Arts and Entertainment

BPA's Rocky Horror kicks up its heels

Rockers Alison Hanford and Tryg Littlefield are part of the ensemble cast in the Rocky Horror Picture Show which runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday Oct. 15-31 at BPA.  - Brad Camp/ For the Review
Rockers Alison Hanford and Tryg Littlefield are part of the ensemble cast in the Rocky Horror Picture Show which runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday Oct. 15-31 at BPA.
— image credit: Brad Camp/ For the Review

One-by-one, they arrived at BPA. The shipping labels said “DiscountStripper.com” and “Pleaser.” Sometimes the boxes they came in were as elaborate as the confections they contained. Even the FedEx guy hung around to see them opened. Inside were man-sized metallic stilettos, 70s platform shoes with 6-inch heels or iconic hightop tennies.

“When we found the flame boots, we were so happy,” said Steven Fogell, creative director of BPA and director of its next big production, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Stage Manager Deirdre Hadlock earned the nickname “Shoe Mistress.”

“I had so much fun matching outrageous shoes with characters,” she said. “The challenge came with finding fabulous footwear in men’s sizes… drag queen shoes and boots.”

That’s just the feet. From the ground up, this production just keeps building. And building. And…

“We’re still not through the wigs yet,” Fogell said.

Cast since June, the ensemble has evolved into a tight-knit group, spilling out the doors of BPA. Apparently some cast members have been causing a stir at karaoke night at 122… which Fogell said has had to turn people away – on a Thursday night.

“It’s the most bonded cast I’ve ever had. And no divas! For Rocky! I’ll probably end up with more divas in Annie,” he said.

The cast is lean with 19 roles but plays a lot bigger, and as anyone familiar with RHPS will tell you, the audience plays a dynamic part in the show. Fogell will add shout outs from the audience during dress rehearsals to get the cast prepared.

He was a little shocked when a woman in her 70s came into the foyer and was looking at the poster. Fogell, who isn’t easily shocked, was flabbergasted when she asked if she could throw cabbage and tomatoes at the cast. For both the cast’s and audience’s safety, vegetable hurling will be reserved for the film version.

It was the film version, or rather audience’s reaction to it, that catapulted the low-budget horror flick spoof from box-office sleeper to cult classic.

The story follows Brad and Janet, a naive engaged couple, out on the road late one stormy night. After a flat tire, they seek refuge at the mysterious Frank ‘n’ Furter’s castle.

Todd Baylor, last seen in Ovation!’s Cabaret (but not in drag), magnetizes as Frank ‘n’ Furter.

Newcomer Tryg Littlefield, who hasn’t acted in 15 years, has instead been belting out lead vocals with alternative rock band Fall From Grace. He was ecstatic to land the part of Riff Raff.

“I tinkled a little bit,” he said. “Rocky Horror has been a staple in my life.”

Another rocker, Alison Hanford, plays Riff Raff’s sister Magenta. She’s been involved in theatre but has taken a break raising two kids. On stage, she raises a ruckus with Littlefield.

With stage effects suited more for a concert than a play, Fogell said, the duo bring a charisma to the show.

Bronsyn Foster, last seen in Sylvia, said playing Janet “is a dream role for me.”

DeSean Hally, twice in UW productions, plays her fiance Brad, who tries to keep up with the closet vixen.

Fogell, creatively searching for funding (no explanation needed), created character sponsorships. Bryan Dever, who plays the muscle-bound Rocky spent weeks training one-on-one with Island Fitness Center to sculpt the six-pack.

The list goes on: Spoofologist Frank Buxton narrates; Justin Lynn brings big energy to the role of Eddie. Bainbridge theater regular Carter Kight, last seen as the dazzling emcee in Ovation!’s Cabaret, plays Columbia. The role of Dr. Scott is shared by Paul Bryan, Charlie Hamilton and Peter Denis.

It’s “non-stop fun,” but damnit, Janet, it’s still a week away!

.

Let’s do the time warp again…

Performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show are at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday Oct. 15-31. A Pay-What-You-Can Preview is 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14 on a first-come, first-served basis. An Opening Night reception is at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15.

Directed by Steven Fogell; Vocal direction by Chris Kolbegger; Musical direction by Steve Newton; Choreography by Joanna Hardie

Adult themes; suitable for “PG-13” audiences.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $19 for seniors, students, youth, military and teachers. They are available at 842-8569 or online at www.bainbridgeperformingarts.org.

By Connie Mears

Staff Writer

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