Shadow cast brings ‘Rocky Horror’ to life

By Alaina Stampe

Students streamed into Brower Student Center, most of them with large red “V”s drawn in lipstick on their foreheads, which signified that they were “virgins” who had never before seen a shadow cast perform “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

After a one-year hiatus, the show generated a lot of buzz around campus when it returned on Tuesday, Oct. 31 — Halloween night.

TCNJ Musical Theatre, College Union Board and the student center staff combined efforts to put together a shadow cast version of “Rocky Horror,” where students of the shadow cast silently acted out the scenes of the movie alongside a screening of the film. The film follows Brad and Janet in their search for refuge after their car breaks down in a thunderstorm.

Rocky is Frank-N-Furter’s creation and love interest (Miguel Gonzalez / Sports Editor)

They stumble upon the mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a “transvestite scientist” whose latest project involves resurrecting a muscular man of his own creation. Among the student performers was Edward Melvin, a junior Spanish and communication studies double major, who sported a black corset and high heels for the role of Frank-N-Furter.

“(This show) is a celebration of art, of Halloween and of the weirdos,” Melvin said. “Look at the movie! It’s a celebration of sexuality and minorities and everything. It’s amazing.”

As if the show wasn’t engaging enough, various items were placed on tables to encourage audience interaction throughout the show. Audience members donned birthday hats for a party scene and held newspapers over their heads during a scene that took place in the pouring rain. Sophia Bedore, TMT’s vice president, a junior special education major and the director and producer of the show, believes the event brought the campus community together.

“(The purpose of the show is) to promote diversity, and to break down a lot of barriers that we don’t get to see on campus normally,” Bedore said.

Admission was free for students, and complimentary snacks and beverages, including Halloween candy and sparkling grape juice, were provided. The space reached its maximum number of occupants, which was far more than what the cast and crew expected, according to the production team.

Jason Monto, a sophomore communication studies major who played the role of Dr. Edward Scott, hoped the audience would be inspired to participate in future events like this one. 

“I hope it conveyed to the audience that theater is an interactive fun experience that anyone can be involved in with little to no experience,” Monto said.

The performers believed that while it was a fun show for a college audience, “Rocky Horror” also conveyed a very important message to anyone its viewers.

“(It’s important to) just be yourself and not really care what other people are thinking,” said Karaline Rosen, a junior business marketing major, who played Janet.

“Be who you are,” Melvin said.  “Just go for it.  Everyone in the show goes for it, and you see in the end that everyone’s better off because of it.”

Both the audience and the cast and crew were thrilled with the success of the show, as the performers rushed into the crowd to greet the friends that came to support them.

Bedore was thrilled with the performace and incredibly proud of the effort the cast put into the show.

“Don’t underestimate anyone,” Bedore said of the performers and their efforts. “I think the people in this cast specifically overcame a lot of struggles to be here and do what they did. I think that they did a really great job, and for that, I can’t be any prouder.”

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