ERIE, Pa. — Jeff Rodland fell in love with the cult movie classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” as a child and first performed in the stage version in 1998 at the Roadhouse Theatre.
Now, he’s resurrecting the musical, this time from behind the scenes as director.
“There is nothing like ‘Rocky,’ in terms of the audience-participation factor,” Rodland said. “The first time I sang ‘Over at the Frankenstein Place’ with an audience of lighters held high, my emotional high was intense.”
In addition to his multiple performances in various productions, he has a personal connection to the show. He saw it on Broadway with his now-wife Kelly on the trip during which he proposed to her.
While he found the casting process challenging, Rodland was deeply pleased with the results, which Stockhausen described as “as if The Island of Misfit Toys were putting on a show.”
“PACA wanted to produce a Halloween-themed show and since so many of the people involved with PACA worked together at the Roadhouse, it made sense to revisit ‘Rocky’ because it has such a huge cult following,” Rodland said.
“Strangely enough, the original Roadhouse production of ‘Rocky’ took place in the space that is now PACA, so it made sense to welcome the show back to this theater. We are featuring many photos and other items from the Roadhouse to commemorate the theater.”
He hopes the audience will feel free to participate as much as possible, especially in the rousing “Time Warp,” which, he says, “makes everyone feel invited to the party.” He noted that while outside props aren’t permitted, patrons can buy prop bags at the show.
“If one is not easily offended, and has never seen ‘Rocky,’ it truly is a one-of-a-kind experience,” Rodland said. “We have trained our popcorns (chorus members) to respond with the funniest responses we have been able to find.