CARROLLWOOD — A new live stage production of Rocky Horror Picture Show opens next week (Jan. 6) with the organizers hoping to bring inclusivity and acceptance to the forefront.
Susan Belliveau, 26, is the producer and Sam Burke, 27, is the director of the show, which will be at midnight Fridays, beginning Jan. 6, at the Villiago Cinemas.
With the nation divided on political and social issues, "we came about a really good time," said Burke, a 2008 theater graduate of Blake High School and a student at Hillsborough Community College who wants to purse a degree in theater or film.
"There are lots of problems in the world and we want people to embrace and support" each other, Burke said.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical comedy about a young engaged couple whose car breaks down in the rain near a castle, where they meet a group of strangers in elaborate costumes celebrating an annual convention. At the castle, they encounter the Frank N. Furter, an apparent mad scientist who actually is an alien transvestite who creates a living muscle man in his laboratory.
In 1976, the film started drawing crowds, many dressed as the characters, to midnight showings in New York and became a classic.
Burke met Belliveau through various theater roles and decided to create the new company, Hell on Heels, to produce the show.
The cast formed in the spring using actors each had known through other productions or school. The show had its debut in June at the Carrollwood Players celebration of the LGBT community and it includes 27 members. About 20 members, including technicians, will appear at any given performance.
"The cast really bonded and we want to bring the audience and build on that in the community," said Belliveau, who graduated from Wesley Chapel High in 2008 and attends the University of South Florida, with a major in theater and minor in business.
The production uses "shadow casting" with the actors on stage, the movie playing in the background and the actors mimicking it. She said the audience can't join the actors on stage but can participate from the floor with costumes, shouting and cheers.
They chose the Villagio because it was locally owned and agreeable. (A theater group also used to present at the now-closed Tampa Pitcher Show but the new company has no affiliation with it, Belliveau said).
"Anybody could be a good Rocky performer, but finding a welcoming accepting experience is what it all about," Belliveau said. "You get to come out at midnight, throw things in the air, scream and start your weekend on a positive note."
The new company also hopes to eventually do charity work for local organizations, including those that serve the LGBT community.
"The cast is so invested in creating this as an inclusive welcoming community," Burke said. "People should have a commonality. At the end of the day, we are all human beings."
Contact Lenora Lake at [email protected]