by Zac Franzen
Find yourself a sitter, put the kids to bed, and get ready for a night filled with fun and laughter. The Arts Deserve Attention, and TADA Theatre is doing just that with their rendition of the classic musical, The Rocky Horror Show.
Making its debut in the US in 1974, The Rocky Horror Show is a humorous and entertainment-filled musical tribute to horror films of the 1930s to 1960s. This elaborate musical follows a madly-in-love and newly engaged couple as they arrive at the home of a transvestite mad scientist, Dr. Frank N. Furter. After being caught in a storm, the happy couple, Brad and Janet, soon discover the scientist’s mad creation of a perfectly formed and very handsome Frankenstein-like man named Rocky Horror. The Rocky Horror Show is also widely believed to have been greatly influenced by the sexual liberation movements of the 1960s, and is viewed as one of the most important Broadway creations to promote equality to all in its time.
After arriving at the TADA theatre in downtown Lincoln’s Haymarket, the antici…pation begins the second you walk through the doors and receive your Rocky Kit, a sack filled with all the essential items you will need to partake in the performance. That’s right, audience participation is not only encouraged but required at certain moments of the show, a quality I greatly appreciated with this production, as it allows the story to come to life in each and every seat of the theatre.
The lights dim, and out walks a very enthusiastic usher who just wants to get the show started. Played by the diversely talented Kristi Filarski Wilson, the usher gives the audience an all-important introduction to what they will be experiencing during the show that evening. Finally, after everyone has taken their seats, the stage lights up to Brad and Janet standing outside a church as they express their love for one another. This incredibly innocent and pure couple, played by Tim Andersen and Elke Myers, was an excellent portrayal of a typical 1950s era relationship, and they sure did a “swell” job of it.
As the plot continues to unfold, we arrive at the front door of Dr. Frank N. Furter’s castle. After waiting for what seems to be the most heavily secured castle door in history to open, out walks the very lifeless and deadpanned Riff Raff, head butler to the evil scientist. This very humorous character played by John Schnoor, truly adds to the comedic value of the story. It is also no understatement when I say that his amazing voice and belt will have you jaw-dropped with astonishment.
After entertaining and engaging performances of “The Time Warp” and “It’s Astounding,” we are finally introduced to the eccentric Dr. Frank N. Furter. Brent Welch has the honor of playing this role, and I mean it quite literally when I say that this role has some rather challenging shoes to fill; however, he fills these shoes quite nicely with his lustful and charm-filled interpretation of the character, not to mention the legs and fishnets.
Of course, we can’t forget the character that gives this show its name: Rocky. Portrayed by Justin Minchow, this character has the fearless task of portraying male domination and physique throughout the entire performance, and Minchow does a phenomenal job of his role and provides the entire “package.” You’ll get that last joke after you see the show!
Reviewer’s Note: After spending about twenty minutes trying to decide if this falls under a character choice or technical device, I’ve decided to give it a paragraph of its own. One of my favorite attributes of this show, was the use of actors to portray set pieces. Benjamin Wiehe & Lauren Farris had me busting up with laughter as they stood center stage as both church windows and Brad and Janet’s car doors. A very creative decision that truly added to the comedic value of the performance.
The technical devices of this show were elaborate and effective to the story’s plot. The music and sound effects played throughout the show added to both the comedy and suspense of the musical. I loved the use of the moveable set pieces which added to the levels and depth of the performance, and was a pivotal role in expanding the small stage space.
TADA theatre has done a “groovy” job of bringing this all-time favorite musical to the local stage. With its talented cast and original production choices, you don’t want to miss this wonderful rendition of The Rocky Horror Show.
Get your tickets now to see The Rocky Horror Show at TADA theatre. Oh, and don’t forget, “It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right”!
If you go: Remaining performances of The Rocky Horror Show are October 13, 20, 27, and November 3 at 2:00 PM, October 17-19, 24, 25, 31, and November 1 and 2 at 7:30 PM, as well as a special late night performance October 19 at 11:30 PM. Tickets are available online and at the TADA Theatre box office, located at 701 P Street in the Haymarket.
Zac Franzen began his life in the arts at the age of six. His vast experience includes directing, teaching, and countless performances in plays, immersion theatre, poetry, and interp; his personal favorite being musical theatre. Zac is a licensed judged for the state of Nebraska in both play production and speech, traveling across the state to work with high school students. He has numerous achievements on both the state and national level, and was accepted to attend Juilliard Theatre for the Performing Arts. Zac is a very passionate and engaged person while promoting the enriching benefits the arts can give for all lives. If the opportunity to partake in any form of theatre has not presented itself to you, there is no doubt Zac will give you a private performance of your own, anywhere and anytime!
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