‘Rocky Horror’ staging promises R-rated fun at Adrian’s Croswell Opera HouseWritten by Renee Lapham Collins | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The classic story of a guy and a girl stranded with a flat tire on a dark, rainy night in November will hit the Croswell Opera House just in time for Halloween.
Yes, “The Rocky Horror Show” is returning to the stage with all of the oddball, grotesque and strange elements that have made it a cult classic since it was first performed in the 1970s.
Eric Parker, Adrian High School alum and Siena Heights University graduate, is directing the production, staged Oct. 19-21 and 26-27.
“I would never have guessed when I was in college that this show that I thought was so stupid would turn out to be something I’ve been involved in at least 15 times,” Parker said with a grin. “This is the third time I’ve directed and acted in it at the Croswell.”
Parker will play Riff Raff, a servant in the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, played with relish by Paul Manger of Toledo. Manger’s last Croswell role was Thomas Jefferson in the 1998 production of “1776.” Scotland Mills of Adrian is Brad Majors while Katy Kujala of Commerce Township, Mich., is Janet Weiss. Rounding out the cast are Kyrie Bristle of Adrian (Magenta), Alison Siebold of Perrysburg (Columbia), Gary Lundy of Adrian (Eddie), Kevin Underhill of Adrian (Dr. Scott), Zane Dickerson of Adrian (Rocky) and Tom Studnicka of Adrian (Narrator). There are also 11 in the ensemble: Lavina Flores, Sarah Garofalo, Ian Graves, Gretchen Hall, Kayla Henry, Chloe Kelley, Kyle Krichbaum, Rob Kuschell, Brian Miller, Jessie Monte and Ashleigh VanNieuwenhze.
Parker said the biggest challenge in staging “Rocky Horror Show” is the limited talent pool at this time of year.
“People have a lot of other activities going on, so getting a good cast together that can make it to rehearsals is a bit of a challenge,” he said.
Parker, most recently featured in “Obsession” as Victor Frankenstein and in “Avenue Q,” which he also directed, has been involved in theater since his childhood. A 1992 graduate of Siena Heights, with a degree in theater, Parker calls the stage “my real job.” When he’s not in Adrian working with the Croswell, he’s at The Barn in west Michigan or at Tommy Gun’s Garage in Chicago, where he performs musical numbers as Knuckles Andwich. Besides the Croswell, Parker has staged “Rocky Horror” at The Barn at least dozen times.
“It’s a naughty show and we are advising folks that it is R-rated,” Parker said. “It is adult content, adult themes and adult language. There’s a horrifying ice pick murder in the show. Definitely not for kids.”
The musical, a spoof of classic sci-fi films of the 1950s, features such tunes as “Sweet Transvestite,” “Science Fiction Double Feature” and “Time Warp.”
“This show has a lot of familiar music,” Parker said. “People will recognize it.”
Another challenge of the script, he said, is in its latitude.
“The characters are so closely identified by the movie that people have their expectations,” he said. “There is danger in the latitude of the script — you can do it sloppy or you can do it tight but people want to participate how they want to participate and you want them to be able to do this.”
In fact, “participation packs” will be available for purchase at the door for $5. The packs will include glow sticks, poppers, noisemakers, playing cards, rubber gloves and newspapers. Patrons are invited to come in costume to the production, according to artistic director Jere Righter.
“We encourage people to yell and to throw things,” Parker said. “But we don’t want them throwing hot dogs, rice or toast.”
Todd Schreiber of Whiteford, Mich., is the musical director for the show.
“I’ve worked with Todd before on this show and he knows what cuts I like,” Parker said.
Stephanie Stephan of Toledo is the choreographer and Cindy Farnham is doing costumes. Tiff Crutchfield of Ann Arbor is the lighting designer and Tyler Miller of Adrian is the sound designer.
“It’s really rewarding to be at a place like this in my life,” Parker said “This is the 35th show I’ve done in this building. Seeing how I’ve progressed from the time I was a kid to being a director is fulfilling. If I didn’t do theater, I don’t know what else I would do.”
Remaining show times are Friday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. and a special midnight encore Oct. 27. Cash bar and doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Tickets are $28 for adults, $25 for seniors ages 60 and older and students with a valid ID. They can be purchased at the Croswell box office, located at 129 E. Maumee St. in downtown Adrian, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets also are available by phone at (517) 264-SHOW (7469) or online at www.croswell.org.