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Archive for the ‘Cast Blog’ Category

Cast Blog: Raspberry Beret

Sunday, January 10th, 2016

It would be so easy for me to write this if I wasn’t a fan of all this. Writing comes so much more naturally to me when you don’t have to introspect and question every sentence you write. It’s like my philosophy on dancing, the best way to dance is just to not give a shit what other people think of it. Confidence is key, just like it was when I first auditioned for this cast a few months ago. To this day I’m not necessarily convinced my audition is real. The great contrast between who I was just 6 months ago and who I am now is incredible. I know this sounds really platitudinous but Rocky Horror truly changed my life in a monstrous way. I wouldn’t be so cheesy to say it’s similar to the transformation of rocky himself, mainly because I haven’t turned into an overly buff Aryan man yet. Yet.

My transformation began when I decided to finally get the courage to try out for this crazy thing. In the past I was never known as someone to be especially bold or confident. Due to a string of personal events In my life, which can be briefly summarized as abuse, alienation, and abandonment I’d been under the grasp of anxiety for many years in my life. To an extent I still am, but in recent years the grip has weakened on me. Whether trying out for this cast helped lessen my anxiety, or whether my anxiety already lessening helped me try out for Rocky I will never be sure of. All that I do know is how objectively my life has changed since August. I’ve developed a wide away of friends and social connections. I’ve even begun to become familiar with this concept of family, which was not something I was well versed in. However everything about this environment makes me feel well. From the welcoming politeness of cast, to the accumulated amount of creativity and ambition in this cast, to the genuine sense that these people really care for each other, all of these light family like things create an antiphony with the ribald comments, the crude humor, and the endless sarcasm to make a perfect place for me.

No matter how hard my days get, whenever I leave a show, or even meeting, it feels like all those things of my past that might have tormented me don’t matter anymore. It’s all contributed to my transformation, and to quote another musical the JCCP has done, the “strangest things seem suddenly routine.” If you had told the Raspberry Beret of a year ago, the one with body insecurity, shyness, and anxiety that they would be on a stage in front of 200+ people shirtless and in fishnets performing an entire movie, well I can’t even begin to think what I would have thought back then. But now due to the fact the reader is probably tired of my pretentious sounding parlance, or way of speaking, because my English professor is probably having a stroke from all these run on sentences I’m writing, and because I’m probably going to end up feeling like I didn’t include something important in this once it’s all done, I’ll bring this to a close now. If there’s any main themes I want someone to gather from this, here’s four. Provided in list form because internet lists are cool right?

  1. Anyone has the power to change themselves. To say they can’t is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  2. You never know what will happen if you try
  3. Reading classic novels helps you learn some really outdated and archaic words
  4. To all the people in the JCCP, and all those that follow us, come to our shows, and so on. Thank you. I want to thank you all from the very bottom of my heart, you’ve all changed my life for the better in ways you may not ever know.

Cast Blog: Mighty Mouse – I Love Yinz

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

I love yins.
(The Blog where Mighty Mouse rants about assholes then sucks the JCCP’s collective dick.)

 

 

Some days I thank whatever force made me be born in Pittsburgh.
Because if I were in (most) any other cast, I would most likely claw someone’s dick off.

I could start this by saying “The JCCP is different from any cast, and they’re my family blah blah blah”, but anyone in any shadow cast will say that. The JCCP does a lot more than that however, we are carrying the message of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, creating a creative safe space for our audience and ourselves, teaching life skills, and actually being like a family.

As someone actively watching the Rocky Community through friends and acquaintances on the magical facebook, I think about how special the JCCP is a lot. Far too many times I have logged on, to see some new war happening in the Rocky community. Typically, the biggest issue is screen accuracy vs. creative flexibility. For clarification, the JCCP is a cast that values our creativity greatly, and we do so in a way that respects quality.

Recently, I got into an argument with someone who was under the opinon that all Franks and Rockys should pack (a term used for putting an object in your crouch type area to resemble a penis). I pictured my Rocky, in which I rock a tiny bikini with big blond pigtails and laughed at the idea that I would need a penis to be Rocky. Obviously, I spoke up and was quickly told I was wrong.

This is far from uncommon. There is a population who believe that characters should not be played by people of the opposite gender as the character (I’m afraid to know what these people think of our nonbinary friends). There are also cast that will not allow you to play characters if you are not the right body type.

As an actor and leader who is a part of and runs an inclusive and awesome cast, it scares me that out there this is happening and that creative souls will never be able to blossom in their harsh casts. But it makes me extremely thankful for the JCCP.

We have created an environment and show that opens up a chance for the actors to express their own ideas and creations for the audience to take and learn. We don’t care if you’re short, tall, skinny, voluminous, straight, queer, nonbinary, trans, cis, young, old, black, Asian, Hispanic, or anything else. As long as you’re not an asshole and can express yourself in a pretty clear manner; the stage is yours. Exploring gender identity, sexuality, or if you can make people laugh is encouraged. We encourage anyone to take the show and make it theirs.

Another thing I have noticed over this past year is just how much work we put into what we do. Many casts do not have meetings or rehearsals or seldom have them. The JCCP has official cast meetings twice a month, a group rehearsal for (almost) every show, and at least one individual rehearsal per character.
I was shocked, but it makes sense and is all a part of our appreciation for creativity and that is what makes our show that great.

I’m so proud of this cast, what we are, and what we have become in the half a decade I’ve been here. We truly are like a family, in the sense that sometimes being a part of this cast makes me want to break plates off my wall, other times I want to bake you all happy cookies made of sunshine dust, or that sometimes we just kind of show up at each other’s houses. But seriously, we’re together too much to not be a family, and I think we have a pretty real dynamic. We don’t all get along all the time, but we still come together to do something we love and eventually work it out.

Though leading this cast can be hard sometimes, I really do love this cast and yins guys. I’ve grown up a lot with this cast, and I’ll fight anyone who tries to fuck with this cast. You are a collection of beautiful artistic souls, and I can’t wait to continue to watch your flames shine and grow.

Happy Holidays to the cast, crew, audience, and everyone in between, and a Happy New Year.

