The Ocean City Repertory Theater turns into an adult playpen tonight for the last time this year.
With its staging of "The Rocky Horror Show," the 50-seat theater serves as a place adults can see something a little naughty and act a little juvenile hurling insults, rice, toilet paper and toast at actors, who bring the original 40-year-old sci-fi, horror, comedy musical to life.
It is particularly dangerous to give fun-loving adults water pistols.
In the interactive musical, the audience is supposed to pull the trigger on their water pistols to represent the rain when the car of newly engaged couple Brad Majors and Janet Weiss breaks down.
Well, the mischievous crowd gathered Thursday inside the theater took delight in squirting the actors whenever they felt like it.
Midnight showings of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" movie, starring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon, from 1975 started the audience participation tradition, which ranges from taunting Brad and Janet to an almost running commentary throughout the show.
People who find it irritating when people talk back to the screen at a movie theater have no business seeing "The Rocky Horror Show" live.
Cast members, who will be doing their 24th and 25th performances tonight, are so familiar with the musical's book they are more than comfortable ad libbing with patrons if they hear something that sparks their imagination. No one in the theater is safe as actors liberally leave the stage and cavort with the crowd.
"The Rocky Horror Show" is not for the bashful, especially for the performers.
Women are in underwear and lingerie. One of the show's stars, Edward Albright, 19, of Ocean City, as Dr. Frank N. Furter, dresses in women's clothing and engages in the most risque behavior.
Stephen and Maura Sands, of Ocean City, arrived Thursday dressed as characters Frank N. Furter and Magenta, respectively. They showed up ready to have fun.
"It was so well put together by the kids last year. The squirting, the throwing of the toast, they take it all in stride," said Stephen Sands, 50, who added he saw the live show for the first time last year. "They see us dressed up, and it feeds the fire."
All of these shenanigans arise from a story of an engaged couple, who are caught in a storm and arrive at the home of a mad scientist, who unveils his new creation.
The verbal and physical audience participation taking place throughout the 90-minute show culminates with most of the crowd coming on stage to dance "The Time Warp." Patrons and the cast jump to the left, step to the right, bring their knees in tight and thrust their pelvises.
Albright brought the idea of doing the show to Ocean City Repertory Theater founder and artistic director Flossi Micciolo after seeing the "Glee" episode inspired by "The Rocky Horror Show" in 2010. Micciolo hosted performances of "The Rocky Horror Show" for the first time last year.
It has become the most successful production in the 12-year history of the theater. Micciolo plans to make it an annual event and bring it back next year.
"Summer is the busiest time. We are doing a long run of a month, four or five times a week at 10 p.m. and midnight," said Micciolo, who added she hires and needs the energy of college students to do these shows. "He (Albright) took this show and put it on his shoulders. He's the leader, the star. He loves the show. He inspires and excites everyone."
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If you go
"The Rocky Horror Show" will be performed at 10 and 11:59 p.m. today at the Ocean City Repertory Theater, 813 Asbury Ave., Ocean City. Tickets are $15 and an additional $5 for a prop bag. Tickets are available at the door. For mature audiences. For more information, call 609-457-6686.