Fans of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which was released 45 years ago on Sept. 25, 1975, can once again do the “Time Warp.”

Genesius Theatre, a non-profit theatre organization in Reading, presents the musical production of Richard O’Brien’s cult classic “The Rocky Horror Show” at Shocktoberfest on Oct. 16, 17 and 18.

“With the deliciously creepy backdrop of Pat Konopelski’s Shocktoberfest, this is the perfect setting to present this whacky Broadway musical based on the ‘uber popular audience participation film ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show!’ The musical version has audience participation as well!” said Genesius Theatre Producing Artistic Director Larry Fecho in the event release. “Genesius’ production of this time-honored musical is a must-see for ‘virgins’ and fans alike.”

Four performances will be presented outdoors at Shocktoberfest located at Willow Glen Park, 94 Park Ave., Sinking Spring, under the Big White Tent. Attendees are asked to wear masks until they sit down and maintain social distancing. Genesius reminds attendees to dress for the weather since the event is held outdoors under a tent.

The event features Food Truck treats and sweets, and a “freakified” night of wild entertainment to witness “The Rocky Horror Show.” The show is rated PG-17 for strong language, adult situations, sexuality and the production will use haze, fog and strobe light effects.

In regard to audience participation, the audience is welcome to purchase Survival Bags which have props to use to participate during the show. The $10 bags can be purchased at the door or purchased online and picked up at the door. There are limited quantities per performance, so the bags are first come, first serve. Genesius is not allowing audience members to bring their own props to the show.

The Cast

“Genesius has assembled yet another awesome cast of local talents," said Fecho.

James Barksdale portrays the sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania, Frank N. Furter, said Fecho.

The show also features Genesius newcomers Zach Haines as Brad, and Collin T. Bollinger as Riff Raff, as well as Genesius regulars, Becka Malanios as Magenta, Dara Himes as Janet, Jon Browning as Eddie/Dr. Scott, Christina Haws as Columbia, Jahlil Little as Rocky and Christopher Sperat as the Narrator.

“Along with an ensemble of Rocky Horror Phantoms and this group will truly ROCK THE SHOCK!!!”

A Cult Classic

The Rocky Horror Show the musical was released in 1973 and later adapted into the 1975 popular immersive participation film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

“The Rocky Horror Show, equipped with a rock ‘n’ roll score, this comedic musical is a homage to classic B sci-fi film and horror genres,” said Fecho. “As a result of a thunderstorm and flat tire, newly engaged Brad and Janet find themselves at the doorstep of the mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, an alien transvestite scientist. He unveils to them his latest creation, an artificially made, physically perfect man named Rocky. As they meet a houseful of wild characters, Brad and Janet’s innocence and commitment to each other is tested.”

The original London production, produced and directed by Jim Sherman, premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in June 1973. It was performed in several London theatres due to the need for more seats. The show ran for 2,960 performances and closed in September of 1980. It won the 1973 Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Musical, according to the event release.

In 1975, “The Rocky Horror Show” debuted on Broadway. Despite only running 45 performances, it received one Tony nomination and three Drama Desk nominations. The 2001 Broadway Revival won a Theatre World Award and received more Tony Award and Drama Desk nominations, according to the release.

“Due to the cult popularity of the musical, it was adapted to film in 1975, which catapulted the concept into the pop culture stratosphere. It became the longest-running release in film history,” said Fecho. “The Rocky Horror Show is seen as an influence on the countercultural and sexual liberation movements following its creation. O’Brien describes the musical as a celebration of difference that allows marginalized communities to gather and coexist.”

In 2016, it was again adapted, but this time into a TV film, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again.”

The Rocky Horror Show at Shocktoberfest

The Genesius Theatre’s production of The Rocky Horror Show is directed by Genesius Producing Artistic Director L J Fecho, music directed by Kevin Cooper, choreographed by Jericho Joy, assistant choreographed by Rosanna Brosnan, conducted by Christopher Sperat, lighting design by Zack Spadaccia, sound design by Albert Garcia, costume design by Cathy Miller and Dara Himes, set design by Yrral Ohcef, and stage managed by Sarah Kiebach and assisted by Michelle Feltenberger. The show is sponsored by Troy and Barbi Kantner – Solve IT Solutions and Shocktoberfest. The Genesius 2020 Season is sponsored by Sandy Solmon & Douglas Messinger of Sweet Steet Desserts.

Performances will be Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 17 at 5:30 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5:30 p.m. No outside props allowed. Genesius’ pre-made Survival Bags ($10) provide props to use to participate during the show. Tickets are $25 for general admission seating at picnic tables or the audience can bring a portable chair. Seating is first come, first served. To purchase tickets and Survival Bags, visit www.genesiusdifference.org.

Doors open 45 minutes before show time, but the audience is welcome to come out earlier and enjoy all the dinner and dessert treats available at Truck N Brew, and also enjoy other attractions at Shocktoberfest. Separate tickets required for Shocktoberfest. Food and Bar are also separate.

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