I first heard about the Rocky Horror Picture Show back when I was in high school. I was in me senior year and I was hanging out after school in the computer lab. (Yeah, I was one of those guys) Somehow it came up in conversation with the group (including the awesome teacher)
I went to Cleveland Height High School. Heights is literally across the street from the theater and I’d never had gone before. I didn’t go then though. I graduated in 1991 and started my ill-fated run at Cleveland State that fall.
Sometime around that point in fall right around Halloween I went with my best friend to the show for the first time. I was still the same nerd then too with. All the check-boxes you can think of for a “nerd” were checked for me still. That first show changed the trajectory of my life in ways I wouldn’t realize.
I started going just about every week — or at least whenever I could get my friend to go with me.
Fall became winter.
One day in February of 1992 we went to the show in a massive snow storm. Gabe and I were sitting in our normal spot in the theater when the cast realized they were short some members.
“Hey you, have you seen this show before?”
I weakly nodded in agreement.
And so it started.
I wasn’t officially the criminologist for a few more shows but it didn’t stop me from just going up and playing the part that no one else seemed to want to play.
Back then the show was every week too… so it’s a double-edged sword for the social life. You get something to do every Saturday night, but you only do that every Saturday night.
There were the times the show nearly faded away. I remember a show with six people in the audience. There was the era of the every-other-week show that did nothing except confuse everyone. (In comparison last night was a sell-out)
I had a year or so break from the show after the “petroleum jelly incident.”
Back in the day I was the maintainer of the Internet Rocky Horror Theater List. This was back in the days before web sites if you could imagine. Oh the horrors of Usenet. There was once a place called “alt.cult-movies.rocky-horror” that started the arc of many fan.
I had my first really big crush with a girl I met at Rocky. Unfortunately I hadn’t really kept in touch with her when she moved off to college.
I had my first real kiss after a showing of Rocky. I’m still good friends friends with her. God, that was complicated. :-) I went to her wedding.
I briefly had two girls called Jennifer (not to be confused with my Ennie) that had a fan club for me. They even had T-shirts made. :-D
I met my wife at a show of Rocky. :rose: We went on to perform together for the better part of 10 years before she retired from the cast.
We met Richard O’Brien and Patricia Quinn on our honeymoon in England after we got married in 1999. We met him at the convention that was being held in Woking for the show. We also saw the original stage show in Milton Keynes — the town that is most famous for its roundabouts.
We went to conventions all over the country. New York, Colorado, California, Vegas.
We had fun.
Some time along the way I transitioned from playing the Criminologist full time to playing Rocky. Rocky is the one that runs around in gold underwear. Rocky let me really be someone different. Someone who is so completely different from who I normally am — or was — the relatively conservative looking geek.
Some time after that I went to playing Brad full time.
Over the years I’ve played every part there is to be played. Which is my favorite? Janet — hands down. She has the most change that happens to her character; the most range.
I’ve met many people over the years. Many people I call friends.
Like I was saying, the show was every week back then. I was going every week for more than 10 years. My rough estimation is that I’ve seen in in a theater around 800-1000 times.
– = –
Next month’s show will be the last time I’m playing as part of the regular cast. I have too much on my plate to devote the right amount of time to the show. I think it’s finally time to hang up the boa. I’ll still be on as a hanger-on and maybe part-timer. It’s time to let someone that has more to commit to the show to step up.
I invite everyone to come out and see my last show next month. Come out and join Simply His Servants, Cleveland’s only year-round floorshow cast, at the Cedar-Lee Theatre. The next show is September 3rd at midnight — I really hope to see you there.
And if you like it, keep going and support the show and the cast. Everyone does a whole lot of work to get the show the way it is.