‘The Rocky Horror Show’ makes its return to Westside Theatre Foundation

Published 5:38 pm Saturday, October 6, 2018

After a four-year hiatus, the Westside Theatre Foundation is reviving its


production of “The Rocky Horror Show.”

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“This is hopefully the triumphant return to the Vicksburg stage of the glorious, edgy, fantastic, horrifying, terrifying, terribly exquisite ‘Rocky Horror Show,’ ” founder of the WTF Jack Burns said.

For five years, Burns said, the WTF offered up the “cult classic” before deciding it was time to take a break.

Burns, who is also serving as the co-director of this year’s performances alongside Stacie Schrader, said the notion for the reprieve had been due to several factors. One was the enjoyment had gone out of performing the show for the actors.

“Because we are all volunteers, if it isn’t fun, we can’t do it,” Burns said. “Yes it’s hard and yes it’s challenging to do the show, but it was getting to where it was just hard and challenging and not fun,” he said.

During the four-year respite of performing “The Rocky Horror Show,” Burns said, the WTF did offer up shows for the “Halloween season.”

“We did some cool stuff in lieu of Rocky,” Burns said, which included an original adaptation of “Dracula: Sins of the Flesh,” “Jekyll and Hyde” and “Sweeny Todd.”

But, after much interest and the belief that audiences were still there, Burns said, they decided to bring “Rocky” back.

“We knew there are a lot of people that wanted to perform in Rocky and because of that we had a meeting in February and of all interested parties. It didn’t matter who they were, general public, audience members, directors, actors, whatever, and so many people came out, so we decided we were going to run the whole month of October,” Burns said.

And because of the interest, Burns said, “We sort of have two casts,” which is helpful due to the number of performances.

“Because of scheduling, it came down to some people doing the first half of the run and some people doing the second half, Burns said, explaining one of the actors works shift work, where he works 24 hours on and 48 hours off, but with split casting he is able to be involved in the show.

This has also created more opportunities for actors to get some stage time and to be part of this “awesome” show, Burns said, adding the cast is a nice mix of seasoned veterans and first time performers.

Burns said the revival of the show has also allowed for some changes.

“What was good about the show before we are bringing back and what we feel in retrospect could have been improved, we have made improvements on,” he said.

And with that, Burns encouraged, those who had seen the show before, should make the effort to return.

“All the people that are new to their roles are bringing something to the role the audience hasn’t seen before, and I believe some eyebrows are going to go up,” he said.

Written by Richard O’Brien, “The Rocky Horror Show” is a musical that is a humorous tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies that were produced in the late 1940s through the early 1970s, Burns said.

The musical premiered in London in 1973 and was later adapted into the 1975 film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

The stage production of the show is interactive, meaning audience members are encouraged to join in the fun.

“We want people to come in costume, we want people to heckle us, we want people to bring props, we will even have prop kits for sale,” Burns said. “We know what to expect and we are ready for it.”

Burns said audience participation is one of the entertaining elements that make performing in the show fun.

“We love the audience interaction component of this show, that is one of the things that makes it fun for us. We hope for the audience that they can feel like they are really part of what is happening and a good time will be had by all,” he said.

However, Burns said, audience members should not take this as a challenge to out heckle the performers.

“We are not going to have people inappropriately heckling us to where the show can’t go forward,” he said.

The WTF production is geared for mature audiences and no one under 17 years of age will be admitted, Burns said.

As in past performances, Burns will take on the role of the narrator for half of the production’s run and, he said, the other narrator would be someone who will be a surprise to the audience.

The first performance of “The Rocky Horror Show” was held Friday night at the Strand Theatre, 717 Clay St., with subsequent shows to follow beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, 19 and 26; and Saturday, Oct. 13, 20 and 27. A special showing will  be offered at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Tickets are $15 in advance at the Highway 61 Coffeehouse, 1101 Washington St. and online at brown paper tickets, m.bpt.me or $20 at the door.

“We are encouraging people to buy their tickets early,” Burns said, since more than 100 tickets have already been presold.

“And we know historically, people from Memphis, Louisiana, Southern Miss and the Jackson area will come, so we know there is a broad cult appeal,” Burns said.

For more information, visit strandvicksburg.com.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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