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Oh, the Horror!

A cult classic musical rocks out at the little theater in the graveyard.


Tony Young as Dr. Frank N. Furter, "just a sweet transvestite."

Photo courtesy of Manoa Valley Theatre

Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show
Manoa Valley Theatre
June 25 to July 13

Dust off those fishnets and feather boas, gentlemen—and ladies, it’s time to don your top hats and tap-dancing shoes. The Rocky Horror Show is coming to Manoa Valley Theatre (MVT).

For the record, it’s not a horror show at all, but a polymorphously perverse send-up of science fiction stories from Frankenstein to Star Trek, by way of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. It’s good-natured. It’s gothic. It’s camp. And it’s exuberantly anarchic.

Most will know this heady brew as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the film that spawned an entire subculture of audience participation, from costumes and props to “talk-back” lines shouted at the screen (wholesome young man to Dr. Frank N. Furter: “What have you done with Janet?” Audience: “More than you have!”). But before there was the film, there was the musical, which was born in London and spread westward as audiences got wind that it was a night to remember.

For the uninitiated, MVT guest director Jerry Tracy provides a pithy synopsis: “Brad and Janet, a naive young couple, stumble into the castle of a mad scientist. Who just happens to be from another planet. And happens also to be a transvestite. He’s creating a new being, and they arrive on the night of the unveiling. So he unveils his creature. And then, um, everybody seduces everybody.”

Rodgers and Hammerstein it ain’t. “We wrangled back and forth about the suitability of it for our ‘family organization,’” says Tracy, of the first time he directed the show at the Aloha Performing Arts Co. in Kealakekua. “But you know what, by today’s standards it’s really pretty tame. So we did it. And it was such a hit that we did it again the next year.”

A Virgin’s Guide to Rocky Horror

If someone at the show asks whether you’re a virgin, it’s (probably) not a come-on.

1. Don’t be shy. Many in the audience will also be new to this.
2. Do come in costume. If you want to.
3. Do watch and learn. Throw things and yell when other people throw things and yell.
4. But don’t throw anything at the stage or the actors.
5. Leave your squirt gun at home. Outside props won’t be allowed. Goodie bags will be on sale, containing confetti, a latex glove, newspaper, a glow stick and toilet paper. In other words, everything you need.

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Honolulu Magazine March 2017
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