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Nine years of Rocky Horror, nine years of inclusivity

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By Natalie Betz
natalie-betz@uiowa.edu

For the ninth year in a row, Comics in Action, an improvisational comedy group located in Iowa City, Coralville, and Cedar Rapids, will re-enact The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Englert, 221 E. Washington, Oct. 28 at 11:50 p.m.

This year, while the majority of the cast remains the same as last year, the shadow cast has bigger and flashier props, said Dennis Lambing, one of several organizers for Comics in Action. Lambing is particularly excited for an LED light-up sign spelling out “Janet” during Brad’s solo, “Dammit Janet.”

“How much more fun could it be?” Lambing said.

When preparing for the show, the team searched websites describing how to play the characters and how to create their costumes, but team members could not find anything on how to assemble RiffRaff and Magenta’s gold space costumes. Lambing said it was a big moment for the audience, so one of the team taught himself how to sew and created the elaborate costumes.

Last year, Rocky Horror remake built up the question of whether the original could be replaced with the newer version, since in past years there have been arguments on whether or not Dr. Frank N Furter was problematic to the LGBTQ community. In the 2016 remake, Laverne Cox plays Dr. Frank N. Furter to transition the role to more authentic LGBTQ figures.

Ellie Rapp, a local drag queen, said she loves the underground culture of the cult classic. She said it’s not the writing that makes it so great but the unexpectedness.

“There was no reason to remake it,” Lambing said. “Even Glee’s rendition just wasn’t the same. We perform the original, you have to. It’s a wacky film that makes no sense, and Tim Curry in drag is awesome.”

Lambing joked that no one seems to know who Meatloaf’s character, Eddie, is in relation to the others, but his death sparks a fun song. Lambing also does not know what the purpose of the freezer is.

Bella Kills Michael, Miss Queen of the Circus 2016, said she thinks Rocky Horror is amazing because of the characters, “even though it’s corny, but you get it.”

In the future, people might lose interest in the Rocky Horror midnight shows, but what keeps the tradition strong is the theme of inclusiveness, Lambing said. Although, with the political climate right now, he says he does not see “the message running dry anytime soon.”

“Acceptance is the biggest core message,” Lambing said. “Which is why the LGBT community is behind it.”

The line “Don’t Dream it, Be it,” from “Rose Tint My World,” is an important line to Lambing, because he believes it helps others know that everything is OK, he said.

FILM
The Rocky Horror Picture Show

When: Saturday at 11:50 p.m.

Where: Englert, 221 E. Washington

Admission: $18-$20

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