The musical that won’t die haunts the Woodlawn.
A mere two years after Richard O’Brien’s stage musical The Rocky Horror Show premiered in London, 20th Century Fox released Jim Sharman’s film adaptation, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Two years after that, the lines between stage and screen blurred when TRHPS began attracting mixed nuts for lewd audience interaction circa 1977.
While staying true to the O’Brien’s script, Pennington Productions’ The Rocky Horror Show (through November 6 at the Woodlawn Theatre) also draws inspiration from the circus one inevitably finds at any midnight screening of the film.
The set is simple, but undergoes effective changes (Dr. Frank N. Furter’s lab is a surprisingly big reveal), and the cast includes gems hidden throughout. Ashtyn Sonner’s clear-as-a-bell voice makes sheepish Janet Weiss a tough act to follow. As Riff Raff, Ryan Young gives the character an androgynous bent and the voice of a rock star. You’d never guess Kurt Wehner isn’t an actor, but a builder who fell into the role of Rocky Horror. Co-Director Jonathan Pennington (who doubles as Dr. Frank N. Furter) has mastered the art of prancing about the stage in hooker heels. And narrator Hector Serna (who’s also the production’s Music Arranger and Assistant Music Director) remains unfazed by the near-constant interruptions from the chatty “Phantoms” in the audience.
The unpretentious nature of it all works well in the cozy theater, which has made strides in its effort to offer more “grown-up” programming. Keep this in mind when you’re asked if it’s your first time to see Rocky at the Woodlawn — they sacrifice virgins.
$17-$25, the Woodlawn Theatre, 1920 Fredericksburg Rd., (210) 738-1117, woodlawntheatre.com.