Don’t stop shining <3

Mighty Mouse

Cast Blog: Porcelain

Monday, November 9th, 2015
Hello all, I’m Porcelain! You can usually see me playing the roles of Columbia or Janet! To be perfectly honest I have absolutely no idea what to write about here, or more importantly where to start. I guess I should begin with how I became introduced to the wonderful world o f Rocky Horror…
I was approximately 5 years old. It was probably around Halloween time and I remember walking into the living room and seeing Frank N’ Furter on the screen in all his glory. I don’t remember much else. Then maybe 6 years later I was channel surfing and it was on again. It was around the part where Rocky is “born” and I kept it on and watched it and fell in love.  It didn’t become super important to me until after The Perks of Being a Wallflower had come out. I saw the movie in theaters and loved it and then I decided to watch Rocky Horror again and I loved it. That summer I went to see it with a cast in New York. I had to do the traditional “fake an orgasm” in front of my two older cousins and it was humiliating, but all in all it was the best thing ever. It was a whole year until I saw it with a cast again, it was the New York cast again. I went to my first show with the JCCP on November 15th 2014. It was a wonderful, wonderful night. I found out
about it from one of our lovely crew members! Your Highness and a few other crew members came into the restaurant I work at and I was serving them, he was
wearing a JCCP shirt and I complimented it and he said “come to our next show, November 15th” I instantly went to my manager to request the night off. I had it all planned the costume I was gonna wear. Everything.  The night of the show rolled around and I chickened out about the costume, but my god, the show was so
amazing. As I said before, I fell in love.
So, I decided that I wanted to try to be a part of the cast, of course, I completely doubted I’d make it. I also had to wait some time because I was in college still and didn’t think I had time to be in the cast, but school eventually took the back burner because I decided I hated it and I didn’t want to further my education, at least
not right now. I then conjured up the courage to audition, and what do you know…  I got in! Hell yes. I took a while to actually play a character because I still was technically in school and I still lived at home with my grandparents (they raised me) and they were super, super against me even going to shows because Rocky
Horror is “weird” little did they know, I myself am quite weird and am proud of it!  Once I moved out in the summer I finally got to play my first main character, Rocky!  Never did I ever imagine I’d see myself on stage in a gold bra and booty shorts, but I did it, and I felt so free (and pretty hot I might add). I also discovered that I am not a huge fan of that role and I definitely prefer Janet and Columbia. I guess I’d rather be a muscle fan than a muscle man.
Time to get mushy and sentimental, The Rocky Horror Picture Show means so much more to me than I could ever put into words.  So as I said before, my grandparents raised me, this is because when I was younger my parents passed away. I was 11 when my mom passed away so I never got a chance to know her super well, but one thing I did know is that she loved The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It gives me a bond with her that I am so thankful for. I’m a part of a group where being yourself is not only accepted, but almost necessary. I came out as bi-sexual right before joining cast and I never once felt judged about it in my little JCCP family. Recently, I have been going through a really rough time in my personal life and who were some of the first people to text me and make sure I was okay? Members of my JCCP family! They have been there for me more than I could have ever expected, I guess that’s just what family does! I have made so
me of my very best friends within this cast. I couldn’t be more thankful to have every single member of cast and crew in my life.
So, next time you come to a show be sure to come say hi!  Thanks for reading this! I’m not the best writer, so I hope it wasn’t too painful to read.
Much love always,
Porcelain.

Cast Blog: ~Kevin~

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

I tried to write something long and heart-felt, but it proved itself to be too daunting a task. The long and short of it is that I’ve gone through many phases with the JCCP, from crew member, to lazy-leader of crew, to being a member of the Board of Directors at the Hollywood Theater. I often wonder why my actions have led me to this current point in time, and why I keep going doing something that brings me so much stress and has literally brought my life to a screeching halt several times in the past 4 years. I think of the bad things a lot; the late nights, the yelling, the stress, the chaos, the bitterness, countless hours of thankless work, cast issues, personal issues, and friends lost. These things really cause me to question my involvement. Why do I keep doing this to myself? I should just leave it all behind.

Then I think about the good things; the laughter, the inside jokes, the once in a lifetime experiences and opportunities, the creativity, sharing ideas and making those ideas come to life, the great people I’ve met, the awesome friends I’ve gained, the things I’ve learned about people, the people who for some reason don’t mind keeping me around, and the people I can’t live without. There is a lot wrong with us; almost like you set our “family tree” on fire, but no family is without their issues. I sit at my desk alone in the damp dirty basement of the Hollywood Theater, and I ponder why I’m here. I then look at the picture I keep on my desk; the picture of my family. Not my mother, father, brother and sister, but a group of weirdos half naked in fishnets and underwear. Each face tells a different story, and they’re each a story that I want to be a part of; stories that I am so happy to be included in, and stories that I cannot picture my life without having read.

Chupathingy.
Grass tastes bad.
Chariots chariots.

~Kevin~

Cast Blog: Crew

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

Danika:Danika

When I was 13, this girl I had a crush on asked me to go see this weird movie with her. I had no idea what I was in for. But by the end of the show, I was in love. I never saw that girl again, but I’ve seen Rocky — er, a few times — since then. I went to shows every week and it became an awesome escape for me from my shitty adolescence. Eventually, life caught up with me and I basically abandoned Rocky. Sad, I know.

BUT EVERYTHING CHANGED WHEN I MOVED TO PITTSBURGH! The JCCP are truly the most welcoming bunch of people ever. I moved here because I was trying to find my place in the world, but I didn’t really find it until I joined this cast. That’s the amazing thing about this ridiculous movie; it brings a bunch of weird and awesome people all together. And I’m so happy to be a part of it.

Jake:

The first time I ever heard of Rocky was in the perks of being a wallflower, and i didn’t fully see the movie until a few years later. The first time I saw the movie was around a year ago today, and I went to my first show very shortly after that. As soon as I went I could tell it was a place with great people and was a lot of fun. I continued going to shows and bringing friends with me and then I decided to join crew. The cast and crew were very welcoming and some of the best friends I have ever made. Rocky quickly took over my life and I wanted to go to every show, but the commute from dormont to plum was too far so I moved within walking distance of the theater. Helping out with crew was great, and my favorite part was doing the spotlight. It was great because I focused on just the actors and made me really appreciate how good of a job they do. My favorite part of helping put on the shows is seeing the audience interact and participate and have fun. Rocky to me is a place where you can forget about social norms and daily stress and have a good time, and I love experiencing it and helping others experience it too. The jccp feels like a family to me already, and I can’t wait to continue being a part of Rocky.

Jen:Jen

Who I am?  I’m the girl with the camera.  The one who captures all the sexy, dorky, comical faces. You might not know me but you know my friends through me.  I’m the memory keeper of The JCCP and I take my job very seriously even though I can be heard saying the most ridiculous things like: “A hair band on your wrist is NOT a character choice.” or “Get closer..closer, CLOSER!” or my personal favorite..”Don’t be dead in the picture, please.”  Yes. I’ve. Said. That.

I’m lucky to be a part of the most talented, funny, charismatic bunch of people and I’m afraid every day that they’ll see through me and realize that I’ve smuggled my way into this group and I offer nothing but my big mouth and my camera.

