5Q :: Playhouse spreads the ‘Rocky Horror’ madness (complete with props!)A chat with Joel Moline and Paige Kohler, who are giving "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" the deluxe treatment at the Playhouse over Halloween weekend.
As far as cult classics go, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is right up there with the “Evil Dead” trilogy for staying power. This fact isn’t lost on Joel Moline and Paige Kohler, who are giving the 1975 film the deluxe treatment at the Playhouse over Halloween weekend.
Planned festivities include local thespians acting out the movie during the two screenings, dance lessons for “The Time Warp” and fun-filled prop bags to facilitate the film’s beloved audience-participation aspect.
We caught up with Joel (who will be playing Brad) and Paige (who will be filling Susan Sarandon’s shoes as Janet) to learn more about their local interpretation of the legendary midnight movie:
Budgeteer: How did you first get introduced to “Rocky Horror”?
Paige: Halloween was a big event in my house growing up and VH1 always played “Rocky Horror” around that time of year. When I was 13, they played the movie while shooting a “midnight showing.” It was the first time I realized what the audience participation was and how much of a following it had.
Joel: I was first introduced to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” by recommendation from a close high school friend. “You have to see this film!” is something I remember hearing from him. [A shared appreciation] of rare films and interest in cult films lead me to a late-night viewing of “Rocky Horror.” I’ve found it hard to forget something like that.
On that, what were your initial thoughts? Did you ever think you’d be responsible for spreading the madness one day?
Paige: I thought Tim Curry was the coolest man alive. My sister and I were obsessed with “The Worst Witch” which was made in 1986 … a good 11 years after the “Rocky Horror” movie was made. I always knew I’d be involved in shows and that this would be such a fun one to do. I feel privileged that I actually get to be involved with this. Many of our ensemble members for the show are first-timers to the Duluth Playhouse and they’re here because they all feel the same connection to “Rocky Horror” that Joel and I do.
What kind of Duluth twists can the audience expect with the production at the Playhouse? What makes your version must-see?
Paige: We have “Scarioke” (karaoke) to get the crowd revved up for a great night, along with Red Star making creative cocktails for those who are old enough. We also put together prop bags that will be for sale at the door. Those who know the movie know that props are key to the audience participation — and we’re making that experience very accessible for the low price of $5!
Joel: Our production will be different than other audience-participation productions simply because we’ll be doing so much more than any production I’ve seen.
With this, Renegade Theater Company’s “Reefer Madness” and Rubber Chicken Theater’s “Evil Dead: The Musical,” it definitely is the season of the midnight movie here in Duluth. Are there any other cult classics you’d like to see brought to Northland stages?
Paige: Duluth has definitely outdone itself! In my opinion, there’s “Office Space,” “Heathers” and “Welcome to the Dollhouse” that register in my brain as “cult classics.” Not all of them transfer well to the stage but are something to be appreciated.
Joel: I’d love to see a production of “Cannibal! The Musical.”
Finally, this is probably just semantics, but ... when does something shed its “cult classic” skin? I was contemplating this while researching “Rocky Horror” and noticing that it was recognized by the National Film Registry of all things.
Paige: It was recognized 30 years after it was released. It was only a year or two after it was released that it had its first midnight showing and audience participation. The musical hit the stage for a second Broadway run in 2000 (the first time being 1974). It was then nominated for four Tony awards. It had a lesser-known sequel, “Shock Treatment.”
Once a cult classic, always a cult classic. Only those films that are released to a small fanbase are the ones that are destined for that title!
NEWS TO USE
There will be live performances of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at 10:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 29-30, at the Playhouse. Cost is $10. Arrive early for “Scarioke” (karaoke) at 9:30 p.m. and a “Time Warp” dance lesson at 10:30 p.m.