Every Tuesday night at 11 p.m., The Red Door Cafe is filled with the sounds of singing, dancing, excitement and a little bit of “Time Warp,” as a long-standing student festival rehearses to encapsulate the spirit of Halloween weekend on campus.
Cast member Gianna Carnevalino ‘23 explained the mechanics of the production and specifically, how the experience differs from a production that would take place under the jurisdiction of the Muhlenberg theatre association or the department of theatre & dance.
“It’s people lip syncing and dancing to the movie in the background [and] we have lots of props and costumes, but the movie is behind you so you have context,” says Carnevalino. “Just a very nice community of people you’d never expect to work well together, but we’re all there for each other and we’re just a community with very welcoming people.” She also states that a draw factor is also the slew of classic, well-known songs, including “Time Warp,” “Hot Patootie” and “Eddie’s Teddy.”
The decision-making body of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” consists of Joshua Myers ‘22, Cailyn Murray ‘23 and Chloe Selover ‘22, all of whom are responsible for coordinating rehearsals and scheduling the performance.
“We have two types of normal rehearsals,” explained Myers. “Tuesdays is with the entire club, and [Murray and Sandy McInerney ‘23] teach/run through choreography for group numbers, and we also cover basic blocking with the ensemble. Thursdays, we do blocking with the leads because there’s not a lot of scenes with the ensemble. Besides blocking, we’ll do minor choreo stuff.”
Myers explained that, in addition to rehearsals with the cast, the executive team intermittently assigns production-side duties, usually relating to acting as pieces of the set or having props. Any duties that still remain will be assigned right before the company starts running the production in full costume.
When asked how long they’ve been involved with “Rocky,” executive board and cast member McInerney replied, “That’s a very good question… I guess this is my second year, since COVID kinda threw us in a loop. Now, I’m one of the presidents and that’s kind of terrifying.”
Some of the aforementioned “terror” seems to stem from the fact that the gap-year in performances meant that a lot of “Rocky” veterans had graduated, and the steady stream of long-held tradition was left solely to the classes of 2022 and 2023. McInerney explained that the school has a supply of scripts and props that have been used for a number of years, which provides a bit of structure for the tradition as it continues year after year.
“It’s people lip syncing and dancing to the movie in the background [and] we have lots of props and costumes, but the movie is behind you so you have context.”-Gianna Carnevalino ’23
Carnevalino added that there has been an uplifting amount of interest from younger students, stating that “Somewhere between 15 and 20 newbies joined this semester, including a lot of freshmen and sophomores who wanted to do it but never had the opportunity to.”
Myers added, “Eventually, the closer we are to October 29, we’ll start really running the show all together, on either day [Tuesday or Thursday], just to make sure we have it in our muscle memory.”
“‘Rocky’ opens on October 29,” shared McInerney. “The doors open at 11 p.m. in the Red Door! Bring all of your friends!”