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The Horror! The Hilarious Horror!
The Rocky Horror Show takes over FVCC’s stage
Janet Weise, played by Angie Foreman, and Brad Majors, played by Colton Christensen, huddle together as Frank, played by Eric Jeffords, appears above them during a dress rehearsal of the Flathead Valley Community College's production of The Rocky Horror Show. Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
Perhaps the first aspect of “The Rocky Horror Show” that should be discussed is that it is not for children. Sure, adults may feel childish watching it, laughing at the innuendo and blushing at the revealing costumes, but it’s not something you’d want your kids staring at.

Not that the actors in the Flathead Valley Community College Theatre company are hard on the eyes – quite the contrary. It’s just that the play, written by Richard O’Brien in 1973 before being adapted to the big screen in 1975, is unapologetically sexual, director Joe Legate said during dress rehearsal last week.

“It’s a total parody of science fiction of the ‘50s,” Legate said. “I love the show. It’s so much fun and the music is excellent.”

The Rocky Horror Show opens FVCC’s 2012-2013 season, running on Oct. 31, and Nov. 1, 2 and 3. All shows open at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors.

The play’s plot is widely acknowledged as ridiculous: The audience watches as clean-cut couple Brad and Janet wind up at the wild and outrageous castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter and his gang of phantoms. The couple, only seeking a phone call to help with their car trouble, get much more than they bargained for when they walk in the doors.

The tradition and cult community built around Rocky Horror run deep. Audiences everywhere dress up in wild costumes for the award-winning play, which hit Broadway in 1975. There is also plenty of audience participation, developed over years of showings, that includes hollering at the players at certain times and interacting with props.

All of the traditional responses are listed in the play’s program, and they include throwing rice and confetti, eating toast, tossing cards, covering your head with a newspaper and more.

That part excites Legate. The students in the company, which consists of almost 40 people, are in for a surprise when they take the stage.

“They don’t know what a circus Rocky is all about,” Legate said with a laugh.

Giving students more experience in various situations is important, he added.

“What matters – completely and totally our priority – are the educational opportunities for our students,” Legate said.

And this crop of actors does not disappoint, Legate said. Many of the performers on stage are what the industry refers to as triple threats: they can sing, dance and act.

“It’s so rare to have a student who can do all those things,” Legate said.

Indeed, at last week’s dress rehearsal, the actors looked up to the Rocky Horror task. At some point during the play, nearly everyone is stripped down to their undergarments, including naive Brad, played by Colton Christensen, and darling Janet, played by Angie Forman.

Eric Jeffords, who takes on the role as Dr. Frank and is also the vocal director, is certainly impressive in his singing ability, but audiences will likely cheer on his ability to run around the stage in multi-inch high heels as well.

Performing as Janet Weiss and Brad Major, Angie Foreman, left, and Colton Christensen rehearse their opening number during a dress rehearsal of The Rocky Horror Show at Flathead Valley Community College. Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon

The stage setting is also impressive. Designed by technical director Rich Haptonstall, it includes four levels, with the highest sitting 10 feet above the stage floor. Legate noted that Rocky Horror can be performed in various ways, with some directors choosing to go with a darker theme or a vampire-inspired atmosphere.

Haptonstall’s set is more like one found in a “cheesy, B-movie,” the technical director said.

All of the musical numbers will get more-than-adequate accompaniment from the live band, “The Horrors,” which includes a local legendary punk guitarist, a unicorn on drums, and a Broadway music director on the keyboard.

Audience members can expect a little touching from the theater phantoms, Legate said, but nothing on the level of harassment.

“We’re a very, very gentle theater company,” he said. “We want (the audience) to have fun.”

The first showing, on Oct. 26, was sold out the week before it ran, Legate said. The community is clearly ready to get its Horror on, and so is the company, which has prepared for eight weeks.

“This is going to be such an amazing opportunity for our students,” Legate said. “I can’t wait. I’m so excited!”

Tickets for “The Rocky Horror Show” can be purchased at the FVCC Bookstore, at Campus Grounds inside the Arts and Technology Building, by calling 406-756-3814, or online at www.fvcc.edu/fvcctheatre.html.
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