Cast of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ anticipates successful Hippodrome Horrorfest

By Jennifer Smith | Reporter

The Waco Hippodrome is hosting an ongoing Halloween event, the Hippodrome Horrorfest, starting today and ending on Oct. 31.

The Horrorfest kicks off Friday with the premiere of Tyler Perry’s “Boo 2! A Madea Halloween,” and will conclude on Oct. 31 with a “Michael Jackson Halloween Thriller Spectacular.”

During the week of the Hippodrome Horrorfest, you can catch classic Halloween movie such as “Casper” and “Frankenstein,” along with a live shadow-cast performance of the famous movie, “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” on Oct. 27 and 28. Tickets are on sale now for each event.

The Hippodrome’s events coordinator, Carina Yebra, said this year’s response to the event has been greater than anything they could have ever imagined.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to expose movies that people probably wouldn’t watch throughout the year; old and new,” Yebra said. “October is a fun month for everyone, but between the movies, Rocky Horror and the Michael Jackson impersonator, the Hippodrome definitely does it big.”

This is the Hippodrome’s third year in a row to perform “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Melanie Studer is shadowing the character of Janet Weiss, a young, naive newlywed who gets lost with her fiancee, Brad Majors. The couple ends up at the mysterious castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite alien from the planet Transsexual, in the galaxy of Transylvania.

This is Studer’s first time performing “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and she said she could not be more excited to play Janet.

“Janet is this innocent girl who gets engaged and then, throughout the movie, becomes awakened to her sexuality and being different,” Studer said. “She realizes she doesn’t necessarily want to be living in the box she created, and she wants to go outside of that.”

The movie was created in 1975, and has gained a large fan-base ever since.

“My dad actually saw the show in 1985 and he’s loved it since then. I’ve asked him before why he and so many others like it so much, and I think it just gave people an excuse to embrace differences and be strange,” Studer said. “Audience participation is almost required because it’s so encouraged, so it makes people feel like they’re apart of it.”

Studer majored in theater at Baylor and regularly performs at the Waco Civic Theatre. This is her first time performing in Rocky Horror, but she said this show is especially intriguing.

“The movie obviously has a cult following and I think people enjoy that it’s weird and they don’t fully understand it. But they go along with it and embrace it for what it is, just like the characters in the movie,” Studer said.

Erin Shephard plays the lead role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, the crowd’s favorite transvestite villain. Shephard is also a regular performer at the Waco Civic Theatre and will be performing Rocky Horror for the first time. She said she admires the movie for the stellar cast of characters and awesome music to rock out to.

“Everyone loves a villain, especially when he’s brought to life by an actor as incredible as Tim Curry,” Shephard said. “He’s smart, funny, has an amazing wardrobe and he has that glam-rock swagger.”

Shepard said it is difficult to pick her favorite song to perform because of all the amazing music in the show.

“Well, although Sweet Transvestite is a fantastic opening number, and I love to prance around, I think the reprise of “I Can Make You a Man” might be my favorite because it’s a little funnier, and I love to be a goofball,” Shephard said.

Shephard is also a photographer for Lone Star Pin-Up, and she shot the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” cast photos.

Get into the Halloween spirit with movies and live shows at the Hippodrome Horrorfest which are ongoing until Oct. 31.