Omaha Nebraska October 2002
When I first heard that Omaha’s New Millennium Theatre was doing Rocky Horror Show for a second year in a row I was very excited. Last year the show was wonderful so I knew it would be well worth seeing again. With a new year the show had a few changes that made it even better.
When doing Rocky a second time there is a lot of room for improvement on details because so much of the show is already prepared from the previous time. This year at the New Millennium Theatre the costumes and sets were mostly ones used from the previous year. Even some blocking and choreography was the same. But it was hardly the same show. Jerry Ditter (director) has fine tuned this show into an amazing new creature.
The first thing I noticed when seeing the show this year was the subtle changes in cast. Some of the casting was familiar. Frank N. Furter, Riff-Raff, The Criminologist, and one of the Phantoms were the same as last year. Janet, Columbia, Magenta, and Rocky were new. Brad and Eddie/Dr. Scott were both cast from last year’s Phantoms. I thought the cast was great last year but upon seeing the new group I was absolutely floored. They looked fantastic, they acted perfectly, but the thing I noticed most was their singing. This cast had quite a set of pipes. While I was greatly impressed by the cast as a whole I have to say that a couple of them really stood out. Magenta, Melanie Walters gave me chills at the end with “…really drives me insa-a-a-a-a-ane”. Another very pleasant surprise was Dave Sims in the role of Eddie/Dr. Scott. As a phantom last year he was pretty much mute. So seeing him talk and sing this year was quite a surprise. He is a very talented individual and very charismatic. Not only did he do a very nice contemporary metal head version of Eddie, but his take of Dr. Scott as a nerdy frail old man was hilarious. We also learned that Dave is a very talented graphic artist as well. He designed a lot of the cast make up, the front hall of the theater and the large painted murals on the windows that circled the theater. I can not talk about the cast without giving some credit to the amazing Phantoms. One thing I loved about this production is the Phantoms remain very mysterious. They sang during the songs, but they didn’t talk. They wore full face make up and were very sexy-especially during seating.
The other major change this year I wasn’t expecting at all…the lighting. I didn’t really think about it too much last year. This year I noticed that there were lots of little effects that came across very well. The show uses a screen center stage to do some shadow play silhouettes. The lighting for those scenes was all very different. The bedroom scenes were very crisp and easy to read, which is not always the case with the play. When Frank and Rocky had their bedroom moment right before the end of act one the combination of red and blue lighting almost made it look 3-D. My favorite effect was the use of really bright lights during Riff’s solo for Over at the Frankenstein Place. The curtains part, the house goes black and the curtains center stage part just enough for his shadow to be seen and light floods around him-it was breath-taking. When Eddie is killed there is a similar use of red lighting to set the mood. The lights dim so you can see the action but being only lit in red added a real creepy quality.
Last year’s Rocky Horror Show was nominated for a ton of local theatre awards. It won several. I expect this year’s amazing show to do the same. The cast and crew in Omaha are one of the most talented I have seen. It has been a pleasure enjoying it all again this year.