Four Corners Musical Theatre Company brings 'Rocky Horror' to life on Civic Center stage
After nearly 50 years, cult classic remains as popular as ever
- "The Rocky Horror Show" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21 through Saturday, Oct. 23 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24 at the Farmington Civic Center.
- Presentations continue Oct. 28-31.
- Tickets are $14 and $18 at fmtn.org/shows or 505-599-1148.
FARMINGTON — When Farmington Civic Center supervisor and Four Corners Musical Theatre Company director Randy West began thinking about a show he'd like to put together for his organization's fall production, "The Rocky Horror Show" wasn't his first choice.
West originally had hoped to mount a production of "Camelot," but he couldn't get the rights. Then he began kicking around the idea of doing a Halloween-related show and explored the possibility of doing "Young Frankenstein" or even a zombie-related production.
Eventually, he settled on "Rocky Horror," a 1973 musical comedy by Richard O'Brien that was famously adapted for a 1975 film starring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon that became, and remains, a cult classic. Despite the fact that "Rocky Horror" will celebrate its 50th anniversary soon and has been a big part of American pop culture for most of that time, West has never been associated with a production of it – until now.
Calendar of events:From 'Rocky Horror' to live music, here are things to do in Farmington
Rocky Horror show 'infectious'
So the Four Corners Musical Theatre Company production of "The Rocky Horror Show" that runs for the next two weekends serves as his professional introduction to the property. While other members of his cast and crew have worked other productions of the show and have developed encyclopedic knowledge of its specifics, West has found himself delighted to acquaint himself with "Rocky Horror."
"It's infectious," he said. "It's a really fun set of music. And we've built some fun sets that start out as a haunted house with parts that spin around to become a laboratory."
West is particularly pleased with some of the lab equipment he managed to secure for the show, noting that a source in Los Angeles was able to send him some of the original lab equipment from the 1960s "Batman" television series starring Adam West, just to give this production an extra retro flavor.
Halloween events in Farmington:Dozens participate in inaugural Zombie Run to help ECHO Inc.
West said that when he was researching "Rocky Horror," he discovered that the play's genesis hardly followed the standard playbook.
"I studied it before I committed to it," he said. "The original production was supposed to be just a set of musical numbers as a concert. But the promoters wanted it redefined. So they went back in wrote the plot and dialog, and created a through line."
West explained that it's extremely rare for a successful stage production to be assembled in such a slapdash manner. But the birth of "Rocky Horror" seems to fit its subject matter, he said.
"They kind of put it together like Frankenstein's monster," he said.
The show stars Four Corners Musical Theatre Company veteran Nick Drivas, who recalled his first exposure to the "Rocky Horror" canon coming at the age of 10, when he was in middle school and saw some high school students acting out some of its elements during a school event. Since then, he's come to know it very well, citing its bold concepts and timeless humor as the reasons for its enduring popularity.
"It's really held up," he said.
Drivas also said he appreciates how well the play and its songs are written, especially in regard to how they drive the narrative.
What to expect if you see 'The Rocky Horror Show'
"As an actor, there are a lot of moments when you realize new things about your characters," he said. "There are smart, little quirks in the lyrics that really serve the story."
West has assembled a cast of 15 actors that include Drivas, Paloma DAuria, Sean McCall, Melissa Cheffers, Kit Asfeldt, Emma Price, Gareth West, Delphon Curtis Jr., Mitchell Matyas, Jada Herrera, Kiana Baylor, Amber Glasgow, Mady Brand and Soleil Farris. The production also features a live, five-piece band that includes synthesizer, percussion, bass, guitar and saxophone.
Traditionally, productions of "The Rocky Horror Show" include a great deal of audience interaction, a phenomenon that has crowd members yelling at the cast, spraying water at the actors or throwing objects on stage.
While West is counting on a degree of audience interaction with this production to give the show the energy it needs, he said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will limit some of that activity. Audience members are being asked not to throw anything on stage or spray the performers with water in the interests of safety, he said.
But West certainly isn't trying to throw a wet blanket on the customary raucous atmosphere of "Rocky Horror." West said his actors are ready to react to whatever may come their way from the audience, so long as it remains within acceptable boundaries.
He noted that many audience members may know the source material as well as the actors, and he's looking forward to hearing what they come up with.
"There's so much stuff people know (about 'Rocky Horror')," he said. "Some of the yelling is pretty sophisticated. You almost have to have a 'Rocky Horror' aficionado to yell that stuff."
That element of the production adds a wild card to performances that isn't normally found in the world of live theater. Drivas said West has done a good job of providing his cast with an overall vision for the show while still giving the actors plenty of room to explore their characters and plumb their personal nuances.
"I think the whole cast feels like they own this show," he said.
"The Rocky Horror Show" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21 through Saturday, Oct. 23 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24 at the Farmington Civic Center, 200 W. Arrington St. Presentations continue Oct. 28-31. Tickets are $14 and $18 at fmtn.org/shows or 505-599-1148.
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.