Doing the time warp as Rocky Horror returns to Carroll Arts Center

Toast will fly, rain will fall and rice will be thrown when Carroll Arts Center presents two showings of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" on Sept. 28.

This is the sixth year the Arts Center will show the movie — a cult favorite famous not only for its young stars, including Susan Sarandon, Meatloaf and Tim Curry — but for its audience participation.

"A lot of it is audience participation," said Claudia Rogers, the center's office manager, on the reasons behind the 1975 film's popularity. "We found that there is an interest from the community."

The movie, a musical comedy/horror film based on a musical by Richard O'Brien, developed its devoted audience when it became a mainstay for midnight showings in theaters around the country in 1977 that allowed costumes and props.

"I was one of those from the '70s and was there often on my Friday nights," said Rogers, adding that she has dressed as several characters from the film while acting as a hostess for the annual Arts Center screenings.

In the past, she said, 10 to 20 percent of the audience comes dressed as a favorite character.

Costumes are encouraged for the event, Rogers said, and a contest is held.

"We give trophies," Rogers laughed. "We had candy lips. One year, we had trophies that resembled the Oscars, but were skeletons."

The Center also encourages attendees to throw rice during a wedding scene and cover one's head with newspaper when it rains, as well as other oddities throughout the movie, by selling kits containing those items before the show.

"There are 10 items, along with an explanation when to use it, a cheat sheet," Rogers said, of the kit, which is available for $5.

As everything in the kit typically ends up on the floor, after a showing, the staff is prepared for a tedious cleanup.

"It is always incredibly messy to clean up," said Tabetha White, theater technology coordinator. "We spend a couple hours after the final showing and use leaf blowers. We'll still find glitter weeks later."

When she was in college, White used to dress for the movie.

"People love coming out and getting dressed up and dancing around the theater," White said. "It's so much fun, it's worth it."

She, however, will not be among them. She said she plans to dress more professionally to work the movie projector and clean up.

Because the movie is popular, especially during October, the Arts Center decided to show the film in September, Rogers said, as it was easier to get the rights.

Students from both Carroll Community College and McDaniel College would also be back in session.

Typically a sell-out, the movie attracts both an older generation as well as college-age students.

"We do get people from outside the area," Rogers said. "Crowds are good. We have people come back every year to this."

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" will be shown on Sept. 28 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. at the Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main St., Westminster.

Tickets are $15; $12 for center members.

For information, call 410-848-7272.

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