Science-fiction double feature: Ohio Theatre pairs ‘Repo!’ with ‘Rocky Horror’Written by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
On April 25, 2009, Director Crystal Coon brought “Repo! The Genetic Opera” to the Ohio Theatre. A few months later, that year’s Halloween show was one of the last before the theater closed for nearly four years.
The show, paired with “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” as a double feature, will return for the first time since the theater reopened as a multipurpose space under new management and with a new name, the Ohio Theatre and Events Center (OTEC).
Coon said returning to OTEC, at 3114 Lagrange St., is a “historical” process.
“That’s where we started. It’s a place we’re familiar with,” Coon said. “The atmosphere at the Ohio has always been wonderful.”
Coon was introduced to “Repo!” in November 2008 when she went to a showing with friends in Jackson, Mich. Coon said she instantly wanted to be part of a theatrical version. They later had a meeting at IHOP and discussed the likelihood of pulling off the show.
“I’m sure we entertained our wait staff,” Coon said.
Five months later, the first show was performed at the Ohio Theatre.
“From the moment we started watching the movie, we were very much involved with it already,” Coon said.
The cast has been performing the two shows at the Collingwood Arts Center while the Lagrange Street theater was closed.
“We really did enjoy being on that stage too, but Ohio Theatre has always been our home and we’ve been looking forward to coming back,” Coon said. “When we left the Ohio … we were under the understanding that it was going to open up again. So, we knew Collingwood was going to be a temporary home.”
“Repo!” which Coon said is the “new ‘Rocky Horror’,” is a 2008 film starring Alexa Vega, Paul Sorvino and Paris Hilton. The rock opera musical film is from the producers of “Saw” and takes place in the year 2056, when an epidemic of organ failures devastates the planet and causes organ transplants to be become regular occurances. The film follows Repo Men, skilled assassins who repossess organs from clients who have missed payments.
“Repo!” is performed by stage actors as the film is screened behind them. Audience participation is vital, as it is during performances of the 1975 movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
“Without the audience participation, these shows don’t work,” Coon said.
The audience is encouraged to use props, if they wish to bring them, like playing cards to be thrown at the end of “Rocky Horror” when Dr. Frank-N-Furter sings the line “… cards of sorrow …” A list of props can be found at www.rockyhorror.com/participation/proplist. Coon asks that there be no tomatoes, prunes or hot dogs used during the production.
A cast of 25 will perform “Repo!” and 20 for “Rocky Horror” on Oct. 26 with doors opening at 8 p.m. Because of suggestive content, the show is for ages 16 and older unless accompanied by an adult. “Repo!” will begin at 9 p.m. and “Rocky Horror” at midnight.
Each show costs $10 and attendees can purchase tickets for both shows for $20. Tickets are available at the door.
Coon directs both shows and plays Blind Mag in “Repo.” She said she likes the sophistication of the character. She also said the smaller role is a perfect fit considering her directorial duties.
“She was a very, very well-developed character,” she said.
Coon said the show will include a surprise guest who will take on the role of Eddie in “Rocky Horror.” Even the cast members will not know who the mystery guest is until the day of the production.
“It will work out for the cast, it will work out for the audience, it will be absolutely beautiful,” Coon said.
There is also be an optional costume contest, which will award prizes to the best and worst costume. It will take place between the two productions so both audiences can participate, Coon said. Costumes do not have to be in theme with the show; any costume will do.
V.I.P. seating is available on a first come, first serve basis for $25. This seating puts the audience on the stage, giving actors immediate access to them during scenes. VIP seats are limited to 30 and only are for those who are staying for both shows.
“For us, the really great thing is, we’re bringing this group back, which started here,” said OTEC Theatre Manager Jamie Leigh Sampson. “We’re reconnecting with the community that already loves the theater.”
OTEC was purchased in 2009 by the community development corporation United North to prevent it from being torn down or turned into an X-rated theater, Sampson said.
“They had to close it for a few years to figure out how to do fundraising and how to open it in the best possible way,” Sampson said.
A projector was recently installed in the theater, which will be used for “Repo!” and “Rocky Horror.” The theater underwent other renovations such as painting and lighting installations on the front of the building and construction on the roof. The theater’s marquee was struck by lightning and destroyed in 2004.
Coon is impressed with the renovations.
“I am loving what I’m seeing,” she said. “[With] the things that have been done so far, I am looking forward to what else is going to be happening.”
Tags: Alexa Vega, Blind Mag, Collingwood Arts Center, Director Crystal Coon, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Eddie, IHOP, Ohio Theatre, Ohio Theatre and Events Center (OTEC), OTEC Theatre Manager Jamie Leigh Sampson, Paris Hilton, Paul Sorvino, Repo Men, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Saw, United North