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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Spooky Season came early with summer showings of 'Rocky Horror Picture Show'

High Dive celebrates its 10th year anniversary with week long showings of the '70s classic

Graphic by Alex Brown.
Graphic by Alex Brown.

Musical theatre and horror fans started their fall festivities early with High Dive’s July run of “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

With performances in both July and October, the bi-annual “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a tradition for fans of the musical comedy horror film in the Gainesville community. Multiple showings took place at High Dive, located at 210 SW 2nd Ave., from July 14 to July 28.

Pat Lavery, facility and events manager at High Dive, said this year was High Dive’s 10th anniversary and the eighth anniversary of “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

He says the show has been a huge success for High Dive since the first night it played there, where it sold out. On July 23, the show also completely sold out, according to Lavery.

Lavery said he’s never seen the cult classic until his friend introduced it to him, who also was the inspiration for bringing it to High Dive.

“It was a big surprise,” he said. “And we've done it every year and we add more and more shows every year.”

Within those eight years, the show was played with a shadow cast, where actors perform the movie in real-time in front of the film screen.

The live-action show is notorious for being very risque, with audience members yelling, cursing and interacting with the performers.

Lavery said yelling and interacting get the crowd riled up, which is essentially an important element of Rocky Horror.

“It frankly, is kind of a horrible movie,” he said. “That's the whole point of something so bad. You can't help but laugh and make fun of it.”

Lavery said over the eight years of the show's running, a wide range of audience members have paid a visit.

“Rocky's been around for 50 years now,” he said. “People of all ages come to this thing.”

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Kyle Flick, a cast member since 2019, plays the stylish transvestite from Transylvania, Frank N. Furter, which makes him feel empowered and allows him to “let loose” on stage. He said he takes notes from Tim Curry’s performance in the 1975 film to prepare for the role.

“A lot of people seem to really like how I do it,” said Flick. “I think I take a lot of inspiration from him.”

Alexa Covert, a 22-year-old elementary education major at UF, performed in the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” for the first time this year, taking over the male role of Rocky.

Covert said the audience had responded positively to the female take on Rocky.

“I think people really like that there's a woman Rocky, because I think it's common with our iteration,” she said. “Every time I've seen it it's been a woman Rocky, but in other shows, it's usually a guy.”

Covert said her love for the musical started at a young age.

“I've been coming to this Rocky at the High Dive since I've been 18, since I've been allowed to come,” she said. “And I learned about Rocky when I was in 5th grade because I was a drama kid, and I knew all the songs.”

Even though the show has an extensive and loyal fanbase, including Covert, there’s no shortage of newcomers.

Alecia Norris, a local massage therapist, experienced her first “Rocky Horror Picture Show” on July 23.

Despite only having a baseline knowledge of the show, she said the show’s reputation convinced her to attend.

“I knew that it was something very raunchy,” she said, “like, Burlesque forward. That's the only idea I had of it. And that was enough for me.”

Norris was pulled on stage and marked a “virgin” (someone seeing the show for the first time) along with other attendees, where she found herself being part of the show.

“It’s just basically raunchy games that they have you do on stage in front of everyone,” she said.

Norris said she likes the overall atmosphere and plans on returning to “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and Lavery said he expects future shows to sell out since the crowd is “very enthusiastic.”

Contact Alexis at Follow her on Twitter @Alexis_Carson99.

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Alexis Carson

Alexis Carson is a third-year journalism major and staff writer with the Avenue. In her free time, she loves watching horror movies and going to concerts.

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