‘The Rocky Horror Show’ Gets Raunchy Production At OB Playhouse
Michael Mizerany stages a ‘Rocky’ that embraces audience participation
Monday, October 15, 2018
'The Rocky Horror Show' Gets Raunchy Production At OB Playhouse
Michael Mizerany, "The Rocky Horror Show" director/choreographer
Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter
It’s the month of Halloween, so what better time to do “The Rocky Horror Show” live on stage at the OB Playhouse?
Director and choreographer Michael Mizerany remembered his first encounter with the story of Brad, Janet and the sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania.
“It was 1980,” Mizerany recalled. “I was a senior in high school in the Midwest. I was in theater, and all of us went to the theater to see it, and I had never seen it. And they said, ‘Well you’re a Brad.’ I’m a Brad? Is that a person in the show? And they said 'yeah.' So I go, and I watch the film, and I go, Brad’s a virgin, repressed, and has never really experienced anything like sex, and well, that sort of was me. But the great thing about it was that I went somewhere, and I fit in. I felt like — so my feelings about being gay is not abnormal, there are people like that on the screen. The antihero is a transvestite in the movie, and I’m like wow! I get this. And the people around me are screaming and hollering and having a great time, and it was the first time I didn’t feel alone, there are people like me, and they are celebrating.”
The story of Rocky on film (1975) and on stage (where it originated in 1973) has had that effect on many people across generations. Even more than four decades later the film continues to play midnight shows, mostly with live shadowcasts that introduce the film to new audiences every day.
Mizerany decided it was time for him to tackle the stage version of the film that had impacted his life decades ago.
But he pointed out that his production of “The Rocky Horror Show” will be raunchy, sexy, and eager to embrace audience interaction.
“We are doing callouts and shoutouts so you can come in and do that,” Mizerany said. “And we will have a goodie bag of things that you can buy to throw or to use. But the thing is the actors can talk back to you, so it’s not like you say something, and that’s it. These actors will talk back to you. Especially the narrator and Frank-N-Furter. So just be prepared to be called out if you are calling out. We are embracing that.”
“Rocky Horror,” whether on stage or as a film, is known for its audience participation so the actors at OB Playhouse are rehearsing with crowd participation as part of the process. When you come to the show, also be prepared for the intimacy of the space with actors being as close as six feet away.
But what attracted Mizerany to stage the show more than its theatrics was its message.
“I like the message of be yourself, be your true self, don’t hide it, don’t conform. To me that’s the thrust of the show,” Mizerany stated.
And he wanted his production to truly define that heart of the show.
“The relationship between Brad and Janet, even after everything that’s gone on, that we still care about them as people — and Columbia, and Frank-N-Furter. He has heart too, and we see that in his song ‘I’m Going Home.’ I wanted to make them more human and less caricatures.”
“The Rocky Horror Show” opens Friday, at the OB Playhouse in Ocean Beach. It runs through October with a special Halloween night performance and costume contest. The show may be extended into November if ticket sales go well.
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