For several years, the Broadway Theatre, located on 216 E. Broadway St., has hosted Alpha Psi Omega’s presentation of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” the campy and kitschy movie musical from the ‘70s that has turned into a pop culture classic with a cult following.
Every year, people of all ages from the Mount Pleasant area flock to the theatre the weekend before Halloween to watch the members of CMU’s theatre fraternity put on a shadow cast of the movie.
Mount Pleasant junior Conor Hall has been attending the show at the Broadway for years, and has been involved in the production since last year.
“I’ve been going to the performance since I was 14, so it’s been one of my favorite events for a long time,” Hall said. “Now that I’m in the fraternity, it’s a great opportunity, and not just because I get to dance around in garters and underwear.”
Fraternity members act out the movie on stage in front of the big screen, mouthing along to the lines and performing dance routines when needed.
Hall worked as an emcee at Friday’s show, sharing announcements and running the costume contests pre-show. He also played Dr. Frank N. Furter, the “sweet transvestite” who spurs the movie’s action on during the performances.
“The movie itself is absolutely ridiculous, so it’s a cult classic for that reason. I think people here know how dedicated we are to putting on the shadow cast and see how much we love it,” Hall said. “It’s just a lot of fun to dance and get dressed up and have costume contests and all.”
The fan’s dedication to the show was evident from the first moment in the theater, as people in bustiers and high heels crowded into the lobby of the theater a full hour before the show started.
“It’s just so much fun. I’ve been a big fan of the movie for a long time,” Petoskey sophomore Lexi Achterhof said. “I’ve gone two years in a row now, and I’m sure I’ll be going each year for a long time. I love how unique it is and how it’s become such a cultural icon. It’s so campy and cheesy, and that’s the best combination.”
Grand Rapids sophomore Daina Beebe attended the live show for the first time Friday.
“I’d seen the movie, read about the show in books and heard great stuff from my friends, so I knew I wanted to check it out. It was so much more fun than I’d anticipated,” she said. “It’s insanely fun to dress up and to be able to shout out things during the whole show. It’s not something you normally get to do in a theatre setting.”
The sense of community that is present at every show enhances the fun for the theater-goers.
“There’s a real community feeling when you’re out at the Broadway doing the “Time Warp” and call outs; you really feel like you’re a part of something,” Hall said. “Even if that something is based on a truly terrible movie.”
At once, the nearly 500 people present at the midnight showing returned to their seats, buzzing excitedly, as people continued to scream obscenities and throw props at the screen.
“Some people don’t get it, and that’s fine,” Achterhof said. “It’s just a bunch of brilliant weirdos coming together to dance, sing and celebrate. It’s fun, plain and simple. Sometimes you just need a release, and Rocky Horror is perfect.”