You might remember it from midnight screenings at Uniondale's Mini-Cinema in the late 1970s. Or perhaps you saw the live stage version that ran at Westbury Music Fair in December 1978. Or maybe you're a younger convert who only recently caught your first glimpse of Tim Curry in fishnet stockings.
Fans of all ages can rejoice: On Saturday, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" will launch what may be its first major run, complete with a troupe of live actors and stage sets, in at least a decade on Long Island.
"Occasionally a campus will do it, but this is in a big way, the 35-mm, theatrical, big-screen experience," says
Kristen Nelson, director of a "shadowcast" of actors who will mimic and sometimes add to the film. "We wanted to go whole hog."
The definitive midnight movie
Screening under the auspices of Summer Camp Cinema, the annual schlockfest at Cinema Arts Centre, "Rocky Horror" remains the definitive midnight movie: offbeat, off-color, more than a little disreputable. A strange collage of 1950s kitsch, '70s glam, gay camp and punk shock-value, "Rocky Horror" was a flop upon its release in 1975. (The cast also included Barry Bostwick, Meat Loaf and Susan Sarandon.) Nevertheless, the movie drew a cult of fans who returned again and again for late-night screenings at independent theaters in Manhattan and on Long Island and, eventually, around the country.
"It's still risqué, even by today's standards - nobody in my cast can be under 18, and it is rated R," says Nelson, 33, who lives in Bay Shore. "It's so outlandish when you first see it. And that's part of its charm."
An unconventional group
Nelson and her cast and crew, about 20 members in all, call themselves the Unconventional Conventionalists, a moniker lifted from one of Curry's flamboyant speeches. But it's also the name of another "Rocky Horror" shadowcast that performed on Long Island in the late 1990s. Original members James Prego and Mel Sage are returning to play the devious doorman Riff Raff and the suggestible Janet Weiss.
Nelson promises that her show won't be merely a line-by-line recital. The actors have been rehearsing for six months, and the props will include an aquarium tank, a television monitor and an 8-foot-tall, collapsible backdrop.
"We have an amazing cast," Nelson says of her all-volunteer actors. "They wake up at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings for this. For people to do that week after week and give 100 percent, I'm really proud of that."