I’m not quite sure how old I was the first time I went to a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I would say I was somewhere around 14 or 15 years old. I remember being shocked, amazed, and intrigued. I loved the energy. I loved the music. And, more than anything, I loved the themes in the storyline – the combination of sci-fi and horror, the personal exploration, the self awareness, and the beginnings of acceptance of people previously considered “different.” I wouldn’t say that it was ever an anthem for me or my life, but it definitely changed me in ways I cannot describe.
In 1973 Richard O'Brien brought forth on the London stage the Rocky Horror Show. Two years later the film adaptation (now entitled The Rocky Horror Picture Show) was born, but not to the fanfare we are familiar with today. The fun loving, energetic song and dance film really had its birth on April Fools' Day, 1976 in New York City at the Waverly Theater with its first midnight showing. The rumpus started with audience members showing up in costume, singing, dancing and calling to the screen. By Halloween of that year The Rocky Horror Picture Show was on its way to the cult-like following we now see in theaters around the world.
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, finding a midnight showing of Rocky on a Saturday night was easy. The first time I saw it was at the Varsity Theater on University Avenue in Palo Alto, CA (I have to mention that this particular historic theater was later sold and turned into a Borders bookstore, something that really broke my heart at the time, and now there's rumor of turning it back into a theater - go figure). In my late teens I would become a regular at a small theater in Belmont, CA. Now, I think the only weekly showing in the Bay Area is from a cast in Oakland. They have a beautiful historic theater with sofas as seating & a big stage.
I’ve asked around to see when the last time Albuquerque had a regular cast and showing of Rocky, and get various responses. I’ve met several people who played in showings at the Lobo (when it was closer to UNM), and even a couple that have performed at the Guild. It seems that Albuquerque has a love for Rocky, but it’s an estranged love.
No longer. This weekend a new cast is presenting the Rocky Horror Picture Show for a special 2 night engagement at the Guild - Friday October 21 and Saturday October 22 at 10:30pm. The Rocky Horror New Mexico cast is comprised of some members of former incarnations of Rocky in ABQ, and some shiny new faces as well. Sponsored by Pride & Equality Magazine, this production is going to bring back memories for anyone who hasn’t experienced Rocky in a long time, and create new ones for all the Rocky “virgins.” For those unaware of the phenomena: this is a traditional Rocky shadowcast production where the film is played on the screen, and a cast of actors play out the film onstage during the movie while the audience provides additional entertainment. Pride & Equality Magazine is even providing bags of goodies for every ticket buyer, so you don’t have to worry about bringing any toast, rice, bells, party hats, cards, or noisemakers. There will even be a costume contest each night, and the traditional "virgin initiation"!
Advance tickets are available online, and I highly suggest buying them in advance as I’m told the Friday night showing is already sold out!
So, have any exciting Halloween plans yet? I think you do now!
I would like to encourage you to go check out this fun event this weekend, as it will help this cast to consider future ongoing opportunities here in Albuquerque. I would also like to offer this opportunity to all my fellow DCFers to reply and leave your memories of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. To me, experiencing Rocky is one of those coming of age types of activities. What about you?