Article by Marie Sykes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Brad, Janet, and more have returned for a second run produced by none other than Ursinus’ student-run theater group, Breakaway Student Productions. The show runs Friday and Saturday, October 20th and 21st, at TIME.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a cult classic often watched around Halloween and even regularly performed by a “shadow cast” (a cast actively acting out though not speaking their roles) in front of the movie.
Rocky Horror itself is difficult to describe the plot of. When production members were asked how they would describe the show, “chaotic” was a popular answer. Sophia Bush ‘26, Riff Raff, said “phantasmagorical orgy nightmare-but-positive for her three words. Tre Dunlap ’25, who did not realize what this show was about outside of its “important[ance] to the people around here,”called it the “weirdest thing ever.” “I don’t regret it for a second,” Dunlap said of participating.
While the majority of the cast knew what this show was before they got involved, three people, including Nate Ginet ‘27, who plays Brad, a leading role, had no clue what they were signing up for until the rehearsal showing. “I have some big shoes to fill,” Ginet said, but is “excited” for his Breakaway debut.
When asked about their favorite parts of Rocky Horror, here’s how the production members respond. Director Evan Chartock ‘25 said “it’s so difficult to answer that question… like asking a parent to pick their favorite child,” though he did say the song, “Hot Patootie,” “does an excellent job of blending the quirkiness and sexual nature of Rocky with a nice rock-and-roll flair.” For his favorite part of directing, he said, “There is an indescribable amount of satisfaction associated with seeing your vision come to life. I can’t help but smile seeing the actors interpret my minimal blocking into complex and interconnected characters.”
Others answered songs like “Rose Tint My World” and “Time Warp.” Annie Zulick ‘25, Rocky, answered “flexing.” The outfits are something to look forward to. Melissa Petro ‘27, Eddie, said she really enjoyed the scene where they eat “chicken,” but you’ll discover what occurs there during the production. “Big fan of that scene,” she added.
Tovah Tolub ‘27, Columbia, said she enjoyed the “Columbia and Magenta sleepover moments.” Bush said that Riff Raff is one her favorite characters and loves the balcony scene where a light shines on her face. Sadie Walker ‘25, Janet, said her favorite part was returning to the show, especially since she was in the ensemble her freshman year when this last ran. “I’ve done this before, but it’s a different experience,” she said. Doing each run through of the songs is also a lot of fun with the cast.
Elliot Cetinski ‘24, Dr. Frank-N-Furter (for the second time), spoke about how this musical holds a special importance within the queer community. “I think it’s really hard for genderqueer individuals to love themselves in a society that expects them to conform to gender expectations, especially [for] people who don’t conform to body standards’ it’s a very healing thing to be a part of… [Rocky Horror] is such a pivotal thing in queer culture and I’m so glad we’re keeping it alive.”
When asked about challenging moments, Assistant Director Caitlin Shanahan ‘26 spoke to a blocking issue, and of a few continuity issues in the movie. “In one shot someone is on the right and [the next shot they’re] on the left,” she said, which becomes much more obvious when you have a live cast accompanying the movie. Petro said that one challenge for her is not being “Meatloaf sized,” which makes some of the strength components difficult. Tolub said learning how to “fake” tap dance was her challenge. Walker shared that playing Janet, one of the leads, is “so out of my comfort zone but it’s still really interesting because I get to explore what’s out of my comfort zone.”
The members have told the audience to “expect chaos,” said Shanahan and MacAlister. Most importantly, this show is “really big on audience participation,” which includes things like “do[ing] the shoutouts” and “get[ting] in” and going along for the ride, Walker and Torres added. Rocky Horror shoutouts can be found online on websites like Playbill or Entertainment Inc. It is akin to heckling the screen, and adds to the energy of the show.