Arts and Entertainment

‘Rocky Horror’ spices up the theater scene

Theater director Elizabeth Ripley steps out on the deck of her home to show off one of the props that will be used in Drama Dock’s upcoming musical, “The Rocky Horror Show.”  - Elizabeth Shepherd/Staff Photo
Theater director Elizabeth Ripley steps out on the deck of her home to show off one of the props that will be used in Drama Dock’s upcoming musical, “The Rocky Horror Show.”
— image credit: Elizabeth Shepherd/Staff Photo

Drama Dock, Vashon’s community theater ensemble, is celebrating its 35th anniversary season this year with its own rendition of “The Rocky Horror Show” — a titillating musical its director hopes will attract a fun-loving, grown-up crowd.

“There are plenty of high heels, corsets, and bright makeup in the show — and not just on the girls,” said Elizabeth Ripley, who is at the helm of the show and also serves as Drama Dock’s artistic director.

“Rocky Horror” is a theatrical and film phenomenon that has been around for decades — first as a stage show and then as a movie that has attracted a participatory cult following at midnight screenings, which have run nonstop in art houses since the film opened in the 1970s.

The musical, by Richard O’Brien, tells the campy story of a young, wholesome couple named Brad and Janet who stumble upon a creepy castle filled with weird denizens participating in an annual Transylvanian convention. The musical is a send-up of the most outlandish excesses of horror and sci-fi genres, and there are also plenty of sexual themes to go around. 

“If you wouldn’t ever go see a burlesque show, don’t come to see ‘Rocky,’” said Ripley, who made sure that auditions for the show were for thespians 18-years and older only. 

Ripley is hoping to attract the right audience for the show — a demographic that will enjoy and even participate in the show’s  spicy humor and exuberant musicality.

“The songs are so great, and it’s been so fun to work with the cast, because it’s so far beyond what most of them have done before,” she said. 

Marshall Murray, whose recent star turns on the Island were in Drama Dock’s fundraiser “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” and the family-friendly musical, “Honk,” will play Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a combination space alien and mad scientist who struts around the stage wearing seven-inch stilettos and fishnet stockings.  

Stephanie Murray will play an exotic character named Magenta, and Stephen Floyd has a main role as Frank-N-Furter’s handyman Riff Raff. Other Islanders with juicy parts in the show include Lissy Nichols, Zoey Rice, Arlette Moody, Richard Montague and Jon Whalen.

Three University of Washington theater students, Bryanna Savelesky, William Wassman and Ari Ashkenazi, were also recruited to join the cast.

Arlette Moody has choreographed the show, and a team including Christopher Overstreet, James Culbertson and Richard Montague have come up with an array of special technical effects. Overstreet is also the show’s musical director. Veteran Drama Dock designer Lillian Ripley has assembled a closetful of costumes adorned with feathers, lace and spandex for the performers to wear.

“The stage is going to be transformed,” said Elizabth Ripley, who laughed as she added that props for “The Rocky Horror Show” include a Harley Davidson motorcycle and a decapitated head. 

“It’s definitely something different than anything that’s ever been on stage before on Vashon,” she said. “There aren’t many shows as far out as this, if you stop and think about it.”

“The Rocky Horror Show,” performed at Vashon High School’s theater, will have a half-priced preview performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 7. Other performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. July 8, 9, 14, 15 and 17, and 10 p.m. July 9 and 16. Audience members are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite “Rocky Horror Show” characters to the 10 p.m. performances. Tickets, $15 and $10, are on sale at Books by the Way, Vashon Bookshop and at the door. Due to sexual themes, parental guidance is highly recommended; parents can research the show by viewing YouTube clips of the movie version. 



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