When: Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Where: The Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main Street, Westminster, MD
Phone Number: 410. 848. 7272
How Much: $15 per ticket.
The evening of Sept. 28 will be one of sexy lingerie, cross-dressing, and virginity (or lack thereof) at the Carroll Arts Center in downtown Westminster.
I met with Tabetha White at the Arts Center to ask her a few things about “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” a fun night of tradition for the members of the Carroll County and downtown Westminster community. Annual showings started at the Arts Center seven to eight years ago. White, the Arts Center’s Children’s Theatre and Stage Technology Coordinator said, “it filled[ed] a gap in our regular line up, [and was] something that had been requested by the public that we do.”
Rocky Horror seems like a big leap from coordinating children’s theater. Flashing a smile, White said, “I got involved with it because I had done it in college.”
The film, which originally opened in the UK, in Aug. 1975, has garnered an enormous cult following that changes in diversity and grows larger every year.
What is really fascinating is the very fact that the Rocky Horror Show has such a large following here in Westminster, MD, since it’s traditionally a more conservative area to live in. Yet according to White, there has never been any sort of outcry from the community, with regards to the showing of the somewhat promiscuous cinematic adventure that is Rocky Horror.
She made it very clear that there had never been any type of negative reaction towards the show. In fact there has been nothing but support from both the board of directors at the Arts Council and from the community. The show is “something they [the community] come to every year,” said White, enthusiastically.
As I chatted a bit more with White, I looked over the bag she had handed me before we began speaking. The prop bag is something that all “old-timers” familiar with the show will know about, but those who are “virgins,” might not.
Seeing Rocky Horror screened at a theater is meant to be interactive. Audience members egg the characters on screen, celebrate when they celebrate, and pretend that they’re actually characters within the movie. Inside, the prop bag is full of things absolutely necessary for the enjoyment and experience of the Rocky Horror Picture Show:
- A small bag of rice
- A piece of newspaper
- A water gun
- Candles or flashlights
- A pair of rubber gloves
- Small bag of confetti
- A roll of toilet paper
- A party hat
- A bell
- A few playing cards
- And, sometimes, hot dogs and prunes (though most theaters don’t normally use this last one for sanitary reasons).
As she handed them to me she made sure to let me know that they’d only made a certain amount of prop bags, and that if people wanted them they should show up early. At $5 a bag, one might be inclined to think that they would be tough to sell, especially to a community with a large percentage of college students, but White assured me that they sell out every year. (It looks like all of the Rocky Horror goers in Westminster understand the prop bag’s importance.) Of course, it’s also quite easy to make your own prop bag, if you know you can’t beat the rush.
White also spoke to me of a little bump they’d encountered on the road toward this year’s Rocky Horror. The Arts Center has a lot of traditions that take place before the show. One of them is the “virgin parade.” A virgin usually refers to someone who has not engaged in sexual relations, but in the case of Rocky Horror it means anyone who has, unfortunately, never seen the show with a live audience (watching it at home doesn’t count!).
This virgin parade, normally led by Christopher Molloy (C-Mo to those that know him), will this year be led by Deidre Crowl, a resident of Carroll County and her husband Tom Crowl, a local magician. While everyone at the Arts Center was sad to hear that C-Mo would not be leading the parade this year, they are more than confident in the Crowls’ “virgin parade” leading prowess.
As we finished up our conversation, our talk turned a little more technical. White excitedly gave me the show date and times and handed me a program with the Arts Center’s planned season. She reiterated what she had said to me early in the conversation in that the Arts Center was, “just filling a public need” and I could tell that she was genuinely driven to make sure this night of virginity, lack of virginity and silly fun with friends, was a resounding success.
I know I’ll be showing up on Sept. 28 with my pair of fishnets, short shorts, painted face, and five dollars for that absolutely necessary prop bag. Even if you’re a broke college kid like me, set aside some mad money, or drinking money, whichever, (it’s only $15!) and make sure you come on out to enjoy the show!
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