‘Doin’ the time warp:’ Rocky Horror Show in Missoula lives on
(Missoula Current) It's the end of October and all the children are getting ready for Halloween. But in Missoula, that's not the only thing that happens.
When the end of October rolls around the Montana Actors' Theatere comes alive with The Rocky Horror Show, a live musical production based on the The Rocky Horror Picture Show of 1975, which developed a cult following that has continued to the present.
The Missoula Rocky Horror Show production was first staged in 2009. This was a big risk for the company, which had only produced small productions. But whatever fears they had quickly vanished when - on opening night - the house filled with costumed fans who knew the plot from the movie.
The company staged the production again the next year to great success. That was followed by a 4-year hiatus due in part to logistics. The sets are created in Havre by Jay Pyette, the executive director of the Montana Actors' Theatre. This has created a singularly unique stage production, given that Havre is 250 miles from Missoula's Wilma Theater.
For anyone who has seen the Rocky Horrow Show, the set is quite elaborate. The cast auditions take place in mid-September with the rehearsals beginning the following week. While there are some in the cast who have been in past productions, many are experiencing Rocky for the first time.
Reid Reimers has been the main lead character of Frank N' Furter from the beginning, as has Jeff Medley playing the part of Riff Raff. Theater is intense, but what these actors are able to put together in three weeks is remarkable. Any other production will have a tech week, in which all matter of issues are worked out. But the cast of the Rocky Horror Show has one dress run on the Thursday before opening on Friday night.
This compressed schedule is with the certain knowledge that the audience is as much a part of the production as the actors on stage. In fact, the noise level from the audience often overcomes the dialog on stage.
By the midnight show on Saturday, there have been 4 performances. Once the curtain closes at 2 a.m., the entire set is struck by 6 a.m. and loaded into the truck for the return trip to Havre.
Given the near sell out of each show, the Rocky Horror Show Missoula style has a good chance of being produced for many years to come. Missoula is fortunate to have this high-quality theater production every year.