Best time of the year is our annual photo shoots as we wander around Downtown Pittsburgh in costuming, like a gang.  A well dressed, fishnet wearing gang.  And I’m the gang leader.  We’ve taken over the fountain at The Point, Market Square, The Incline, The Clemente Bridge and of course, our home, The Hollywood Theater in Dormont.  Have you seen the pictures of Sideburns or Sam The Hobo literally hanging off the Clemente bridge?  Or Mighty Mouse, as Frank,  licking a parking meter outside The Hollywood?  Stop reading this now and find those pictures on our Facebook page.  Glorious. Did you happen upon our picture hanging in Pamela’s, in Squirrel Hill?  Look for it.  Again, glorious.

I’m a wedding photographer, did I mention that?  Oh, yeah.  I get so many brides who beg to lick parking meters or dangle off of busy bridges.  So, if that’s your thing, look me up.

As I wrap up my little blog, I want to encourage you to please come up and say “hi” to me at the shows, (Oct. 9th 10pm, 17th, 24th, Halloween, November 14th, 28th and Dec. 5th and 19th-Shameless plug, #sorrynotsorry), I love meeting new people and as cast members are well aware…I love to talk to people and again, book your wedding now and I promise to sterilize the parking meter first before I have you lick it.

Jen (The Photographer) Springel

Randy:

I came into Rocky at a hard time in life. Many of my friends had moved out of state, and I found old age turning me back into the wallflower I had so desperately tried to drown. I had heard about the whole Rocky Horror experience some ten years before by reading “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and tried for two years after the “Perks” movie came out to convince my friends to go with me before eventually deciding to go alone in April 2014. I was fortunate enough that first time to choose a seat next to an avid fan and future crew member, and the energy of that experience had me hooked from the ice breaker.

I joined crew at an even harder time of life. I had just gotten my driver’s license back from a DUI/ARD suspension, and was struggling to build a life without alcohol as a primary feature. I went to a cast meet and greet where I met a wonderful group of the most dynamic, inclusive, and interesting people, and I knew I needed to be a part of that. I joined crew, and it has become the foundation of a new life that isn’t about drowning my sorrows, but dancing with friends. While I am still the new guy it has been truly wonderful getting to know such a fun and welcoming group of friends,and really an honor to be involved in putting on a show that means so much to so many.

Steve:Stephen

The JCCP’s crew has been asked to be a part of the JCCP experience and to contribute their “my Rocky story” to the blog for October. I thought it would be an easy task and the stories I’ve been wanting to tell would easily flow through my typing fingers. I couldn’t wait to sit down and write again. I was confident I could come up with plenty of word vomit without any issue.

I was wrong. This is tough – like super tough.

The sentence you are reading now was originally not the first sentence of this paragraph. Why did I delete the original and change it? Because I do not have a single clue on how to tell “my Rocky story.” Everybody’s blog that has been written so far has been amazing and I’ve learned a lot about a great group of shadow-casters – the stars of the show.

That isn’t me. I try to avoid the spotlight.


Telling “my Rocky story” shouldn’t be so difficult. I don’t even know where to begin. You’re probably thinking, “Just start at the beginning, shit-head” But, what constitutes the beginning for “my Rocky story?” Is it the first time I saw this cult classic? Could it be the first time I saw it with a shadow-cast? Perhaps it could even begin all the way back from the day I was born?

Nope. Nothing is clicking.


So, after many deleted paragraphs and staring at this stupid blinking cursor, I’m going to try something different. I’m going to begin at the present and just spit out some information about being a crew member for the JCCP. I’ll slowly work my way backwards and probably jump around to different things and nothing will be coherent. Maybe, then, you can piece together information and help me find, “my Rocky story.”

Good fucking luck.

I sit in the shadows and I hand people their props. That is about it. On occasion, I’ll zip somebody’s zipper and fuddle my way through hooking somebody’s corset together before the floor show. I also set the throne before Sweet Transvestite while the spotlight is off the stage. I run my side like a fucking boss that most of the cast members deem that side of the stage, “stage Steve.” I know it’s only because the actual names of the sides of the stages can get confusing and this makes it so much easier for blocking purposes; however, when I first heard that, it put a big smile on my face. It made me ecstatic that I joined crew and more reasons kept on coming.
The best reason I can come up with is that these people that I’ve become friends with are probably one of the best group of friends I’ve ever had.  In the past, when I joined a Facebook event for a show, it would be lonely because I would only have one or two friends that would go. Now, it blows my mind that every event I join, has at least twenty friends that are going.  These people aren’t just acquaintances either – they are friends of the best kind. Because we fucking play board games.

​This is the best part.

BOARD GAMES, BOARD GAMES, BOARD GAMES. WE PARTY AND PLAY BOARD GAMES. IT IS FUN AND I HAD NO OTHER WAY TO GET THIS POINT ACROSS. THIS SENTENCE HAS BOARD GAMES IN IT. I LOVE BOARD GAMES. I’M GLAD I JOINED CREW BECAUSE NOW PEOPLE WILL PLAY BOARD GAMES WITH ME.
I don’t have a giant coming-of-age story to tell about how I got involved with the JCCP. It can be told in two words – they asked. After my twentieth show, the MC of the night, asked the audience if there was anybody who wanted to join crew. I thought to myself, “This is my way in.” I looked over to my wife and said, “I should do this?” She shrugged. I asked again, “Should I do this?” She responded with “Do you want to do this?”

​I wanted to do it. I needed these people.

I was a little obsessed with the JCCP. I loved going to shows, not only because of the great experience, but I got to interact with some of the coolest people in the world. I used to write all the time, and therefore, I tend to people watch. When I would go to show, after show, I would notice differences in cast members. There were improvements being made – not only in their performances, but also in their overall way-of-life. Watching these positive transformations made me want to be a part of this show and learn their secrets. It made me want this group of people as a group of friends. I had to find a way in, somehow. So, I thought about auditioning for cast. But, only thought about, never pursued.

​Not me. I avoid the spotlight.

I’m overweight. At this point in my life, I hated being in pictures and I hated looking into mirrors. So, I could never join cast. I didn’t want to be shirtless in front of an audience full of people and wonder how many people were grossed out by me. It’s something I’ve been dealing with my entire life. I’ve had my ups and down with my insecurities and it’s something that I’m constantly working on. I couldn’t do something as confident as shadow-casting with my issues, so I just continued going to shows and hiding within the audience and their shadows, preferring not to be seen.
But you better fucking believe I wanted to be heard.

