Sunday, November 3, 2013

Rocky Horror, Take Three

by Pa Rock
Theatre Fan

The Rocky Horror Picture Show bears repeating.  Some movie houses have been repeating it in midnight showings for decades, making the film the longest running presentation in theatrical history.   There's a cross-generational group of fans who have been going to those midnight showings, night after night, for longer than people with lives would be loathe to admit.  But, dammit Janet, the movie is a lot of fun!

And so too is the play.

The Luke Experience, our local little theatre troupe, is also developing a Rocky Horror habit.  The very talented acting company has just completed its third production of the material - and the play, like the movie, is lots and lots of fun!

Their first run at Rocky Horror occurred sometime during 2010-2012 while I was still at Kadena, so I missed that theatrical endeavor, but the second effort took place a year ago this month and I was able to enjoy it - twice.  Those performances were very good, but hampered by a bad sound system.

Now the sound issue has been resolved, and that makes all the difference!

The current production was co-directed by Christoforo Ceroni and Lacey Quattlebaum, both of whom also held down important roles in the play.  In addition to directing and playing the part of Columbia, Ms. Quattlebaum performed the opening song, a difficult musical number in which she hit every note perfectly.  It was a very nice lead into the play.

Ms. Quattlebaum is a long-standing director and actor with The Luke Experience.  She directed and performed in the first play that I ever saw at Luke - The Devil and Daniel Webster - in 2009.

Chris Ceroni reprised his role of the central character, Dr. Frankenfurter, a cross-dressing mad scientist who romped and stomped around the stage in platform boots with high heels.  At one point he descended an eight-foot step-ladder, unassisted, hands-free, in heels, while singing -  a feat that was nothing short of jaw-dropping!  Ceroni is an on-stage regular with The Luke Experience, and his performances are always top notch.

Daniel Calderone and Laurie Snyder, turned in solid performances as the hapless house guests, Brad and Janet, as did Mitchell Bruner and Carissa Latham with their portrayals of the evil domestics, Riff Raff and Magenta.  Linda Johnson portrayed the narrator to perfection.  Ms. Johnson revs up every play that she is in with her quirky and memorable performances.  Ron Fantasia played Frankenfurter's perfect male creature, Rocky - and he did it quite well, even out-shining his performance in the role a year ago.

Also appearing in the current production were Amanda Armstrong, Curtis Sproul, Allyson Schonfeld, Sofie Calderon, Lee Hartwig, Regina Denman, Haley Bobadilla, Amber Whittle, Jeremiah Barnes, Silver Gonzales, and Shamika Moore.

One of the male cast members who was in the Dentonians / Transylvanians chorus, came out during the intermission, in drag, and did a spirited recruitment effort trying to encourage participation in The Luke Experience.   He was funny and engaging.

Everything about this performance was exceptional:  the acting, the singing, and even the dancing.  The actors hit their marks and knew their lines, and I could hear every word.  It was really a pleasure to watch!

It takes a fair amount of courage to perform in a play like Rocky Horror, particularly on a military base- and The Luke Experience does it so well.  Although retirement will prevent me from seeing it next year, I hope they have established a tradition that will be around for many years to come.

Thank you, Luke Experience, for being so bold as to bring a musical of this caliber to base!  You guys rock!

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