The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Department of Performing and Visual Arts-Theatre and Pioneer Players will begin their 2019-20 season with the cult classic musical, “The Rocky Horror Show.”
Performances are Monday, Oct. 28 through Saturday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. In keeping with the “Rocky Horror” tradition, there will also be a second performance on Oct. 31 at 11:59 p.m. All performances will be held in the Center for the Arts Theatre at UW-Platteville.
Originally premiering at the Royal Court Theatre in London on June 19, 1973, with the book and music written by Richard O’Brien, the musical follows the story of Brad Majors and Janet Weiss as they set out on a journey to tell their former professor and friend, Dr. Scott, of their recent engagement. Their trip takes a strange turn, however, when they get a flat tire and need a telephone and must knock on the door of the Frankenstein place, where they meet Frank N. Furter and his phantoms.
“The Rocky Horror Show” became a cultural phenomenon when it was released as the film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in 1975, starring Tim Curry as Frank. For more than 40 years, the interactive film experience has been a staple on or near college campuses, with screenings typically held at midnight.
“Most of us are familiar with the film, but the musical is also a wonderful celebration of the counterculture,” said Ann Dillon Farrelly, associate professor of theatre at UW-Platteville and director of the production. “It isn’t the plot of ‘Rocky Horror’ that has made it into a classic. It is the subversive nature of the performance of gender and sexuality that has drawn people to it for so long, and our production, which is inspired by non-binary drag performance, will be exploring what that means for a 21st-century audience.”
The cast includes Logan Eigenberger as Frank ‘N’ Furter, Leah Ball as Janet Weiss, Jon Hutson as Brad Majors, Kiley Schulz as Magenta, Blair Schuler as Columbia, Andrew Arevalo as Riff Raff, Nick Kromke as Rocky, Madison Harbour as Eddie/Dr. Scott, Meghan Weber as Narrator, and Katie Dionne, Brady Hattori, Matthew Krautkramer, Lili Pierce, Isabelle Sander and Beth Wallace as the Phantoms (Ensemble).
“This production asks a lot of our performers,” said Farrelly. “They must push themselves outside of their comfort zones – and they have to do it all while wearing heels.”
Joining Farrelly on the production team are Jeffrey Strange, associate professor of theatre and scenic designer; Agnes Ingram, costume designer; Dawn Bankers, lighting designer; Lizzie Haller, music director; and Tim Durst, accompanist and pit conductor. Student members of the production team include Schuler, who is also the choreographer, Clint Kelly as sound designer and Lillyana Frenz as stage manager. Students Andrea Geiger, Marissa Mueller, Danielle Dillon, Alexander Bregger and Zachary Jacobson will serve as pit musicians. Nico Berthelon Lathrop, Chris Kott, Grace Trenkamp, Austin Pettlon, Vic Ciesla, Heidi Lininger, Danielle Bieniek, Morgaine Schroeder, Amber Glassel and Taylor Holbach make up the student crew.
“We have a tremendous team assembled for this show,” said Farrelly. “I cannot wait for audiences to experience the original musical. It is different from the film in some ways, but we still encourage audience participation and encourage audience members to dress in costume. Our production is a drag-inspired celebration of the courage it takes to be yourself. It confronts the myth of the gender binary, and it is an affirmation that love is love in all its forms. It’s a party, and everyone is invited. If only the world were more like that. For two hours every night, we will create that world for anyone who wants to join us.”
Tickets for the production are $14 for general admission, $12 for faculty/staff/seniors, and $7 for students (price includes $2 box office transaction fee). For tickets and information, contact the University Box Office at 608-342-1298 or buy online at tickets.uwplatt.edu.