The callbacks are amazing. I love yelling the same stupid jokes at every show. I secretly wish for virgins to be around me so they can hear these jokes and want to come back. Oh man, I try to scream at my loudest. I try to scream so loud that I can’t talk the next day. I want people to hear the jokes, I want people to laugh at the jokes, and I want people to come back to the next show because they had a fantastic time.  That’s what happened to me. The JCCP had me addicted after going to my first show. At the Saturday Halloween show of 2012, when the sold-out audience began shouting “a long, long time ago” in unison – I knew I’d be back.
The audience is something special and to be honest, they’re probably my favorite cast member of the show. I remember standing in the lobby, at my first show, looking around at all the costumes these people came up with and thinking “this is something I want to do all the time.” There were too many people to count and I didn’t even know them, but we were all there for the same reason – to goof off. I looked at Denise, my then fiancé, and thought to myself, “I’m so glad she brought me to this.”

This is important. Remember this.

While we were dating, Denise made me watch this movie. I didn’t really understand it, but I liked the music. Every so often, she would yell out something at the screen and I would laugh and think it was pretty clever. She went to a shadow cast in her hometown once and she always wanted to go back. I promised her that, eventually, we would find one together and she could show me what I’ve been missing.

But we had to wait. THIS IS THE WORST PART.

I knew there were shows at Morgantown while I was in college. Sometimes, I had a group of friends that were planning on going – but I refused. I had to wait until I could go with Denise. We had to go together. I couldn’t experience this awesome show without her. If you’re wondering on why I couldn’t just take her with us is because we found each other, even while being miles apart. She lived seven hours away, with her being in North Carolina and myself here in Pennsylvania. (This won’t go into detail on how we ended up together, but I bet that timeline is somewhere online on my “not-so-dead” journal.) I tell myself every day that I’m glad we’re no longer dating because it was literally the worst part of our relationship. We had our phone conversations, and we had our online game playing, and I would visit her as often as I was able (which was maybe only three to five times a year.) But, those visits ended. I had to drive away. The worst feeling you can get is seeing the person you love the most in your rear view mirror and not knowing the next time you’ll get to be next to them or hold their hand. Seriously, think about a person you care about more than anything and imagine yourself just being connected by a cellphone for months at a time. I cannot watch people say goodbye in film or television anymore because it reminds me of what we used to go through.  All we could do was wait until our lives were able to be brought together.​

Oh. Wait. I’m onto something

Denise has social anxiety. It’s hard for her to be in social situations and I try to let her know that her feelings are valid and nothing will push me away. Awesomely though, when she’s sitting at a Rocky show, she can open up a little bit. She will scream with the rest of us, dance with the rest of us, and be a goof with the rest of us. It makes me incredibly happy that people can see a little piece of what I get to witness every single day. She prefers to stay in the shadows, but Rocky provides a little bit of light for her and she will embrace it.
So now we watch Rocky together at every showing the JCCP does. I work crew duties, and she yells her callbacks with the audience while we watch an amazing cast and an amazing crew do an amazing show.

I got it. I figured it out.

I couldn’t write “my Rocky story” because I don’t have one. It’s not just about me. It’s about the cast, and the crew, and the audience, and Denise.

It’s “our Rocky story.”

This is what Rocky is about. It’s a community of people who can get together, not be judged by who they are, or where they came from – you just exist in the ninety minutes of this classic movie. But, we all know this. We’ve seen this been spoken about before. It might be cliché, but it’s the fucking truth. I’ll say it again, there isn’t any group of people I’m more glad to call my friends.

They make me dance.

When Denise and I started going out, I lost a lot of weight. I was more determined back then and probably did some things I shouldn’t have and eventually got too skinny and then eventually gained my weight back. But, I showed a picture of my skinny-self to a cast member. I thought to myself, “Yeah, I looked so good back then. I hate myself now and I wish I could go back to that. I hope this person says something positive about this picture so I can maybe get back at it.” This person looked at my picture and said, “I like this Steve better.” And that’s when I knew I could slowly stop caring about my looks. I could stop thinking that people were watching me all the time and judging me negatively. I was just a person to these people, not just a bunch of fat.

It could have been different.

I remember one Halloween night when I was in my early teens, I was at my dad’s and I was sleeping. It was about 11:00 and he woke me up asking me if I wanted to go to Rocky Horror. I told him, “Shut up, I’m trying to sleep.” I asked him the next morning about it because I didn’t know anything about it. I told myself that maybe it was something I could try someday.I wonder what kind of story I would have if I would have went that night; however, I prefer the way it happened and I won’t take anything back. “Our Rocky story” is still being completed – there is a long way to go and we’re nowhere near closing this book.

Now what?

I’m looking at this document and now I’m wondering on how to end it. It’s going to be very difficult to end “our Rocky story.” It’s something I don’t want to ever happen.

So I won’t.

Cast Blog: Calipornia

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

CaliporniaOne time, I asked Chris Evans’ mom on a date. Another time I made someone laugh so hard they almost died. Sometimes I also shadow cast the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Let me go back (to what seems like forever to me) to when I was 14. Rocky Horror was playing at The Oaks during Halloween, and I sort of just stumbled into it. I had no idea what to expect, and I’d never even seen the movie before (but I did do a half assed Brad costume). Being a virgin in a Halloween crowd is electrifying, let me tell you. The whole night was a blur and I had no idea what had just happened but I knew that I had to be a part of this. I wish I could tell you that I had a calling to join cast that very night, but the audience is what dragged me in. I was absolutely amazed at all these precisely times jokes in sync with the movie. All my life I’ve been a bit of a comedian. I have very distant memories of being two or three and cracking jokes to make my fellow preschoolers laugh. Not having very many friends going through middle school and high school, I always used humor as a bit of a way to be like “Hey guys! Remember I’m here!”. After telling a joke, you know you’re friends with that person for at least thirty seconds. So seeing the audience land a good joke in of a crowd of 300 something made me know that Rocky was the place I belonged.

After this one beyond perfect night, Rocky was gone. At that point, the JCCP didn’t have regular showings. And I was already hooked. I got the DVD for Christmas and watched it every single night religiously. Not only that, but I read every single AP (audience participation) script I could find on the Internet- which is a lot, by the way. I was armed and ready with call backs with no Rocky Show to do it at. Nearly a whole year passed before I would be able to see Rocky in a theater again. Around September of the next year, I finally found Rocky again. It was playing at The Hollywood Theater in Dormont. I dragged my friend this time, now dressed as Magenta to go see the movie I loved with all of my heart. There were about four people in the audience that night. The audience was so dead in fact that Lady Tramp (who was playing Magenta that night) dragged me up on stage during the movie to do the Time Warp.

Thankfully, the JCCP had gotten their regular shows back. I went to every single show. Every single show for years. I’ve missed one show in the entire five years I’ve been going to see this movie. I was debating every since I started going regularly if I wanted to join cast. I wasn’t (and still aren’t, to be completely honest) much of an actor. Plus, after watching the same people act out this movie to perfection for four years (at that point) it makes you a little nervous to join. But I pushed through and got an audition anyway. I auditioned as Riff, and I’ll be the first one to tell you that it was absolutely terrible. I was a nervous wreck. Somehow, the cast decided to take pity on me, and voted me into full cast.

