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How the Uptown Theatre Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow cast creates community

Time warp back to 1975 and to the first screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The campy homage to the science-fiction movies of the 1950s was quickly shunned for its dealing with topics of sex and sexuality. But what started to grow was a small, tight-knit community of those who found strength, courage, and a sense of belonging within the world Richard O’Brien crafted.

“I wish I had found Rocky earlier because it helped me so much,” Tara Lucchino, who plays Janet Weiss in the shadow cast, said.

Lucchino, as well as all other members of Transvestite Soup, the Uptown Theatre shadow cast, preaches about the community within the Rocky Horror fanbase and the ways in which Rocky gave each and every one of them strength and love in their lives.   

“I’m a cross-dresser….[Rocky] gives me a confidence [to be] myself,” Tawny John, who plays Dr. Frank’N’Furter, said. He went on to elaborate on the way in which this cast has made him feel accepted.

“I can go to rehearsals dressed as Tawny or show up as Tom. They let me come any way I want to,” Tawny John said.

Shadow casts everywhere encourage this same mentality among their audience as well as allowing all to come as dressed up, or as dressed down, as they please. The idea is to come as you are and have a good time doing so.

“Rocky Horror was the first place I felt comfortable being out and experimenting with my gender presentation,” Tom S. Tea said. They spoke about the power Rocky Horror gave them, as a trans and genderqueer individual, to step out and truly be who they were.

“You just need the bare minimum to be fully accepted. You just need to not be a complete asshole and you will be a part of the community completely and instantly,” Brian Watson Jones, who played both Eddie and Dr. Scott, said about the Rocky Horror community.

When one enters a Rocky Horror show, there is this instant feel that you are somewhere where you can be exactly who you want and find nothing else besides support and love. Within a singular crowd one finds Rocky fans of nearly every gender, age, sexuailty and belief. The one thing they all will have in common is a love for the film and life itself.

“It’s a fun community; you get to know the people and you make a lot of great friends,” Skyler Bough, a member of Transvestite Soup, said.

There is proof in this in the September 30 performance, which was dedicated to a member of the Rocky Horror community who had passed away too young. Although it is likely the majority of the nearly sold-out crowd did not know the individual, no one held back from honoring his memory by participating wholeheartedly in the show.

“It’s a community that’s always sticking together…It’s a community that, even if we’re all weirdos and freaks…we can come together to be unique and love what we are,” Lucchio said.

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