Kendra Baker – Special to Southern News –
With less than five weeks to prepare, Southern’s theatre department has been getting ready for this semester’s “Rocky Horror” production, based on the British rock musical play, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Auditions for “Rocky Horror” were held on Sept. 4 and 5—with callbacks on Sept. 6— in the Kendall Drama Lab, located in the John Lyman Center of Performing Arts. Approximately 40 students auditioned—15 of them freshmen, which Larry Nye, an associate professor of children’s and musical theatre and dance in the theatre department, said was quite a cutback compared to auditions for past shows that have had up to 70 students audition.
During the auditions, students were required to sing a musical piece—if they did not bring a piece, they had to sing “Happy Birthday”— then read a short dialogue from the show and perform a dance.
Tamel Holloway, a freshman and theatre major, was one of the students who auditioned and said that he thought the tryout process as quite hard.
“The singing was difficult because I’m not really a singer—I dance,” said Holloway, who has been involved in theatre since he was 11 years-old.
Holloway, who said that he spent every second he could get to practice and prepare for the auditions, landed a role as one of the phantoms in the “Rocky Horror” production.
The Crescent Players Club is a student-run organization that helps the theatre department with its shows. It is also Southern’s longest running organization that was “conceived and constituted as an officially sanctioned student organization” in 1954.
It is no surprise that this year, the club will be helping Southern put on another theatrical performance of the hit cult classic.
With “Rocky Horror” premiering on Oct. 12, rehearsals for the production have begun to take place Sundays through Thursdays from 7–10pm During rehearsals, students learn the show through music and choreography.
Aside from attending rehearsals, Holloway said that he’s been preparing himself in other ways.
“I’ve never seen the entire Rocky Horror Picture Show movie,” said Holloway. “But I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos, studying motifs of the production, and things like that.”
Nye, who has worked with Southern’s theatre department for nine years and said that he has been involved in theatre “ever since birth,” has been preparing for “Rocky Horror” for years.
“I’ve grown up with The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’ve gone to the life-movie with all of the feedback and the props, I’ve always used the music and played it for warm-ups [for other shows]—it’s always been a part of me,” Nye said.
“I’ve always been putting it together in the back of my mind.”
On Oct. 13, for the first time in Southern’s theatre history, there will be a special midnight showing.
Bryan Ruzicka, a senior and president of the Crescent Players Club who is double-majoring in graphic design and theatre, also landed a role as one of the “Rocky Horror” phantoms.
“I’m excited for the midnight presentation of Rocky Horror,” Ruzicka said. “It’s the first time [Southern] has had a midnight showing [and] the reason is because Rocky Horror has a cult following so people from all over who hear about Rocky Horror want to see it.”
He has also been making flyers and posters for the production considering he is the head of the Crescent Players publicity crew.
Nye said he’s confident that there will be good audience turnout for the “Rocky Horror” production and said that Southern’s theatre department and productions are well-known in the region for having good consistency in their shows.
“These last few days [the students] have been learning music, so I sit back and listen to them sing and [I] think about how this show’s going to become a (Rocky Horror).”
“A lot of the community doesn’t realize, but the ones who have come from the community say that the [theatre department’s productions] are a well-kept secret,” Nye said. “[People who have come to productions] have said more and more that they wouldn’t miss a musical and that they look forward to them—people have told me that these [productions] are better than Broadway.”