Touch-a Touch Me

Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild brings cult film to life

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by Trevor Kupfer photos by Hanna Agar

Astute Catholic schoolgoers recall that time began with “Let there be light.” But those that sought education from a certain midnight picture show insist that it began with “Let there be lips.” And when Sept. 5 rolls around, you can bet that those time-warped cultists (myself included) will be rousing up their friends, some fishnets, and high-heel pumps for yet another lesson, as the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild presents The Rocky Horror Show.

“It’s going to be a great show and people need to get tickets early because we’re expecting a really strong draw,” director Keith Lorasch said.

The high-energy stage performance comes from Richard O’Brien’s infamous stage show, which started in London in the early ’70s and famously spawned the 1975 film with Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, and Meat Loaf. It quickly drew a cult following, both on Broadway and at midnight cinema showings – most famously Milwaukee’s Oriental Theatre, which continues its longest-running interactive screenings monthly.

The possibility of a local production came up several years ago, but some guild members voiced concern about the show’s content, given the organization’s track record with family-friendly performances. “Some thought it might be a little bit risky,” said Lorasch, who has directed seven shows with CVTG since 1992. “It’s not the typical show that season ticket holders come and see.” But after a few board members caught a production in the Twin Cities, CVTG decided to give it a shot and possibly diversify its audience base.

When word got out, one of the 14 cast members began “campaigning” to get a role as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, who she has shadowed at UW-Eau Claire’s screenings since 1995.

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