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Whether you were around for the debut performance at Belasco Theatre in New York City in 1975 or caught a glimpse of its reenactment for the first time in the 2012 film The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Rocky Horror Picture show has probably captivated you.

For those who are new to the Picture Show, the main thing you need to know is what the heart of the event is all about. The Flagstaff Rocky Horror Picture Show is an annual dose of just the right amount of metallic underwear, a sweet transvestite from Transexual, Transylvania, and musical madness.

Despite the film’s initially poor reception by critics, it found cult status when audiences began interacting with the movie. Soon after, people were dressing up as the characters and performing alongside the movie in theaters, a tradition which has continued in countless locations across the nation for the past 42 years.

Members of the Flagstaff community have been on the Rocky bandwagon for many years, striving toward bringing the performance to people who cannot fit flying out to the Big Apple to do the Time Warp into their schedules.

The show that started as a fundraiser by Theatrikos Theatre Company was passed on to the Orpheum Theater just over ten years ago.

“We knew a Rocky Horror event could be something big for Flagstaff from the get-go,” says Orpheum owner Chris Scully. “When we took it over we had people performing on the floor, but now we have a packed house where we absolutely have to have actors on the stage.”

Each year the Orpheum teams up with variant performers to bring Dr. Frank-N-Furter and his minions to life.


Alisa Carlson returns to her role as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a scientist, in this year's performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Orpheum Theater. Photo by Ashleigh Vance.

Just days before the annual performance, the Orpheum crew works their magic to lasso together the props and replace any that may have disappeared over the past year.

“A big part of the event for me is chasing down the props,” says Scully. “They live in the attic all year and sometimes we can lose track of them.”

While coffins are being rebuilt and feather boas are being tracked down, the shadow crew works to throw together a single spot rehearsal.

The little-to-no rehearsal, which is nearly unheard of in show business, could leave skeptics to believe nothing short of a disaster will occur when Saturday rolls around.

Rocky Horror on-stage host Kristin Nelson argues otherwise, saying, “The experience and expertise in the art of performance is what makes this show run.

“Every member of our cast has a background in performance. There are five or six directors, three choreographers, technical directors and designers. This all contributes to the quality of the performance; this cast loves to perform, not just Rocky, but many things.”


The Flagstaff cast of Rocky Horror during a previous performance. Photo by Chris Scully

Once tranny jobs are assigned and the little details are sorted all there is left to do is for the cast to get out there and have fun.

From the time the doors open, the theater is flooded with trannies (short for Transylvanians), returners and virgins alike.

Nelson enthuses, “My favorite part of the show here is how enthusiastic this virgin audience is. We get people who come back and tell us they came for the first time the previous year and that they just had to bring their friends.”

It’s a night where Flagstaffers come together to do four simple things.

One: Dress as a tranny.

Two: Sacrifice virgins.

Three: Yell offensive things at Brad and Janet.

Four: Time Warp in a parallel world.

“Rocky Horror is the adult prom, in some ways, for Flag culture,” says Scully. “It’s the one night everyone dresses up and comes out to dance.”

Give yourself over to absolute pleasure this weekend with the 2017 performance of Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Orpheum Theater on Oct. 28th with two performances: one at 7 p.m. for ages 18 and up, and another at 10 p.m. for ages 21 and up.


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