Let’s do the time warp again: ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ with live shadow cast this weekend at the Nevada Theatre
Special to Prospector
KNOW AND GO
WHO: The Nevada Theatre Film Series, Nevada City Live, and Untamed Productions
WHAT: ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ with Live Performance
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 .p.m. & 10:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.
WHERE: The Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad Street, Nevada City
HOW: $20 general admission, $30 reserved seats; Available in advance at Briarpatch Co-op or online at
When the Nevada Theatre Film Series launched back in 1979, the first film screened was “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” The cult classic, which was first released in 1975, still plays in theatres around the world – reportedly longer than any other film—and while it was actually banned for a time by the Nevada Theatre, for the past four years, Untamed Productions in partnership with Nevada City Live and the Nevada Theater Film Series have been bringing a unique theatrical experience and screening of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” to the Nevada Theatre each October, to the delight of followers of the film.
Untamed Productions founder Belle Starr explained live actors simulate the action on the screen. “It’s called a Shadowcast,” she said. “It’s a traditional ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ experience where actors on stage act out the movie, as the movie plays behind them.”
The “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is the story of a young couple who find themselves stranded in a storm with a flat tire. Seeking shelter, they happen upon a creepy mansion owned by a transvestite scientist and meet an ensemble of wild characters. Earning its “R” movie rating, the story unfolds through comedy and Broadway style song and dance.
Starr added working with the Getz family who run the Nevada Theatre Film Series and Paul Emery who has Nevada City Live has been a lot of fun, “We have a really great team between the three different entities that produce this event and we have an awesome cast that are really into their characters. They have been studying the film.”
Directed by Cosmo Merryweather, who plays Rif Raf, the cast also features Nick Katzman as Frank-N-Furter, Casey Burke as Rocky, Marni Marshall as Janet, Jeremy AcMoody as Brad, Michele Fitzhugh as Magenta, Heidi Grass as Columbia, John Bivens as Eddie, Jay Baker as Dr. Scott, Danny Deluca as the Criminologist and Belle Star as Trixie.
One of the unique components of a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” screening is that somewhere along the way, audiences decided to join in on the fun. Starr said, “It’s definitely an interactive movie experience with the live performance and then the audience participates by singing along, shouting out traditional call backs at certain points in the movie. Audience members know them and then they also throw stuff at the performers on-stage, which is out of the ordinary for sure, but we really enjoy it. They throw toast and playing cards and squirt us with squirt guns and the audience wears newspaper on their head at one point in the movie. It’s just a raucous good time.”
Azriel LaMarca, whose family runs the Nevada Theatre Film Series said her father, Mike Getz, first brought the film to the Nevada Theatre in 1979. “Rocky Horror Picture Show has been part of our movie history since 1975 when it first came out. We brought it back every now and then since the 70s, but Belle Starr really elevated the stage production to a really high level and it’s been so successful, we continue to do it every year for one weekend in October.”
LaMarca said the draw to the film is the experience, “The film is really fun and entertaining and kind of bizarre and edgy and the performances are really great, especially Tim Curry (in the film) is amazing, but that is not the whole thing. The whole thing is the audience participation and the actors on stage and the dancing. The audience dresses up and plays a part in the whole experience. The film is just one part of it. But it is really the whole experience that makes it so fun.”
LaMarca added, “It’s unique. There is nothing like it. It’s the only film that has been consistently shown in theaters for this many years, with this level of enthusiasm and following. I don’t think there is anything else that compares.”
For people who have heard about the movie but have never seen it or have never seen it in a theater, LaMarca said, “You have to experience it to know what it is. You can watch this movie on your TV at home, but it won’t have nearly the impact as seeing it with a live audience and a live stage show. It’s just so much fun. Everybody kind of leaves their inhibitions at the door, shall we say. It’s a really good time.”
The production takes place on the third weekend in October as part of Nevada County’s Halloween celebration. LaMarca added many films have been pulled from circulation but “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is not among them, “It’s kind of interesting that with the merger of 20th Century Fox and Disney Studios this year, Disney took the Fox repertoire films out of circulation – meaning a movie theatre like us couldn’t show a title in their repertoire. They aren’t licensing the Fox catalog to movie theatres anymore with the exception of ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show.’ It just speaks to the power of this film.”
She added with a laugh, “I think if they held it and did not release it to theatrers, people would riot.”
Come out and celebrate 45 years of “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” As one of the signature songs encourages, “Let’s do the time warp again.”
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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