Since its debut in 1975, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been a cult favorite, with screenings and performances held in theaters and cinemas throughout the year.
Originally a stage musical written by Richard O’Brien as an homage to cheesy science fiction and horror movies, the film was directed by Jim Sharman and stars Tim Curry, East End regular Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O’Brien, Nell “Little Nell” Campbell and Meat Loaf. Just in time for Halloween, East Enders can visit Suffolk Theater in Riverhead to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show on October 26, or Patchogue Theatre to see a shadowcast screening by The ZEN Room on October 27.
The story is a wacky, subversive spoof of B-movies. Newly engaged yuppies Brad Majors (Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Sarandon) get lost driving along a dark road on a stormy night. When they get a flat tire, they approach a spooky castle to call for help, and are promptly taken prisoner by the evil Dr. Frank N. Furter (Curry), who calls himself a “sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania.”
Dr. Frank N. Furter, along with his misfit minions, including Riff Raff (O’Brien), Magenta (Patricia Quinn) and Columbia (Campbell), is ready to finish his latest science experiment—a muscular, blond hunk named Rocky (Peter Hinwood). Hilarity ensues; Rocky turns out to be a (sexy) simpleton, Dr. Frank N. Furter seduces Brad, Meat Loaf makes an appearance as delivery boy Eddie, Janet seduces Rocky and the villains are revealed to be aliens from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s not supposed to—the “story” is really an excuse for some rollicking musical numbers, including beloved hits like “The Time Warp,” “Science Fiction/Double Feature,” and “There’s a Light.”
Jordana Dlugacz began The ZEN Room in 2009 and has been performing shadowcasts, in which actors perform in front of the movie screen, since 2011. This year marks their fourth Patchogue performance.
“I performed when I was in college, and there was really nobody doing it [on Long Island],” she notes, adding that the few opportunities to see the show in action were expensive. “I think that originally I was drawn to [Rocky Horror] because it celebrated the differences in people. It’s very important, especially these days, to have a welcoming place.”
Anyone who’s been to a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show knows the audience is a big part of the fun, but what exactly is a newcomer in for? “Yelling at the screen, props, actors in the audience…it’s just a great big party,” she says. Dlugacz loves the audience participation. She plays the demented Magenta in the Patchogue shadowcast, noting, “She’s dark and spooky and fun.”
Dlugacz doesn’t think anyone should be timid or feel anxious about going to the raucous show. “It’s just a welcoming atmosphere. There’s nothing to be shy or worried about. Come out and do it!”
The Rocky Horror Picture Show screens at Suffolk Theater in Riverhead (118 East Main Street) with prop bags available for purchase on Friday, October 26 at 8 p.m. suffolktheater.com
The Rocky Horror Picture Show screens at Patchogue Theatre (71 East Main Street) with the ZEN Productions Shadowcast on Saturday, October 27 at 8 p.m. patchoguetheatre.org
For more on The ZEN Room, visit zenproductionsny.com.