ORLANDO – The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival kicks off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, and runs through May 29. This year the nearly three-week long festival will feature the largest line-up of shows in its history.
A popular show that gets revived a lot is “The Rocky Horror Show,” Richard O’Brien’s campy musical about Dr. Frank-N-Furter and his creation, Rocky. The show’s mix of catchy pop songs, gay humor and spoof of 1950s horror and sci-fi B-movies would seem to make it a natural for your average Fringe audience.
That may be why “Rocky Horror” is being brought back to Fringe — well, kinda sort of.
The Orlando-based MissFit Pole Production is producing the show, but it’s called “The Rocky Horror Pole Show.” Producer Dawn Thibodeau-Humphries said the show is exactly what it sounds like: one that “provides all the delectable sweetness that made ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ a cult classic, while adding the sensual twist of pole dance along with the glitter and fishnets you’ve come to expect.”
The show, which is rated mature for 18 and up audiences, is geared toward audiences who love the original, and who also have an appreciation for the fine art of pole dancing, Dawn added.
“Perhaps you have seen Rocky Horror live, but if you have never seen Frank-N-Furter on a pole, we hope you shiver with antici…….pation, and enjoy this one of a kind show letting your freak flag fly high while madness takes its toll.”
Sufficiently intrigued, Freeline Media simply had to ask Dawn to tell us more.
Freeline Media: I’ve been a Rocky Horror fan since the 70s. When did you discover this tasty cult phenomenon?
Dawn Thibodeau-Humphries: I distinctly remember watching Rocky Horror for the first time in our Port Orange townhouse when I was in 6th grade (11 years old)! I was a huge movie nerd, watching all the E True Hollywood Stories, old movies — if for nothing else than to understand current references to them, and reading everything any celebrity published. Of course at the time, I didn’t realize the following that it had or even know there was a live version! I saw it live in CityWalk just a few years ago and have since gone several times, always bringing new virgins to grow an appreciation for the artistic genius behind it.
FM: Rocky Horror … and pole dancing. Do tell!
Dawn: Yes! It seems to go so perfectly, though, doesn’t it? Our show is much different than last year. Last year we had mostly solos and all pole performers. This year, each number is a group routine. We have added the audience participation script in to involve the patrons as well. And our group is a mixture of aerial performers, stage actors and trained dancers making it much more well rounded this year! So it is pole, but so much more.
FM: How did you conceive such a delectable creation — it does scream out “Fringe!”
Dawn: My friend and co-producer is also a huge Rocky Horror fan. She is my “pole wife” — what we call our “pole partner” that we train with and do doubles, partner pole tricks, with — and has been such a help last year, but even more so this year as she really does know the movie better than I do (although Rocky Horror will forever go down as the first movie I bought on Blu-ray, ha ha). We knew the following that Rocky Horror had. One of our goals is to help mainstream pole, remove the stigma a bit. Of course it can be sexy, we don’t want to take the sexy factor away, but we want people to see the dedication, strength and dexterity that also is pole. Performing in festivals like Fringe where we can get pole in front of so many new faces is an amazing opportunity that we are grateful for. We are hoping that people will be drawn in by Rocky Horror but then, more importantly will be entertained and see pole in a new light.
FM: How much of the original show gets into this one?
Dawn: Since we are only a 50 minute show, we have an abridged version, of course. However, we keep all the main points of focus, such as “Dammit Janet,” “Time Warp,” “Sweet Transvestite” — where everyone on stage is dressed as Frank, an army of Franks! — “Hot Patootie” and “Floor Show” to name a few. We will also have clips of the movie and the dinner scene because, you know …. everyone needs a party hat.
FM: And, by the way, how does cannibalism get into the mix?
Dawn: We made sure to keep the part where Frank kills Eddie and feeds him to the group in the dinner scene! I guarantee all of it, but specifically those parts will be highly entertaining!
“The Rocky Horror Pole Show” is being show in the Pink Venue on the following dates:
* Wednesday, May 17 at 11:30 p.m.
* Saturday, May 20 at 10:15 p.m.
* Sunday, May 21 at 7 p.m.
* Monday, May 22 at 9:30 p.m.
* Friday, May 26 at 7 p.m.
* Saturday, May 27 at 11:59 p.m.
* Sunday, May 28 at 4:45 p.m.
For tickets visit Orlando Fringe.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com..