Brace yourself Colgate, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is comin’ to town! This weekend, a fabulous frenzy of freaks and fanatics will invade the Palace Theater as SMuTCO (Student Theater Musical Company) produces and performs their version of this cult classic. The Rocky Horror Picture Show shows an outrageous array of the most stereotyped science fiction movies and Marvel comics, while broadcasting sexual liberation and rock n’ roll of every vintage. This uniquely piquant production thrives under the direction of senior Nick Thielen and recent graduate Kevin Neely ’04. As the artistic director, Thielen is responsible for the overall aesthetic concept of the show. He also happens to make a fine transvestite, starring as the cross-dressing mad scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter, from the planet Transexual in the galaxy of Transylvania. Neely, who is the dramatic and musical director, says, “I think we’re doing something pretty unique for Colgate. This is the first full-scale musical production ever to take place in the Palace.” And it certainly is full-scale, with the cast and crew tallying up to almost 40 members. Throughout the entire performance, a five-piece band authoritatively occupies the stage and keeps the place rocking, with junior Chris Lawnsby on the piano, senior Dan Barrie on the guitar, senior Dan Askin on the bass guitar, junior Christine Swanson on the tenor sax, and sophomore Mike Bernstein on the drums. A regal runway rolls down the length of the dance floor, demanding attention and imposing itself as the sole centerpiece of the room. The Palace Theater, which normally serves as an amiable Mecca for the socially adept, has been utterly transformed into a venue haunted by ludicrously steamy Transylvanians. The audience members will be in such close proximity to the runway, the nucleus of the action, that they will almost feel the sweat misting off of the actors’ bodies. Director Neely says, “We’ve had to break a lot of theatrical conventions. We’re trying to think of innovative ways to keep it interesting.” With such intimate audience interactions it will most certainly be attention-grabbing.As the lights dim, and the familiar eerie synthetic undertones of “Science Fiction Double Feature” echo throughout the theater, a screen descends revealing black-and-white images from archaic science fiction films. Enter clean cut, white bread, unadulterated Midwestern ‘Ike Age’ teenagers Janet Weiss (senior Lori Mele), and Brad Majors (sophomore Kevin Barber), appropriately clad in angelically conservative attire. The audience eavesdrops as Janet accepts Brad’s wholesome marriage proposal to the catchy tune of “Dammit Janet.” Amidst the impenetrable precipitation of a heavy rainstorm, the happy couple runs into some car trouble, and seeks avail at “the Frankenstein place” which they had passed a few miles back. The heavy door of the dark mansion slowly creaks open to reveal the macabre henchman, Riff-Raff, played by senior Matt Brogan, who lures them in with fictitious promises. They unknowingly enter into a swirling m?elange of surreal science projects, sultry alien transvestites and rampant sexual escapades. They are innocuously encircled, groped and stripped down to their underwear by Riff-Raff’s sizzling incestuous sister, Magenta (senior Rebecca Spiro), and a strangely terrifying, but dazzling toe-tapping Magenta, played by junior Steph Wortel. With a grandiose entrance, evil Dr. Frank N Furter (Thielen), clad in a body-clinging corset, fishnets, and stilettos, announces that his new creation is finally complete. He has created the perfect man: a rippling Adonis, christened as Rocky Horror (sophomore Kyle Levenick). Bronzed from head-to-toe, Levenick confidently assumes the role of this handsome Frankenstein, dressed in only a Lilliputian gold-sequined bikini bottom. In the midst of the entrancing hypnosis of Rocky Horror’s unveiling, the fawning group is abruptly disturbed by the abrasive intrusion of Eddie (sophomore Vin Macri), who is “one from the vaults.” A true rock n’ roller, Eddie glides around the stage in a rebellious leather jacket, tight jeans, and thick industrial chains for a little extra ‘bling-bling,’ passionately singing “Hot Patootie (Bless My Soul)”- until his fervid performance is cut short by an agitated Frank N Furter and an ominously sharp dagger. The play is punctured with appearances from the fraudulently sophisticated narrator, senior Chris Brown, who steers the plot along. The story rapidly spirals into a complex web of seduction, sexual discovery and corruption, cloaked in the grotesque world of the bizarre. When Dr. Scott (Vin Macri), the college professor who Brad and Janet originally set out to visit appears, there is no turning back. In this production, the tantalizing cast slinks around the stage in silky lingerie, barely-there underwear, fishnets, high heels and cleavage-exposing corsets. “It’s a very sexy show. We even joked about headlining it with: ‘You’ll need a cigarette afterwards,'” says Spiro, who plays Magenta. A sexy show, a stellar cast, great music, and if that’s not enticing enough: it’s free.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be playing in the Palace Theater Thursday night at 8:00pm, Friday at midnight, and Saturday at 8:00pm.