When I auditioned it was just a few short weeks before the Halloween shows- which everyone know is basically Rocky Christmas. So right after my audition, Sideburns approached me and asked to speak to me outside. When outside, she told me that they were short a Janet for the big Saturday Halloween show and asked me if I would be able to do it. I agreed, even though I was about throw up at that point. I stumbled my way through my first group rehearsal ever AND as a main character but I was determined to at least do well on stage. Those weeks leading up to the Halloween show, I basically lived at Sideburn’s house. I was over there every other day rehearsing Janet. I wish I could tell you that when the big Halloween show came, I blew it out of the water and was the best Janet there ever was up on The Hollywood’s stage. But I was just okay. However, I did make Shpadoinkle, who was my Brad break character and laugh during the show.

At that point in my life I was in high school. Like everyone else in high school, I had absolutely horrible self esteem, and body image. Couple that with the stress and you don’t exactly get a great combination. During middle school and high school, I was on the cross country team and track team. I was never the best on the team. I peaked during my 8th grade season and just start slowing down after that. With all my teammates passing me up, I wanted to be just as fast as them. Sometime around this point was when I start getting really bad anxiety. Something about not being the top ten like I used to be in 8th grade was driving me crazy. I would cry from being so anxious both before practice, and after. It was getting so bad to the point that if I knew I had to run a race my body would just shut down. I was already so exhausted from thinking about the possibility of having a panic attack. My junior year, I had panic attack so bad over a race, I just quit on the spot. The year and a half away from cross country, coupled with Rocky really helped me with getting my anxiety to a (somewhat) manageable level.

Unfortunately, my my negative body image hasn’t improved much since high school. You might be wondering “Hey, Calipornia, why do I never seen any pictures of you on JCCP’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Youtube or MySpace?”. I have, and I will be upset for hours after seeing a picture of me on one of the social media sites. The combination of my face, body and over all being in pictures (or videos) has, and will have me crying for ridiculous periods of time coupled with self hatred. If you’re an audience member- I know what you’re thinking. “If you hate pictures of yourself so much, Calipornia then why do you go around taking selfies with half the audience?” And I would tell you this, dear audience member, that a selfie is a controlled pictures of myself. I get to have fun with an audience member while angling out a certain part of myself that I don’t like, or making a really ugly face just to make a point. If you ask me to take a full body pictures I will probably integrally cringe. However, Rocky- which has been with me during so many up and downs in my life has this magical quality to it. I don’t know what it is, but on any given Rocky Saturday (or, Friday) I can look in the mirror and think I’m best goddamn thing on this Earth. Something about Rocky Saturdays make me somehow more beautiful. I’m so proud of myself that I can strip in front of a crowd as Trixie or lose all my clothes as Magenta and be wearing the world’s most see through sheer and feel incredibly confident in myself in the moment. That’s why you’ll see me mostly likely see me running through the crowd proclaiming that I’m the cutest cast member there ever was, because right then I am.

For everything Rocky has helped me do in my life, it also manages to get me into some of the most embarrassing situations imaginable. This would not be a Calipornia blog, if I didn’t mention the time I got into a fight with Stephen Chosbsky. For a short while between when I first saw Rocky at the Hollywood and when I first joined cast- the Hollywood lost the ability to show the movie. It was about five months (I think). During those five months, I was obviously upset and missing Rocky terribly. There is absolutely nothing like seeing Rocky Horror at The Hollywood Theater. (Trust me, I’ve been to see plenty of other casts and theaters.) Rocky at The Hollywood is so special, in fact, that Stephen Chosbsky wrote about it in his award winning novel; The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Showing Rocky at this particular theater is so incredible that not only did he chose to write about it, but when filming the movie they also chose to film the Rocky scenes at The Hollywood. One day, a year or so after Perks of a Being a Wallflower had completed filming, Stephen decided to tweet how wonderful the Hollywood was and how you should donate to keep this beautiful theater up and running. This is where I decide it would be a great idea to tweet at Stephen Chosbsky ten times in a row. They were all different, very mean tweets but the general summary was “If you love Rocky, and The Hollywood so much- then why aren’t you donating to help bring it back?”. Since I was basically harassing Stephen Chosbsy, a wonderful man who mean so much to the Rocky community over Twitter, he then tweeted me back a nasty message saying how he was doing all that he could. Flash forward to Halloween 2014. I was in cast at this point and Stephen Chosbsy decided to come visit The Hollywood for a Rocky show. Arm and prepared with the tweets printed out, I shyly approached Stephen Chosbsy. I apologized for interrupting him, but told him there was something I wanted him to sign. After looking over the piece of paper with the tweets printed on them for a moment, he looked back up at me and said “I remember you. I really am doing all that I can to help this theater.” Of course this story has a happy ending. I wouldn’t tell you all this if Stephen Chosbsy still hated me. We made up and promised to best friends forever. He also promised to follow me on Twitter. (Which he did not. But you should. Follow me on Twitter.)

My signed Twitter fight with Stephen Chobsy is just the tip of the iceberg to my Rocky collection. I might get into a fight with some of my fellow cast members, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that my Rocky collection is one of the most extensive in our cast. A few highlight of my Rocky (and Shock Treatment) collection include, a film strip taken from a Tim Curry music video (Thank you Kevin!), a Shock Treatment Canadian release poster, and a whole display of Rocky trading cards. If I were to name all everything in my collection, I would be typing all day. This isn’t to say I have the biggest collection in the whole world, because I am far from that. But I sure do have a heck of a lot of stuff. With that said, I am an expert on this million dollar movie (that’s right, the budget for this movie was about 1 million dollars- Rocky fun fact for the day). So next time you see me be sure to come test my knowledge or at least ask me about it so I can tell you a fun Rocky fact. It’s what I do best.

Any one out in our audience should never be afraid to come talk to me (or anyone else in our cast for that matter) about Rocky. At least for me, it’s the thing I love the most. I always want to talk about it. I know when I was an audience member, I was slightly intimidated by this group of people. Shadow casting seemed pretty glamorous from the sidelines. Now being in cast, however- I can promise you it’s not all sparkly sequins. You know the Time Warp, right? Obviously you do, audience member. You’ve seen the movie (if you haven’t- drop everything you’re doing and buy tickets to our show). The song that goes “jump to the left, step to the right”? It all seems pretty easy. Just follow the directions that the sing in the song. Right? Wrong. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve rehearsed that Time Warp. And I’m not even talking about the times I’ve been either Riff or Magenta. Transylvanians (or, as we call them ‘Transies’) rehearse the Time Warp like crazy. There have more than a couple shows where I was Captain of the Transies and messaged everyone that was a Transie that week a 10 page list of the dance movies and costuming. You wouldn’t even believe how much work goes into one show behind the scenes. I can assure you; everything that we present on stage has taken a lot of blood, sweat, tears, glitter and hot glue to put together. So you damn well better clap for us.

