What is Rocky Horror?
When The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released in 1975, it quickly became a cult classic. In the 41 years since the original release, people everywhere have been flocking to live screenings. Rocky Horror is a unique place, a place where the cast and audience alike can feel united. It is a place where you can be who ever the hell you want to be. It is an accepting place, where the things that make us different, are celebrated and embraced. There is nothing quite like attending a live screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Join our family every Saturday night as we run around a movie theater in our underwear and scream obscenities at a movie screen!
If you're a Rocky Horror Virgin or long time fan of the film, come out, we promise you a kick ass night!
A Brief History of Rocky Horror
The Rocky Horror Show -From Rockypedia.org
The RHS was a play, written in six months by Richard O'Brien, with the working title "They Came from Denton High." The title was changed to "The Rock Hor-Roar Show", and eventually to "The Rocky Horror Show". The first preview was on June 16, 1973, at The Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in London, England. The play was intended as "a bit of fun" to run only a couple of weeks, but was a huge hit. The play moved from the 60-seat Theatre Upstairs to a series of larger houses, starting with the Classic Cinema, a converted movie house scheduled for demolition. Rocky played there from Aug. 14, 1973 to Oct. 20, 1973. The show's next home was the Kings Road Theatre. Rocky played at Kings Road from Nov. 3, 1973 to March 31, 1979, with multiple cast changes. The end of Rocky's initial UK run was at the Comedy Theatre in the West End, which required some restaging as it was the first theatre Rocky played at with a traditional proscenium arch stage. It was at the Comedy that Rocky was first broken into two acts with an interval (intermission). Rocky ran there from April 6, 1979 until September 13, 1980. (Note: if you want to visit these venues today, the Comedy was renamed the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2011.)
Rocky was named Best New Musical of 1973 by "Plays and Players"' annual poll of theater critics, and best musical of 1973 by the "Evening Standard"'s panel of drama critics.
The show continued to play in London for a total of 2,960 performances, finally closing Sept. 13, 1980.
About ten months into the run, Lou Adler (who had recently opened the Roxy club in Los Angeles, California) saw the musical (on a night Richard O'Brien was playing Frank) and brought it to The United States - at the Roxy. The show's first preview was March 19, 1974.
Rocky started spreading early: it made it to Australia in 1974, and Japan in 1975, and has been around the world since.
In 1975, it was made into the movie. As a promotion for the movie, it also had a (disastrous) run on Broadway from March to April of 1975, closing after only three previews and 45 performances.
Tip: If you see a photo of Tim Curry playing Frank as a blond, it's from the London production. Tim dyed his hair black before playing the part in the US; I think it was supposed to make him look more like glam rocker Alice Cooper.
A rather gobsmacking collection of video, photos, audio information and links from various productions of the Rocky Horror Show can be found here: http://www.rockymusic.org/tags/Rocky+Horror+Show.php
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
[The Rocky Horror Show] was made into a movie, with photography starting on October 21, 1974, with great help from Lou Adler, who had been running the RHS in his Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles for some time. Its world premiere was in London on August 14, 1975. Its US premiere was in Hollywood on September 26, 1975. October 31 is generally celebrated as Rocky's "birthday", for obvious reasons.… It bombed everywhere (expect in Los Angeles, where a following had already been created by the RHS at The Roxy). However, some attentive cinema owners noticed that, while RHPS wasn't selling as many tickets as other movies, they were selling the same tickets multiple times - that is, the same people kept coming back. Twentieth Century Fox then re-released the movie for midnight runs - cutting out Superheroes and SF/DF Reprise along the way. Its first regular midnight run started in New York City at the Waverly Theatre on April 2, 1976. Soon, people had started dancing and singing along with the music, and the call-backs and casts were soon to follow.
RHPS hit its peak in the early 1980's. Many casts had live bands performing, and the crowds were often sell-outs, or close to it. Since that time, the newer generations have found other ways to alienate society, and RHPS has become more "mainstream" (highlighted by the fact that it is available on video and rerun on Comedy Central). However, most everyone acknowledges the importance that RHPS had - and still has - in giving the "outcasts" of society a place to go, interact, and collectively realize exactly how fucked-up mainstream society really is.
A Cult Following
-An excerpt from Creatures of the Night, by Sal Piro, RHPS Fanclub President
“In spring of 1977, a young woman named Dori Hartley came to the Waverly to see the RHPS for the first time. No one could guess at the profound effect she was to have on the development of the cult. That night she came with her friend Robin Lipner, who had seen the film a few months before. Dori's reaction to the entire experience, the film itself and the audience antics, coupled with an intense fascination with and attraction to Frank-N-Furter (Frank), kept her awake most of that night. The next night, although she could not break a previous date in order to see the film, she did ride past the Waverly on her bicycle. It was at 2 a.m., when the crowds were leaving the theater after the show was over. Unable to forget the movie, she went home and sketched portraits of Frank from memory. The next Friday she saw the film again. After that, she did not miss a showing of ROCKY until the end of its run at the Waverly six months later.
At first, Dori was threatened by the crowd of regulars, because they were so much a part of the show that so fascinated her. She felt like an outsider. This did not last long. She met Lori Davis, who introduced her to the others in the first row balcony. Lori had seen the show many times and this impressed Dori. She was soon accepted into the "pew" and she and Robin became regulars. She still looked up to the others because they had been in at the beginning of it all, and she was especially impressed by Bill O'Brien, who had played Frank in the original floor show.
The more Dori saw the film, the more her obsession with Frank grew. First she dyed her blond hair black, then she had a permanent so she could have the exact hairdo that Frank has in the film. At her thirteenth viewing, she appeared wearing make-up identical to Frank's and a cape like his that she made herself. Outside, the crowd waiting in line applauded her. She was encouraged by the response, and worked constantly to improve her costume and make-up. It was Dori who re-introduced special clothing for the film and it was here to stay.
When Robin decided to dress up also, Dori suggested that she go as Magenta, and she helped with her make-up and with the choosing of a plain black dress. It was about this time that fourteen-year old Maria Medina started coming to the Waverly. She also dressed as Magenta, and her maid's costume was complete. In make-up, Maria's resemblance to Patricia Quinn's Magenta in the film was uncanny. Seeing this, Robin finished work on her own costume and wore it. This was the way that the first and most heated of the rivalries between fans wearing the same costume began.
As her act became more polished, Dori began receiving attention and she was approached by Bill O'Brien with the idea of reorganizing the pre-movie floor show. Dori was very excited at this, although disappointed when she realized Bill wanted her to play Columbia. Obediently, however, she went home and started to work on the new costume. After all, she still looked up to Bill as the original floor show cast Frank-N-Furter.
Bill never got anywhere with his plan, leaving Dori with a half-finished, sequinned Columbia outfit. But nothing could dampen her enthusiasm, and it was spreading to the others. When Laura Stein showed interest in dressing up, Dori gave her the Columbia outfit and helped her with make-up. She herself continued to dress as Frank-N-Furter, and suggested to Thom Riley, another regular, that he come as Riff Raff; she helped him with costume and make-up, too. In true Frank-N-Furter fashion, Dori had built around herself a court of characters.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the history and the development of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and its cult following is encouraged to check out www.rockypedia.org and www.rockyhorror.com. Both websites provide many facts and details about the play, the movie, and the details in between.
"Rockypedia." Rockypedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.
Piro, Sal, and Richard O'Brien. Creatures of the Night: The Rocky Horror Experience. Redford, MI: Stabur, 1990. Print
Photos by Rachael Kitty Howard