Halloween will officially begin this year when the craziest character of them all, Frank 'n' Furter, of the live production of The Rocky Horror Show, floats across the top of the audience at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa's new theater, the Joint.
Billed as the biggest rock 'n' roll musical ever, The Rocky Horror Show opens on Thursday, Oct. 28, followed by additional shows on Friday, Oct. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 pm.
Presented by Tulsa Project Theatre, The Rocky Horror Show will be the first-ever musical theater production staged in the Joint, a state-of-the-art, $22-million, 45,000-square-foot event center. Located on I-44 at exit 240A, the Joint features room for almost 2,700 people, including theater seating and VIP suites.
"When I was approached to do this show at the Hard Rock's new theatre, I got huge butterflies," said Chad Oliverson, who returns as the lead character, Frank 'n' Furter. "I was scared and excited. I had to do it! The dream kept getting better. I mean, the design team, the artistic team, the venue and the talent ... it's like the perfect theater storm."
Because of the size of the venue, this particular production has been increased in size to fit the space. Audiences will not only enjoy incredible music and choreography, but also aerial acts, as characters fly in and out of various scenes.
"So, I knew I had the 6-inch platforms in my future, and then I saw these freaking incredible costume designs and was floored," laughs Oliverson. "So I guess they had to fix my feeling 'floored' by telling me that I get to wear all that ... while flying. WHAT?! Yeah, come watch me land in platforms. Or, be prepared to catch me, audience."
As they have for more than three decades, audiences will follow Brad Majors and his fiancée Janet Weiss on an adventure they'll never forget with Frank'n'Furter, Rocky, Riff Raff, and Magenta. Together with the rest of the cast, the crazy crew offers a night of fun and frivolity in this thrilling production of Richard O'Brien's classic original script. And, of course, they'll sing along with timeless classics including "Sweet Transvestite," "Damn it Janet," and the pelvic-thrusting "Time Warp."
This year's production features many hometown favorites including, Oliverson as Frank, Bob Hendrick as the Narrator, Pete Brennan as Riff Raff, Claire Kifer as Magenta, Michael Ervin as Rocky, Rebecca Ungerman as Eddie/Dr. Scott and Cynthia Bradford and JP Gates as Phantoms. Guest Artists include Betsy Jilka as Janet, Wendell Summers as Brad, Tim Singleton as Columbia, Jessica Lauren-Howell and Bobby Johnson as Phantoms.
Fitting in well with the "Sweet Transvestite" themes of the show, Ungerman, a female will play Eddie, the male love-interest of the female character, Columbia, played by Singleton, a male.
Directed by professional actress and assistant professor at the University of Tulsa, Machele Miller Dill, Rocky Horror also features Eric and the Adams in the Rocky Orchestra lead by music director, Brad Morris. Scenic and costume designers consist of both local and regional professionals.
Choreography for this production of The Rocky Horror Show is provided by Tulsa's own Heather Hall.
Riding the top of an incredible professional wave, Hall is known for having choreographed Hanson's new video, "Thinking 'Bout Somethin." The video is not only at the height of popularity on YouTube, it was also named one of MTV's Top Five Music Videos With Killer Dance Sequences, a list that includes Michael Jackson's, "Thriller," Beyonce's, "Single Ladies," and Janet Jackson's, "Rhythm Nation."
"As much of a dream as it is to work with a truly professional team of directors and designers that you trust, as honored as I am to share the stage with talent from across the country, who are teaching me so much, it really is the excitement and support of the fans of this show that make it intoxicating," said Oliverson. "I'm not sure I can explain what it feels like to step on stage, or fly, and know that everybody is with you and wants you to do a good job. It's like a theatre full of friends that are giving you all their positive energy. These people are a huge part of the show."
In fact, the audience is the most important component of The Rocky Horror Show. Props packs will be on sale at the venue allowing audience members to physically participate in the show. In addition, Friday night is Pride Night in support of the Equality Center. On Saturday night, a newlywed couple will celebrate their wedding reception at the performance.
Tulsa Project Theater (TPT) is the city's newest non-profit theater company. In coordination with Garage Media, LLC, the producers of last year's, A Rocky Halloween, TPT is the first local organization to be invited to stage a production at the Joint, the only theater of its kind in the region.
Tickets to The Rocky Horror Show will be available for purchase at the Joint box office, by calling 918-384-ROCK and on-line at hardrockcasinotulsa.com/thejoint. Ticket prices are $35, $55, and $100 VIP. Reserved suite seating is also available.
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