Rocky Horror Picture Show Live at the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre
On Saturday, my friends and I went to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show Live at a small theater — it’s actually known as Little Theatre — in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Before I begin talking about the performances, here’s a little (I’ll stop with the puns… eventually) background history of the theater. Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre is 93 years old. According to the Citizen’s Voice, the theater is planning “ to ensure it stays one of the longest continuously running community theater companies in the country.” As a local who wants to keep and celebrate our history, Little Theatre’s initiative to continue to thrive makes me proud to be from the area.
With that said, the Little Theatre needs some TLC. The actors are all volunteer and the theater relies on the generosity of it’s donors/audience. The Citizen’s Voice states, “ With the advent of the Internet, more entertainment choices and uncertain economic conditions, the theater must fight to get prospective patrons’ attention, Mitchell said. It also means cutbacks, from full orchestras to a few musicians, and reusing props and sets.” To keep this theater running and to maintain our proud local history in the arts, we need to provide support by attending live performances and giving, when we can.
Past productions, provided by Little Theatre, are The Wizard of Oz (in 1959), Little Shop of Horrors (in 1999), Rent (2009), and so much more. On Saturday, Little Theatre put on a live performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
And… (close your eyes if you’re afraid of bad words)
HOLY SHIT IT WAS AMAZING.
The performance began with Carol Warholak Sweeney as the narrator. She brought the audience to life with her antics and contribution. She’s a natural storyteller. After seeing her perform, I made a mental note to myself that I needed to be as wonderful and full of passion as she is.
Throughout the show, I didn’t know what to expect from her. She was both playful and entertaining. In fact, I’d like to note that she pulled one of my friends on stage to moan — a great icebreaker for Rocky Horror. My friend was instantly in love with the show from that point on (and it was just the beginning)!
Carol isn’t alone in her amazing performance. The entire — and yes I mean ENTIRE — cast was wonderful.
Janet Weiss, played by Kristina Toussaint, sang beautifully throughout the show. At one point, my friend whispered to me, “Oh my god, she sounds so much like Janet, I’m amazed.” And we repeatedly kept saying to ourselves how in awe we are over her vocal talent.
I loved Caitlin Harty’s Columbia. She continuously brought comedy to the center of the stage. I didn’t know what to expect from her character, which made me want to continue to watch her performance. Similarly, Brad’s, played by Zachary Michael Sessock, facial expressions immediately had me on the floor laughing.
Of course, not to be out done, Dr. Frank N. Furter’s entrance was fabulous. Instead of completely copying Tim Curry’s look, Mark Petrole’s Frank had a mustache that screamed Freddie Mercury (the embodiment of a sex god) and women’s lingerie to match. If you didn’t fall in love with Mark’s performance, you weren’t paying attention. Tim Curry’s heels are hard to fill, but Mark did it. I wanted to talk to him after the show to let him know that I appreciate his talent. But, I’m hoping he’ll read this and know.
Riff Raff, performed by Ben Dugas, and Magenta, perfomed by Kalen Churcher, were believably best friends throughout the entire show. If they aren’t friends in real life, I’d be surprised. The chemistry was there.
Eric Lutz (Rocky) and Adam Zawatsky (Eddie) seemed to have truly understood their characters and care about the audience’s perception. Eric, at one point, ran up and down the aisles which made the audience become a part of the show. And when Adam sang, he made sure to look at the audience to bring them into the story.
Dr. Scott, played by Felix Wawer, was hilarious. A bit edgy. But hilarious. When he came onto the set wearing thigh highs, I immediately loved his character.
Last but not least, what’s Rocky Horror without the Phantoms? Stephanie Skiro, Alison Scott, Charlotte Anderson, and Qalil Ismail were our Phantoms and CAN THEY SING!!! There was a point where I would have loved to get up and dance with them (but being an audience member that would be considered rude)!
The lightning, music, and sound were all spectacular. Without the support of the crew/staff, I don’t think this production could have came together so beautifully. My heart extends to everyone who made the event special for myself and my friends.
Honestly, Little Theatre, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help the theater. I’m already in love with your crew and yours actors.