Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Rocky Horror Show, Woodland Theatre, San Antonio, October 10 - November 2, 2013

ALT review
Rocky Horror Show Woodlawn Theatre San Antonio TX

by Michael Meigs

There must be something in the water down there in San Antonio.

Right now San Antonio has not one but two stage versions of The Rocky Horror Show running. The Cameo Theatre staging by J. Pennington Studios plays through next weekend, and Greg Hinojosa's exuberant production at the Woodlawn, to which I was invited last Thursday, plays until November 2. The large and enthusiastic cast at the Woodlawn appears Thursdays at 8 p.m. and then Fridays and Saturdays at 11 p.m. after the Woodlawn's staging of Young Frankenstein. It's a 'two-fer' for the production crew, because that towering two-story castle in murky Transylvania serves both productions.

Let me share information that was new to me but is probably ancient history to you. The Rocky Horror Show is a campy blend of old-style horror movies, tales of aliens from outer space, and parody sexual license, liberty and transvestism. The Cameo production is billed as a 40th anniversary edition, because the show originated in London in 1973. The Woodlawn production has become an annual project featuring celebrity leads -- three of 'em this year, from RuPaul's Drag Race, the televised drag queen competition now entering its sixth season.

The Rocky Horror Show Woodlawn Theatre San Antonio TX
Melissa Zarb-Cousin, Sean Hagdorn (photo: Siggi Ragnar)
The filmed version of the Rocky Horror story done in 1975 is still in its initial release -- as a cult late-night show it still attracts a devoted core of followers who celebrate its silliness, dress up, sing along and talk back to the screen. So the audience for the stage production is generally divided into two groups: the knowledgeable devotees and those who don't have a clue what they're letting themselves in for. Count me among the latter. And instantly identified and marked as such: a charming young lady at the door quizzes arrivals and separates the goats from the sheep (including me), marking novices on their foreheads with a bright lipsticked 'V' for virgin. Master of Ceremonies Hinojosa has his pick of those V's to invite up on stage for the intro and warm-up, to the enthusiastic approval of the often costumed non-virgins in the crowd.

The story's a rudimentary one: sweetly naive Janet and Brad are engaged virgins whose automobile breaks down in the wild countryside, so they hike through night and rain to a nearby castle (conveniently set up for Young Frankenstein). Melissa Zarb-Cousin as Janet is a tasty dish with big eyes and sweet curves; Sean Hagdorn as Brad Majors is presented as a Rick Moranis type with a fine resounding voice. They're ushered into an orgy, stripped to their underwear, and initiated into the wild wild world of Transexual Transylvania.

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