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“The Rocky Horror Show” at Cabrillo

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Photo by Stephen Hill

Come to the Cab…and See What’s on the Slab

by Dana Hammer

My first experience with “Rocky Horror” was at a house party when I was a kid. There weren’t any theaters in my rural town that did “Rocky Horror” productions, so we made do with a friend’s basement and a VHS tape. We merrily messed the place up with rice and water guns and toast, and a fantastic time was had by all. As a grown woman, I look back on that time and think, “Where were the parents? Why didn’t we help clean up all that stuff we threw around? We were kind of bad kids.” Though really, wasn’t that the point? “Rocky Horror” encourages its audience to engage in minor bad behavior, to yell during the movie, to throw things, and to let its freak flag fly.

But here’s the thing. A screen will never interact with you. Sure, the movie is wonderful, but a movie will never, ever adapt or change. That’s why “The Rocky Horror Show” works so well as a play.. And now you can see it as a play, live and in person, at Cabrillo Playhouse.

Artistic Director Michael Lopez says “ ‘Rocky Horror’ has a huge following-that's why we are doing it for the 4th time this summer-and we try to keep it fresh each year. The part of Frank-N-Furter is played by Tom Patrick for the 4th time. The audience loves him and he's a very talented actor.” Cabrillo chose to produce ‘Rocky Horror’ because, according to Lopez, “I was looking for something completely different from what our theater has ever done, wanting to draw a different, younger audience. And it worked!”

Now, we all know the drill when attending a movie screening of “Rocky Horror.” You dress up. You bring props. It’s a whole thing. But are the rules different in live theater spaces? After all, live theater is classy. It’s for people in close-toed shoes and nice jackets. The answer is, yes and no.

According to Lopez, “We definitely encourage it (dressing up) and a lot of the audience does so. I've met a lot of people who have done this for the first time and they absolutely have a great time…We do not allow outside props but we sell prop bags that include a feather boa, glow sticks, sun glasses, etc.”

In other words, you should probably dress up, but maybe leave the water pistol at home. Use the props that Cabrillo sells, to make sure you aren’t acting like a teen Dana and disrespecting the rules of the house.

“The Rocky Horror Show” is a classic and for good reason. It appeals to older people who experienced it when it first came out, as well as younger people who may be experiencing it for the first time. It’s iconic. It’s mythic. It’s so bad it’s good, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Come see “The Rocky Horror Show” at Cabrillo Playhouse.

Dana Hammer is a novelist, playwright and screenwriter living in Anaheim, in her hunting lodge for rich weirdos.

“The Rocky Horror Show” Cabrillo Playhouse 202 Avenida Cabrillo, San Clemente, CA August 4 - 27, 2023 (949) 492-0465,

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