Rocky Horror does the time warp at the Empire


Shelby Johnson, Features Editor

Halloween night is usually the prime night for scares until you step into the Empire Arts Center for the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The wild, charismatic crowd were dressed in costume. When I got to the doors, the ushers held me up asking if I was a virgin.

I stared straight at the two ushers blocking my way into the theater, unsure of what to say. They giggled.

“Have you ever seen the show before?” the ushers rephrased.

I hadn’t. I was welcomed into the theater with a “V” written on my hand in red lipstick. Others had the “V” on their foreheads and cheeks.

The crowd was fidgeting in their seats waiting for the start. When a well dressed man entered the stage the whole crowd cheered. The man was funny and alluring while introducing the show.

While the crew behind the curtain was getting set up, the introducer invited all the “virgins” on stage to strip down and show their favorite “moves” to show the crowd of “veterans.” Once the crowd chose their favorite virgin, the show was ready to start.

Rocky Horror is a comedic twist on a horror musical. It starts with a beginning number that introduces the movie as a whole. The local actors played out the scenes in front of the screen showing the movie.


The movie starts at their friend’s wedding with the main characters, Janet and Brad. Incidentally, Brad ends up, after a musical number, proposing to Janet. They were so excited and wanted to tell their beloved professor, Dr. Scott.

In a mild thunderstorm, the couple runs into a dead end and gets stranded trying to back out. They noticed a castle a few miles back so they trudged through the rain and mud. The large castle would hold a bunch of odd, and borderline crazy, people that would change their lives.

The local actors mouthed along to each song and each line that their character participated in. The spotlight following them while they paced throughout the stage and the audience as well. The actors used the whole space of the Empire which excited the audience.

The audience themselves were screaming at the scenes played out before them. The showing of Rocky Horror welcomed the audience’s loud jokes and derogatory terms toward the original movie.

Patrick Pearson as Dr. Frank-N-Furter leads the Halloween performance of 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' Monday at the Empire Arts Center.
Dakota Student / Nicholas Nelson
Patrick Pearson as Dr. Frank-N-Furter leads the Halloween performance of ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ Monday at the Empire Arts Center.

The Empire provided a “prop bag” which had multiple toys and objects that were to get thrown in the air at certain points during the movie.

For example, while Janet and Brad walked through the rain to the castle, the audience was given a part of a newspaper and a squirt gun in the prop bag. The audience used the squirt gun to represent rain and the newspaper to cover their heads like Janet did in the movie.

For many people looking for a fun, inappropriate time during the Halloween season, I would suggest going to the Empire’s showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show. Although it started at midnight and lasted until nearly 2:30 a.m., the laughs were always present and the shouts from the audience made the experience even more humorous. I would, however, suggest watching the original at home before. Just so you could get the full effect before not being able to hear the actors over the shouts from the audience.


Shelby Johnson is the features editor for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]