One of my favorite quote of all time is from Sal Piro (president of The Rocky Horror Fanclub, and was in the first Rocky shadow cast- like, ever). He said shadow casting this movie is like making love to it. I honestly believe that. This is the greatest movie of all times and it speaks to all kind of different people in all kinds of different situations. So, remember that next time you’re sitting in the audience- or even shadow casting it, if any of my fellow cast is reading this, we’re part of this really special odd thing. It’s been going strong for 40 years, and we’re gonna keep it that way. Punch a wall, be hilarious, and always remember the rule; “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong”.

 

Delete this,

xoxoxox Calipornia

 

Cast Blog: Lady Tramp

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Lady TrampHello, Earthlings. I’m Lady Tramp, and I guess it’s time for me to tell yinz my story. I’ve got to be honest: I’ve stressed a lot about writing this blog. There’s so much to say, and it seems important to get it right.

Prologue: Baby Thespian

I grew up in New Kensington. Rocky Horror came into my life just a few weeks after I turned eighteen; at the time, I was an awkward, post-punk, burgeoning burnout of a half-gay baby thespian with Bohemian sympathies who couldn’t even fit in with the drama club.

Suffice it to say I was a weird kid, okay? Stuck in a town that boasted at least one bar and one church per downtown block (but almost nothing else), I was surrounded by a distasteful mixture of geriatric drug addicts and stuck-up middle-class PTA moms and I was asphyxiating.

So one night, my (two remaining) friends made me watch this stupid fucking movie with them and then begged me to drive them to Oakmont to see it…live? Ish? The movie didn’t make any sense to me at all, but…well, did you read the above paragraph? I was just excited to breathe anywhere else’s air.

I owe those two friends a lot for dragging me to The Oaks that night.

Before I even entered the theater, I knew that these were my kind of people. As we approached the doors, someone broke off from the cluster of people from whom a billowing cloud of tobacco smoke was erupting: a blonde girl in a purple suit flounced up to us with a cigarette in one hand and a tube of lipstick in the other. This girl was cute as a button and obviously in the cast (I was pretty sure she was supposed to be Janet), but she obviously had some pleasantly rough edges to go along with her sweet, bubbly manner. In case you’re wondering, this was none other than a baby Mighty Mouse (you know, the cute blonde one who plays Frank and always shows the audience her butt).

Anyway, she asked if any of us were “virgins,” and of course I knew that I was, although I wasn’t sure how that was going to be remedied. I proudly received my “V” and entered the theater.

It was ridiculous. People were running around in all manner of garb, from jeans and T-shirts to sparkly lingerie to just plain underwear. Cast members were shouting at each other across the theater. People were dancing, yelling, laughing, cursing, drinking.

My first thought was, I need to be a part of this. Where the fuck do I sign up?

That was on April 2nd, 2011. I joined the cast at their very next meeting.

Act I. A Hot Mess

For the next year and a half, I threw myself into the JCCP with utter abandon. I never missed a show, rehearsal, or meeting, even if it meant calling off of work. I spent a lot of my time at what we called “El Casa de Estrogen,” where resided three members of cast and where a lot of my best memories take place. I attended zombie walks and cast “family” dinners. I danced and grinned and Time Warped. I learned how to sew and do stage makeup. I traveled to Kentucky for a Rocky Horror convention. I was consumed.

This was, undoubtedly, where I belonged. Here, I was not only accepted for all of my quirks, but they were appreciated. I’d walked into a world where people of all shapes and sizes ran around in their underwear and received massive rounds of applause for it. In this world, the conversations ranged from raunchy to intellectual to personal, sometimes all in the space of one afternoon.

My new family was incredible. An eclectic mix of millennials, the cast as I knew it during the first leg of my Rocky journey consisted mostly of twenty-somethings with a deep love of all things weird. Most of them were, quite contentedly, living in apartments with roommates and working random jobs to support their various hobbies. Some were college students or graduates, but others were dropouts like me or had skipped it altogether. I was floored. They were all so free.    And as I made the transition from a horny self-professed spitfire of a rookie into a real, functioning JCCP member, I started to find myself a place in this wonderful group of headcases.

Real life was tossing me around like a pinball at the time (that’s way too long of a story), but the JCCP provided for me a home, a sense of constancy, friends, support, fun, and fulfillment. I was making huge mistakes in my own life, but within the cast I was starting to gain some ground. Near the beginning of 2012, I played Columbia for the first time. Although I’d been having fun playing Magenta and Janet up until then, Columbia was excitable, passionate, and fucking sparkly. The role, even then, was comfortable for me in a way that felt like sliding into your favorite jeans. Or your favorite fishnet stockings. Tip-tapping around the stage in a sequined bustier was more fun than I’d ever had at Rocky before, and all of my castmates agreed that I had truly fit well into the role; to this day, Columbia is by far my favorite role to play. It was also in 2012 that I started directing shows sometimes. For those who might be wondering, we do rehearse and we vote in two directors per month who team up to make up cast lists and coordinate rehearsals and such things.

2012 was a long year. We had a ton of specialty shows that year in addition to our regular shows. In March, we had a Rocky/Shocky double feature; in April, we put on a Redux show (look that shit up if you didn’t see it; there are pictures on our Facebook page); in June, we had a “gender bender” show; in July, a Batman-themed show and our trip to Kentucky; in September, Stephen fucking Chbosky just happened to stop by our show (video of that also exists, methinks); a pirate-themed show capped it off. We also underwent a huge shift in our cast’s government—and, like any group of friends, we had our share of personal tiffs and dramas to fill the interim between shows.

And then, suddenly….

Intermission. Ghosts

…we lost Rocky.

20th Century Fox very rudely changed their copyright laws or something (I’m no fucking lawyer, okay?) and The Hollywood Theater could no longer screen Rocky Horror, or any number of other Fox movies, in DVD or Blu-Ray format. That left either actual film, which I understand is not easy to come by; or digital projection. A digital projector costs, like, my yearly income (not that that’s saying much, harhar). Nonprofit single-screen movie theaters do not, unfortunately, have my yearly income just lying around, and so began the JCCP’s Rocky hiatus.

I won’t lie to you—some of us (yes, including me) sulked over it for a while. Still, we had been going balls-to-the-wall for over a year, and the break was much-needed. Besides, this opened up some seriously cool opportunities to shadowcast other movies. That sort of thing is much easier to pull off when you’re not scheduling around Rocky shows as well. When all was said and done, we were going to make the best of our break and support the theater’s fundraising efforts as best we could. We lined up dates to shadowcast Clue, Reefer Madness, Grease (kind of), and Cry Baby.

