MC students celebrate community and self-acceptance with The Rocky Horror Picture Show

October is right around the corner, and what better way to celebrate the start of spooky season than with the annual student-run production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show? This year’s cast has been hard at work rehearsing for one of MC’s most beloved fall traditions. 

If you’ve never had the pleasure of attending a Rocky performance, this musical cult classic is filled with lively rock’n’roll numbers, sultry costumes and a vibrant cast of spooky characters. All of this combined with the essential elements of audience participation make the show an unforgettable experience for viewers and performers alike. 

The shadow cast performance is put on each year by MC’s chapter of Alpha Psi Omega (APO) and Pride Club, who have been working together to keep this tradition alive since 2017.

APO extends performance opportunities like Rocky to students from all majors, providing a more student-run approach to the performing arts. Olivia Cameron (‘25) and Meredith Wynn (‘26) currently serve as the president and president-elect of APO, and are also this year’s co-directors for Rocky

Cameron is directing for the second time, and says her favorite part of the process is seeing the creative choices the actors make as they get into character. “It’s a lot of collaboration,” says Cameron. “We had one student come forward and say ‘I have this idea for this song; can I show it to you?’ We liked it and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is amazing. We wouldn’t have been able to think of that ourselves.’”

Wynn, a longtime fan of the show, says she was nervous to get involved last year as a freshman, but had so much fun watching that she had to join this year. Not only does Wynn find it fun, she also thinks it sends an important message today considering recent hostilities towards the LGBTQ+ community. “I think Rocky in and of itself is kind of ahead of its time,” she says, “and now with everything that’s been going on, it’s a very good way to positively bring the community together.”

Calista Jones ‘24 rehearses musical number “Sweet Transvestite”, along with Elaina Wilson ‘24, Jenni Cate Rhodes ‘24, Lauren Gaines ‘24, and Alyson Ament ‘25. Photo courtesy of Olivia Cameron.

Putting on Rocky is a team effort, and support from Pride Club is an essential piece. Pride’s main contribution is purchasing rights to the movie, but they also help foster an environment of community and acceptance. Pride Club president Sasha Hoenie (‘26) agrees that Rocky is lots of fun, while also providing an important service. “There’s nothing else like it on campus,” said Hoenie. “We want Rocky to be a safe space, especially for queer actors and audience members.”

Hoenie is also this year’s Dance Captain for Rocky, and will be performing as the lips in the opening musical number. “It’s super amazing to see actors doing the moves that I worked so hard to put together in my head, especially if they look like they’re having fun doing it.” 

Rocky is a show that brings people together, breaking gender norms and celebrating sexuality and self-discovery. For many students, it is a creative outlet that helps them let loose and feel more confident expressing themselves. 

“When I went to Rocky for the first time, I had never seen so many people being free to act so outrageous and be so open with their sexuality. I really wanted to be a part of that,” said senior and second-time performer Calista Jones. “It’s so valuable to give that experience to other people.” 

Being casted in Rocky gets actors out of their comfort zone as they tackle roles with big, bold personalities. Jones, who will be playing the role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter this year, said she feels honored to take on the especially bold character. “I’m so used to limiting myself, so it’s been great to learn how to be as expansive, confident, and fearless as Frank is.” 

Josue Monroy, senior and first-time performer in the ensemble, said “I decided to do Rocky Horror this year because I’ve always wanted to but was afraid of what people would think. But now with it being my senior year at MC, I want to do everything I was afraid to do in my past years here.” He enthusiastically added, “I’ve learned to really be comfortable with my sexuality, and I’m not afraid of what people think of me.”

Performances will be in Lambert Recital Hall on Saturday, September 30 at 8 p.m. and midnight. Admission is free, and seating is first come, first served, so be sure to arrive early to grab a good seat and claim your supplies for audience participation. One last reminder from co-director Olivia Cameron: “Come dressed up, and be ready to do the Time Warp!”

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