This is the fourth installment of the Bursting the Bubble series, which highlights community relationships.
Last Friday night, members of the community celebrated Halloween at the SteelStacks by reaching into a bag of props and throwing toast at performers.
The 1975 musical comedy horror film, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” is the inspiration behind an interactive event that provides a space for the Bethlehem community to participate in something out of the ordinary. It allows people to dress up, act out and be themselves in a spirited environment.
The show draws a crowd ranging from as young as 18 to as old as 60. Prop bags are sold at the theater and allow spectators to get involved in the show.
“The show is filled with tons of inside jokes,” said Caraline Jeffrey, ’17, the vice president of the Mustard and Cheese Drama Society. “I remember one of the (cast) members screamed out, ‘A toast!’ and everyone in the crowd threw an actual piece of toast from the prop bag.”
Originally directed by Jim Sharman, the picture show has been re-enacted and screened countless times over the past 41 years. In 2011, it was brought to the Bethlehem SteelStacks on Halloween and became a more frequent show in 2012.
The SteelStacks has seen a heightened interest in The Rocky Horror Picture Show just this year alone. RyanHill, ArtsQuest programming director, said said this may be a result of the new version of Rocky Horror released by Fox, encouraging people to see the original film.
“We’ve definitely grown, as this has been one of the strongest Octobers we’ve ever seen,”Hill said.
Now, on every last Friday of the month until December 30, the SteelStacks ArtsQuest center will put on “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.
The show is an interactive screening, where a shadow cast gets into character and reenacts the film on stage while it plays on a screen behind them.
“Rocky Horror is definitely a weird movie to begin with, ” Jeffrey said. “It isn’t necessarily PG all the time- It’s not offensive in anyway, just a little raunchy- but all in good fun.”
Audience members can get as involved in the screening as they’d like, whether it’s dancing with the cast, using props or just sitting back and watching the show unfold.
This past Friday, the Mustard and Cheese Drama Society partnered with Lehigh After Dark to attend the show. It took a group of students, including many club members, to see the Halloween screening of the show at the SteelStacks.
“Rocky Horror is definitely an experience,” said Adrienne Chodnowsky, ’17, the president of the Mustard and Cheese Drama Society.
Chodnowsky introduced the show to club members for the first time last year.
“I saw it at the SteelStacks with my girlfriends and thought it would be a really fun event to do with the club,” Chodnowsky said. “We have a lot of members that don’t drink or participate in Greek life, so we wanted to give them a fun alternative Halloween celebration that’s between the hours of 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. but isn’t a frat party.”
The Mustard and Cheese Drama Society took about 25 members last year and had a much larger presence at this year’s screening after partnering with Lehigh After Dark.
“Since we partnered with Lehigh After Dark, we were able to subsidize the tickets, so they were actually free to students,” Jeffrey said. “We had a much larger group attending this year — maybe around 70 of us.”
Many students got into the Halloween spirit by dressing up as characters of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, while others wore more traditional Halloween costumes.
“Theater kids, we’re a weird crew,” Chodnowsky said. “But something like Rocky Horror speaks to us. It’s a lot of the same quirky humor that we love. It’s a way to give people the opportunity to feel like they had something different to do on Halloween.”