The Lost Flamingo Theatre Company, or LFC, would like, if it may, to take its audience on a strange journey. Something went wrong for Fay Wray and King Kong, but LFC is hoping everything will go right for this year’s production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
LFC’s “Rocky” is big a fan-favorite of many Athenians and Ohio University students alike. After all, there are not many chances to parade around uptown Athens in thongs, lacey brassieres and over-the-top accessories.
This interpretation of “Rocky” is a shadow show, which means the performance will be done with the 1975 movie being projected in the background. However, the choreography– or in this case, the whoreography– is original to the cast.
The story centers around two sweethearts, Brad and Janet, who come across the twisted mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Frank-N-Furter’s latest experiment is the living muscle man, Rocky, whom he creates in his laboratory. The erotic and kinky nature of the film is iconic, as well as the plethora of memorable characters.
According to the BBC, the movie was originally a box office flop. However, a devout fan base started a cult following for the movie and holds the record for the longest continuously-running movie release of all time.
The entire cast of LFC’s “Rocky” is comprised of current and former OU students. This includes the director, Maxwell Levitsky, a senior studying music production at Hocking College. This is Levitsky’s third year being involved with the production, but his first being the director. He said this position has been a goal of his for a while due to his love for the show
“It was something that I always wanted to do,” he said. “I started watching ‘Rocky’ when I was 11, and it has always been one of my favorite things.”
LFC’s “Rocky” operates under a grandfather rule where cast members who previously starred in the production are welcomed to return to the role they were originally cast in. Because of this, the cast is usually tweaked only moderately every year. However, this year is different because the principal characters of Brad and Janet are played by first-timers.
Additionally, the role of Brad was gender-bent, and a woman was cast in the place of a man traditionally playing the role. Levitsky was pleased with how this decision made it possible to discover more depths of the character as well as allow the actor to make it more their own.
“It has shown what our production has to offer which is just allowing people to feel out some aspect of themself that isn’t always seen,” he said. “We just want people to feel comfortable and put everything they have into it and feel confident in themselves. It really helps that our cast is just so dedicated.”
This “new” Brad is played by Lily Greiser, a fifth-year studying political science, and this is her first year as a part of the “Rocky” cast. She discussed how she approached the audition process differently because of her goal for the role.
“I was nervous going into the audition process because I felt like it was another kind of barrier to cross (because) I had to kill it but I also did that with the boys, and I had to stand out,” she said. “But I’m really grateful to be here, and I’m really excited to play the role.”
She is approaching the character is leaning into specific energies that already exist as well as igniting more.
“I’m bringing classic Brad Majors energy to it,” Greiser said. “He’s a lesbian now. It’s exciting to be able to portray that because I feel like the queer community in Athens is so supportive of this production, so I’m really excited to be representation for everybody.”
Regarding the looming show night, she had fixed feelings but was mostly looking forward to the audience’s energy.
“(I’m) nervous but I’m also existed just to see the energy,” Greiser said. “(The energy) is known to be just amazing for ‘Rocky.’”
Quinn Bennett, a senior studying environmental sciences, is not new to the pre-show jitters but still anticipates the fueling anxiety. This is his second year playing the lead character of Frank-N-Furter, but not his last.
“It’s such a feeling of good anxiety,” he said. “It’s such a driving feeling of I’m ready to perform, and I’m ready to have a good time.”
Everyone’s motivations for doing “Rocky” as well as everyone’s favorite memories from doing the show vary. For Bennett, he associates the show with the friendships he has made.
“The story of ‘Rocky’ is great because it’s about accepting who you are and accepting that pleasure is important in your life,” he said. “For me, my memories of ‘Rocky’ are all getting to do with my best friends.”
Maeve Turner, a sophomore studying film and entrepreneurship, is the assistant director for the production. This is Turner’s second year being on the cast for “Rocky,” and she is excited to leave her mark as the assistant director position.
“Rocky is a living, breathing production,” Turner said. “It’s something that can always change. Even though we’ve been doing it for years, it looks very different.”
This year is extra special because it marks 20 years of LFC performing “Rocky.”
For many, the story of “Rocky” is more than just a musical. Not only is it a beacon for many queer people, but it also serves as an opportunity for many to express their sexuality.
“I think that this movie definitely was definitely ahead of its time and did a lot of things for the gay community in terms of acceptance,” Turner said. “I see people get comfortable with themselves in their own skin in a different way than I think in any other production or any other movie.”
For some, this show is bittersweet. Makenzie Price, a fifth-year studying communications, is portraying the character of Magenta for the final time.
“I’m really excited to do this for the last time,” she said. “This role has changed my life coming here. I would have never expected to do this. It’s weird to be doing this for the third year, but I knew I needed to do it one more time, and now I’m ready to say goodbye to the role.”
Price wanted to go out with a bang and achieve her goal of providing the audience with a safe space to get in touch with themselves.
“I’m just excited to allow people to feel they can be themselves again, and allowing people to be who they are and feel who they are with coming to the show,” she said.
Additionally, Price said Magenta has allowed her to discover more about herself.
“I really love this show because I can express my sexuality and never have before,” she said. “I just love that the show allows all sexualities and all genders, and it’s just you being you in any way you want to be.”
Hosted at The Union, located at 18 W. Union St., the audience will have three chances to attend the performance on Oct. 19, 20 and 21. Tickets are sold at the door at $8 for those above 21 and $10 for those below 21.
The Post would like to acknowledge there are paid staffers who are members of the “Rocky” cast. However, none of those paid staffers were involved in the interviewing, writing or editing process of this story.