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Theatre Info for the Richmond region

Firehouse Theater Project The Rocky Horror Show

By • Jul 25th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
The Rocky Horror Show
Firehouse Theater Project
Firehouse Theatre Project, 1609 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23220
Through August 19th
2:20 with one intermission
$28/$26 Seniors/$14 Students
Reviewed July 20th, 2012
Intended for Mature Audiences

Firehouse Theater Project took an old firehouse and transformed it into a one of a kind theater. The theater, as well as The Rocky Horror Show, were both enjoyable renditions of old classics. The set for The Rocky Horror Show was minimalistic but perfect for the show and space. With only a cage, the Castle entrance and another door being the only pieces of set, the stage was left with an unconventional presence and a decent amount of dancing space perfect for the show itself. The band was also placed on the stage but not in a way that distracted the audience but only enhanced the performance. The only complaint is that after “Dammit Janet” the actors were completely visible while being helped into their additional costumes and onto their bike.

Jase Smith took on a large task when he decided to direct The Rocky Horror Show, an infrequently performed production. Smith wonderfully brought to life a story which many are not familiar with and created a fun and edgy environment. David McLain and Joey Luck’s lighting and sound choices were excellent. Holly Sullivan’s costumes were fabulous, leaving most of the actors barely dressed, creating a sense of sensuality and sexuality fitting for The Rocky Horror Show.

The show follows Brad Majors and Janet Weiss as they head to reunite with an old friend Dr. Scott to announce their engagement. On their journey their bike gets a flat forcing Brad and Janet to seek help from the occupants of the castle, occupants who are not of this planet, quite literally. Brad and Janet are thrown into a world unknown to them, full of temptation and lack of inhibitions. Through a series of events the couple becomes part of the world in which they feared.

Joy Newsome (Magenta) opened the show with powerful vocals and a dynamic stage presence during “Science Fiction Double Feature,” but once forced to become part of an ensemble Newsome became lost within the talents of the other performers. Nick Shackleford (Brad) was charming as well as perfectly dorky during “Dammit Janet” but when Shackleford sang “Once In a While” his true vocal ability appeared in abundance, leaving regret that Brad only has one ballad in the show. Although Aly Wepplo (Janet) was not as vocally talented as her male counterpart she was still a lovable Janet and played the part with such conviction her vocals no longer became an issue. Riff Raff appeared to be a bit more creepy than expected which left his character coming off as what can only be described as zombie-like but when Nicholas Aliff (Riff Raff) opened his mouth to sing you were blown away and could forgive his strange appearance. Never once did Aliff have a bad number throughout the entire show, which created a sense of excitement before every one of his songs.

Maggie Horan (Columbia) was perky and cute making Columbia immediately loveable and although her vocals were not the strongest she was far too adorable not to love. Chris Hester (Rocky) had the body and looks to be the perfect Rocky but his far too childish portrayal of Rocky made it very hard to see him as the sex symbol he was created to be. Matt Beyer (Eddie/Dr. Scott) played both Dr. Scott and Eddie. As Eddie his performance was a bit questionable but as Dr. Scott the performance was incredibly enjoyable with a completely different set of vocals for a different character. Michael Hawke (Narrator) was energetic and with his quirky sound bites his humor was sprinkled throughout the show. The ensemble was just as excited as the rest of the cast to be on stage which created a sense of excitement within the audience, which led to several catcalls and hollers throughout the show.

Last but far from the least was Terence Sullivan (Frank N. Furter) who stole the entire show from the time he walked on the stage to the time he walked off. From his spiky high heels, fishnet stockings, and black eye makeup every inch of Sullivan was captivating. The facial expressions made by Sullivan alone were enough to persuade the audience to love him, then when Sullivan sang “I’m Going Home” complete with amazing vocals and tears, there was no choice but to root for Frank N. Furter. Sullivan played Frank N. Furter as sexy, sensual, and playful which completed the already phenomenal performance. The actors asked the audience to stand up and “Time Warp” with them to conclude the performance, “it’s just a jump to the left…”

The Cast

  • Magenta: Joy Newsome
  • Brad: Nick Shackleford
  • Janet: Aly Wepplo
  • Narrator: Michael Hawke
  • Riff Raff: Nicholas Aliff
  • Columbia: Maggie Horan
  • Frank N. Furter: Terence Sullivan
  • Rocky: Chris Hester
  • Eddie/Dr. Scott: Matt Beyer
  • Dance Captain/ Ensemble: Katie Ford
  • Ensemble: Alex Gerber
  • Ensemble: Mauricio Marces
  • Ensemble: Sasha Wakefield
  • Ensemble: Joe Winters
  • Ensemble: Katherine Wright

The Band

  • Musical Director/Piano: Leilani Giles
  • Drummer: Bentley Cobb Jr
  • Bass: Dane Magoon
  • Guitar: Grant Oliver

The Crew

  • Stage Manager: Sharon Gregory
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Kelsey Cordrey
  • Assistance Technical Director/Sound Board Operator: Joey Luck
  • Assistant Lighting & Set Designer/ Light Board Operator: Alleigh Scantling
  • Assistant Costume Designer: Alexandra Valentin
  • Run Crew: Reid Kirtley, Theresa Mantiply
  • Run Crew Swings: Rain Clements, Marquis Hazelwood
  • House Management: Deejay Gray, Annie Colpitts
  • Box Office: Mary Shaw, Carolyn Meade, Annie Colpitts
  • Scenic & Lighting Design: David McLain
  • Stage Manager: Sharon Gregory
  • Costume Design: Holly Sullivan
  • Sound Design: Joey Luck
  • Props Master: Kiari Hicks
  • Stage Manager: Sharon Gregory
  • Technical Director: Tad Burrell
  • Producer: DeeJay Gray
  • Choreography: Maggie Marlin
  • Director: Jase Smith

Disclaimer: Firehouse Theater Project provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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worked for twenty years as a professional actor and director, as well as worked a myriad of other theatrical production roles at various levels. In recent years, he served as Artistic Director/President of STROyKA Theatre in Washington, DC. Roman privately teaches acting, voice, and piano and serves as a consultant to various groups and schools. His primary role is stay-at-home dad and full-time college student. He also directs the Voices Unlimited Youth Choir at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Bel Air, MD.

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