Now, I wish that I could tell you that my enthusiasm only increased as the months went by. I wish I could tell you that I was an integral part of getting Rocky back and making the most of things in the meantime.  That was not the case, though.

Unfortunately, I had a lot of fuck-ups to correct, a lot of debt to pay, and a lot of healing to do after almost two years of chaos. So, around the beginning of 2013, I started to distance myself from cast. I still showed up to meetings, rehearsals, and shows, but that was the only time I ever spent around my JCCP friends. I had to throw myself into work to repay my student loans and I had (reluctantly) dragged my sorry ass back to New Kensington to move back in with my parents. I like to think I was a big part of Reefer Madness 2013–I helped to shape up the hardest choreography we’ve ever done—but I faded into the background after that. Some of the cast still remembers it as the time that Lady Tramp disappeared for like six months.

(Seriously, watch Reefer Madness. Not the old black-and-white one, the newer one starring Fabulous Floop from Spy Kids and Sarah Marshall and a kid with really cute dimples. Great movie.)

We finally got Rocky back in July of 2013. And I got back to Rocky near the end of that year; in fact, I remember talking to Sideburns at our Halloween show (it was the last show we did at the Oaks, incidentally) about missing the cast and wanting to become more active again now that I’d finally found a semi-comfortable groundwork to put my feet on.

It took a few months, but I started to make the JCCP a priority again.

Act II.

So, to sum it up, Lady Tramp came running back with her tail between her legs, and of course, it was a while before I was voted back in to direct any shows. 2014 passed by in a blur as I put my best foot forward: I helped with the dance corps again during Reefer Madness that year. I played as many new characters as I could and tried to perfect the ones I’d already played. I put more effort into my costumes, and eventually, I was back in the JCCP’s good graces.

It was in 2015 that I really started to come into myself (four years later, jeez). For those who don’t know, Reefer Madness is my all-time favorite movie, and I love every second of the grueling rehearsal process for such a difficult show. It’s a great challenge and extremely rewarding when it goes well. And in 2015, I was honored to be voted in as a director for Reefer. I threw myself into it like I’d never done before. I typed up at least a bazillion blocking scripts (fucking blocking scripts; if you’ve never made one, DON’T). We had dance rehearsals at least once a week, and while I was worried that my enthusiasm wouldn’t be shared, I’m very proud to say that the dance corps and the whole rest of the cast really showed a lot of motivation and pride in the work we did on Reefer.

Oh, I can’t believe that I almost forgot to mention this, but I also landed the role of Jimmy in Reefer this year! I’ve never played such a difficult role. This role was like a long-distance sprint over multiple terrains. My pants tore twice with the enthusiasm of my many long, mindless humping sequences. This kid is on fire throughout the whole show and he’s pretty much on-screen the whole time. When the movie opens, he’s a naïve sixteen-year-old falling in puppy love with a little All-American girl with blonde curls and eyes the size of dinner plates; Jimmy Harper might as well be in a Mickey Mouse cartoon for all his bouncy, animated movements and lightning-quick expression changes. Through the careful application of marijuana (“America’s new drug menace”), Jimmy turns into a twitchy, sex-crazed reefer fiend who guilt-hallucinates a show tune starring Jesus and Joan of Arc. Ultimately, he becomes a zombie and then is saved from execution by Franklin D. Roosevelt, with whom he then shares a really long musical number about how propaganda will save the country.

(Seriously, this movie is gold.)

Reefer Madness 2015 is the crowning jewel of my achievements in cast thus far. The show wasn’t perfect and there is infinite room for improvement, but what fun would it be if there weren’t? The point is, I rehearsed and rallied and typed and scheduled and literally, at one point, bled for this show until it was really fucking awesome. Not perfect, not professional-grade, but fun as hell and something to be extremely proud of.

It was at the end of April that I was voted in—unanimously!—as the cast’s treasurer. This job is not easy, people. I’m entrusted with the cast’s funds and merchandise, and the fact that it’s such a difficult job only drives me more. You’ll see me at the merchandise table during shows, selling T-shirts, bondage bears, prop bags, toilet paper, stickers, and my soul on occasion; I’m responsible for making and acquiring all of those items and for making sure that they sell well. Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming, but it’s a big responsibility and I am humbled to know that I’m trusted with such an important job.

This past weekend, I played Riff-Raff for the first time. This role was a huge deal for me, personally, and I have to say I was blown away by the support of my fellow cast members and the audience. This was a role that I could never have envisioned myself playing, when I first joined the cast. I’m a very showy actor (had you noticed?) and it’s hard for me to break myself of the toe-pointing, “dancy” aspects of Columbia that drew me to play her in the first place. But I’ve grown so much as an actor in the past four years, and I’m proud of my performance. I can’t wait to play Riff again. He’s completely out of my comfort zone, and I’m looking to change that.

If you’d told me four years ago that I would be the JCCP’s treasurer, directing and starring in our most difficult production, playing the huge variety of roles that I have with the cast, I wouldn’t have believed you. I wouldn’t have thought I could pull off Jimmy or Riff-Raff or even Brad, for that matter, or that anyone would ever trust me with cast funds. But here we are, and I couldn’t be more excited to be standing where I am.

Epilogue. Time Meant Nothing, Never Would Again

No one outside of the Rocky community and a few friends of mine understands why I put so much time, effort, and money into the JCCP. I’ve stressed and bitched and moaned and spent really egregious amounts of money on costuming. But that’s the thing, you guys. You get out of something what you put into it. You can’t walk around demanding payment for services not even rendered yet. You give first, you show what you’re made of and how much more you can grow, and then you deliver. And at that point, it doesn’t matter what money you’ve received for it or how many awards you got. People will start to see you for how great you are, because you’ll have shown them. And you’ll have shown yourself.

I joined cast thinking that I needed to choose a predetermined path—whichever I wanted. Then I had to follow it as it was laid out in front of me. That was life: a straight line between birth and death.

NO.

Here’s the most important thing that the JCCP taught me.

Life is not built around a standardized set of life occurrences. Life is about being happy and fulfilled and you can have that, no matter how you choose to obtain it. Don’t let anybody tell you that your seashell collection is stupid. Make as many cat memes as you want. Love football and musical theater in equal parts and get good at them, devote all of your time to them. Look back and remember how shitty you used to be at the piano and thank your deities that you dropped that early on in favor of building dollhouses. Go to work, but just enough so that you can buy glitter glue for your scrapbooks.

And for the love of God, do not be afraid to challenge yourself.

