LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN: Bay Street Theatre brings back the Rocky Horror Show Live!

The familiar sounds of “Hot Patootie” and “Time Warp” mixed with the sight of fishnet tights and red lipstick can only mean one thing: The Rocky Horror Show LIVE is back at Bay Street Theatre, and ready to rock again. 

Filled with outrageous humor, dynamic musical numbers, unconventional romance, ghoulish delights, and plenty of audience partici ... pation, this year will mark the theatre’s 11th performance of the cult classic, and directors Christopher Stanley and Erin Muller couldn’t be any more excited. 

“We had to keep these wild and untamed things under wraps last year, but we’re back and ready to rose-tint your world,” Muller said.

A campy, raunchy tribute to B-grade sci-fi movies of the 50s, The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of young couple Brad and Janet and how their worlds are turned upside down when a flat tire causes them to spend the night in a creepy old castle. Add a mad scientist, an unlucky delivery boy, a hunky Frankenstein, and a bunch of aliens, and things are bound to get weird.  

“Rocky Horror is two shows for one,” Stanley said. “A lot of Rocky’s culture is built around callbacks and audience participation. So on top of the action that’s going on on stage, callbacks are definitely a big part of our show and highly encouraged.” 

For Rocky virgins, callbacks are lines the audience shouts out along with or in response to the film’s scripted lines, something that’s a part of the cult classic’s tradition.

“I think that’s the biggest difference with our live performance, we’re all about the vocal participation. Typically when people go to the shadowcast (the cast performing in front of the movie), they can bring props and throw them at the screen. Our production is a live performance so we don’t allow props to be thrown at our actors,” Muller said with a chuckle.

“The callbacks are fun,” added Stanley. “It’s very much a show that kind of belongs to the audience in some ways. The callbacks are ever evolving and sometimes we have to accommodate to them because they cause a big uproar with the audience. So there is that kind of need to give the audience a little bit of room to have their moment. So the callbacks to the callbacks have evolved and the actors definitely have to be prepared for it.”

Muller said that many of their veteran fans know the callbacks, so there is a lot of pressure on the cast to not only improvise, but to fully remember their lines. 

“We have a lot of fans who come every year and they know every line of the script,” she said. “Our cast not only has to be prepared for the audience to yell a bunch of nonsense at them, but they also have the added pressure of remembering their lines.”

Returning this year will be some familiar Bay Street Theatre cast faces as well as some new ones. 

“Our cast pretty much changes every year,” noted Stanley. “I think, unofficially there’s kind of a competition among local actors of who’s going to be the first one to have played all of the roles in the show. We have a few on this cast that are pretty close and they always do a tremendous job.”

Muller and Stanley added that in addition to the fantastic cast, they love the dedicated Rocky fans and appreciate seeing new faces. 

“There’s one group that comes to our show every year and I swear they could be straight out of the movie because their costumes are so accurate,” Muller said chuckling. “And they switch costumes every year! And then we have our newbies who are just experiencing the show for the first time and have no idea what is going on. It’s a good time to see the madness unfold!”

“I agree,” Stanley added. “It’s not just an experience of seeing the show. I think that especially with Rocky, people who are experiencing the show for the first time are also experiencing that audience of fans and veteran Rocky folks. We love to see it.”

Although in past years, the theatre has done Rocky Horror themes, this year they are sticking to the basics, but they do have a few surprises up their sleeves.

“There have been themes done in the past, but this year we have a couple fun little surprises that I don’t think have been done before,” Muller said. “But of course, you have to come to the show to find out what those are! And make sure to dress up!” 

The Rocky Horror Show LIVE at Bay St. Theatre will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 22. There will be several shows running through Oct. 31. To purchase tickets or for more information visit clubone-online.com/events/the-rocky-horror-show-live

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