie, an in-theater tradition was born: live Rocky Horror.

Those who don’t know what live Rocky Horror is might think it is just an on stage performance of the movie. However, it is a very unique form of theater. Like a play, Rocky Horror takes place on a stage in front of an audience with actors, but the film is acted out in front of a screen playing the movie. Another thing that makes this experience unique is the audience’s interactions with the actors and the show itself. At many points in the show, willing participants can engage in these interactions, which includes props, dancing, and joking. One who has seen the show at Clinton Street Theater four times, Lucy Walker (11), explains how there’s a sense of acceptance in the room when you go: “It’s such a unique experience.”

Props in live Rocky Horror can be various things. A lot of scenes have specific items that go with them, like during the wedding scene when many audience members like to throw rice into the air. Props can also be items such as kazoos, toilet paper, toast, and newspaper. Many first timers to Rocky Horror do not know what kind of props to bring. Some theaters that show Rocky Horror have prop bags that you can buy on site, but a lot of first timers prefer to stay away from props, due to them not knowing much about the showing. Those Rocky Horror fans who do see the showings often eventually start to know what props to use and when.

Viewers aren’t usually allowed up to the stage, but during one of the most famous songs from the Rocky Horror movie, “The Time Warp,” The actors might invite participants up to the stage to dance along to the music. “The Time Warp” has specific dance moves that go along with it, which are part of the lyrics of the song.

For those who have watched Rocky Horror and know most of the dialogue to the movie and show, these live showings are very fun. During the movie there are a lot of jokes that go along with those fans of Rocky Horror. After seeing the show enough times, newer Rocky Horror-goers will start to pick up on them. The whole show likes to poke fun at the movie, but these jokes do occur while the movie is still playing, so watching the movie first is suggested.

Before the show starts, there are games played with the audience members. Many are inappropriate and raunchy, due to the sexual nature of the film. It’s all in good fun, and any minors who do go to the showing are not to be included in any that are too inappropriate.
Depending on one’s personality, live Rocky Horror might not appeal. The experience is said to be all about open mindedness and acceptance, and anyone going to the show should walk in with an open mind and no predetermined expectations.

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