A brief history of “The Rocky Horror Show”

Sadie-Favour no ghost theater

Before the second and final weekend of the St. Olaf Theater Department’s production of “The Rock Horror Picture Show,” let’s learn a little more about its history. 

Based on Richard O’Brien’s 1973 stage musical, “The Rocky Horror Show” (1975) satirizes science fiction and is most commonly classified as a b-level horror movie. Midnight showings around Halloween became commonplace in the years following its release due to the satiric take on the horror genre.  

“The Rocky Horror Show” became a cult classic when it became custom for audiences to actively participate at these late-night showings. This new theatrical phenomenon spread quickly by word of mouth. Traditions like throwing rice during the opening scene, yelling lines at the screen, labeling first-time viewers “virgins,” and live costumed performances in front of the screen were all part of the ritual of the show. 

The musical production became especially popular in queer communities due to the musical’s exploration of gender in a free and unrestrained manner. In a time of intense queerphobia and transphobia, showings of “The Rocky Horror Show” became a place where people across the gender and sexuality spectrum could find freedom of expression and community. 

The cast of the St. Olaf production is committed to telling their version of “The Rocky Horror Show” while honoring its importance to people on and off the stage. By building upon the extensive legacy of the show, St. Olaf’s production is sure to deliver an outstanding piece of theater to the Hill. 

 

geer1@stolaf.edu

 

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