Review: Center for the Arts amps up audience with ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’

Story by Dakota Green / Contributing Writer

For many people, it’s practically a Halloween tradition: kick back and get ready to shout back at the screen as you watch one of the most popular cult classic films in history.

Based on the 1973 stage musical, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” first opened in September 1975 and has since stayed in movie theaters as a beloved midnight movie, holding the record for the longest theatrical run in cinematic history. And this year, the Center for the Arts brought the fun of the “Rocky Horror” experience to the people of Murfreesboro with a shadow cast.

The show was directed by Matthew Hayes Hunter, who also directed the Center’s production of “Carrie: The Musical,” and his shadow cast immediately threw themselves into their craft, not only giving their all and perfectly mimicking the film but also making the audience feel like they’re actually in Frank’s castle with the other characters rather than watching a show.

With “Carrie” still playing at the Center, its set had to remain standing for the duration of the “Rocky Horror” midnight run. However, Hunter didn’t face any issues in making sure that the existing set didn’t interfere with their show. Unlike the previous year, certain set pieces were even used for the show, which allowed for more space for the actors.

The most important factor of a “Rocky Horror” showing is how involved the audience gets. As part of the experience, the audience shouts callbacks to the screen, meaning a good audience makes for a more enjoyable experience. It’s not a “Rocky Horror” midnight show if it’s quiet like a typical movie screening; it’s the one time you are encouraged to shout during a movie. And that’s exactly what the audience did: They shouted back all night long.

The shadow cast also heavily involved their audience by having those who had never attended a midnight show experience, referred to as “virgins,” come on stage to join the ranks of those who have attended a showing to recite the “Rocky Horror” pledge. Later in the night — or morning, if you will — before the floor show scene and as the cast got ready backstage, the Emcee for the show welcomed all of the viewers who dressed up for the show on stage for a costume contest, where they could win tickets for a show at the Center. It not only rewarded the audience for their dedication but showed an appreciation for those willing to take the extra step to make the night an unforgettable one.

Overall, this was an experience worth taking part in, not only for those who have a dedicated appreciation for “Rocky Horror,” but also for those who were just plain curious as to what all the fuss was about.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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