I’m still learning these lessons every day. I still limit myself all the time; I can be my own worst enemy. But that isn’t fair to me. I’ve thankfully surrounded myself with an enormously talented, encouraging, compassionate group of people and sometimes, I can’t believe I’m one of them (let alone one of their leaders). When I doubt myself, I can count on my friends, my castmates, to push me, believe in me, inspire me, and love me even when I fuck up.

By the way, at this time, I’ve played Brad, Janet, Riff-Raff, Magenta, Columbia, Rocky, Eddie, the Criminologist, Dr. Scott, Trixie, and a Transylvanian.

That leaves one more role.

Cast Blog: Pretty Pony

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Pretty PonyHey there! Pretty Pony here and it’s time I tell you lovely folks a bit about myself and my experiences with the JCCP. I discovered Rocky when I was 15. A close friend of mine showed me the movie one night and a few weeks later we ventured to the JCCP’s old home, The Oaks. I loved everything about it. We started going to every show and bringing friends. We even went as far to sneak out of our semi dance early to catch a show (seriously why lock a bunch of kids in a school until 11:30pm?), and I celebrated my 18th birthday with a Rocky at the Hollywood.

I moved to college in Ohio. I caught some shows in Cincinnati. It was still a lot of fun, but I missed the JCCP, The Hollywood, and Pittsburgh. All throughout high school I was that kid that couldn’t wait to move far away. I never thought I would miss the city or anything about it except for my pets, but I was wrong. I didn’t realize how much Rocky meant to me until I was away from it. I came back home after a semester and resumed my trips to the Hollywood. Part of me wanted to join cast, but the other part of me was scared. You see I was a weird kid growing up. I didn’t have many friends and I really didn’t fit in anywhere. I would talk to people, but I wasn’t close to anyone. I was pretty much a loner, save for a couple friends. I had also had a really rough time while away at college. I had not made a single friend at the school, and it was pretty clear some of the girls on my floor only hung out with me because they felt bad for me. This really hit my confidence hard and made me realize I had some social anxiety. I was content to just be an audience member for now.

That changed in August 2014. 5 years after experiencing Rocky for the first time. I decided I was sick of being timid and auditioned for cast. Since coming back from college all of my old friends and I had grown apart. Most of them moved away to attend college, and I lost contact with the few that stayed. It seemed like I was always the one to start the conversation and make plans. I thought I was annoying them so eventually I would text them less and less and eventually stopped. I figured if they wanted to talk to me they would. Spoiler alert 99% of them didn’t, so I would spend my days working, doing class work, riding my horse, and playing Sims. The only time I really went out was to go to Rocky. I finally mustered up the guts to join cast. I sent an email and set everything up.

The day of the meeting that I was invited to I was so nervous. I almost emailed them and said something came up, but then I realized; this was an opportunity to branch out and meet new people. Before the meeting people were actually talking to me and seemed interested to hold a conversation. I will spare the details because frankly I was so nervous they are kind of blurry, but I was welcomed into the JCCP family with open arms. My first few shows were pretty nerve-wracking, and the first time I played Janet I thought the spot light would hit me and I would forget everything and just fall over. The other members of the cast were super patient and didn’t mind my million and ten questions, which is what I tend to do when I am nervous. I will never forget how happy I was after that show. Yeah, I messed up a few times, but the audience still enjoyed it and I had a blast.

Now, almost a year after joining cast, I can say this was one of the best decisions I have made. I am a part of group that is family. The support from the cast and our audience is amazing. Hearing someone cheer after a floorshow routine, or having someone compliment you on something can make you feel awesome about yourself and can really help boost your self-confidence. Joining the JCCP has also gotten me to experience Pittsburgh in a whole new way, and has taught me some new things as well. I have

gotten a lot better at parallel parking, I don’t get lost around the city as much, and I finally figured out the T. I also get to hang out with a pretty great group of people pretty often.

I am still pretty shy and awkward sometimes, especially during the dance party, but I am very slowly working on coming around and trying to become less socially awkward. In some ways I still feel like that weird, not so attractive, loser I was in high school, but then I remember with the help of my JCCP family that I am pretty cool person. So, if you see me milling around don’t be afraid to come say hi. I promise I’m not mean and I don’t bite.

Overall, joining the JCCP was my way of trying to branch out and make new friends that I would actually fit in with for once. It also gave me a chance to get out of my house and do more, and majorly boosted my self-confidence. The JCCP has been so great, and I don’t think I can put into words how happy I am to have a group of people that are so wonderful and accepting in my life.

Much love,

Pretty Pony

Cast Blog: Ponyboy

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

PonyboyI’m laying on the box with just a thin veil separating me from the world.  It’s the first moment I’ve had to let reality sink in.  I’m about to perform a big character on stage for the first time in my entire life.  All eyes are going to be on me and I’m terrified.  My heart is pounding against my ribcage begging to explode out of my chest.  My hands are trembling as I raise them, not because I’m acting, but because I am scared beyond reasonable explanation.  I start performing and the crowd cheers.  The fears begin to melt away and I am fully absorbed in the scene.  I’m Rocky and people love it.  People love ME!

My name is Ponyboy and I am one of the babies of the JCCP.  Compared to the rest of the cast I am the newest addition.  But not once have I felt like I wasn’t a part of this insanity.  From the moment I auditioned, the cast took me in and I’ve never made such amazing friends so quickly.  I don’t have nearly as much experience in cast or the Rocky world as some of the other cast members and blog writers have.  But in my short time with Rocky my life has changed quite a bit.

Flashback to when I was fifteen.  I had never seen Rocky Horror before but had been tipped off that it was being performed in Oakland.  Being the horror-obsessed teen that I was, I figured I had to go see it.  I lied about being 18 when I went in because I thought I’d be kicked out otherwise.  Keep in mind I knew nothing about the movie, so I brought along my then-girlfriend, who was my polar opposite.  She was incredibly innocent and not really a fan of highly sexual content.  As you can imagine, my first experience with Rocky was chaotic and awkward but I would not have it any other way.  And to this day I feel the best way to be introduced to Rocky is being thrown in head first with no warning.

It took me several years before I went back and saw the show performed again.  This time it was back at the JCCP’s home at The Hollywood.  Its not that i didn’t want to see the show again, I just kind of forgot about it.  But when I finally got around to seeing it again it was during a low point in my life.  I had just gotten out of a long relationship that didn’t quite end all that well.  And I was now a Freshman in college and didn’t really have a strong network of friends yet.  After seeing Rocky a second time I found myself returning show after show, dragging along new virgins each time.  As any Rocky diehard can tell you, it became addicting and eventually it dawned on me why.  I felt at home at Rocky.

While I can’t really say I was picked on or bullied in my youth, or that I had any really rough upbringing, I can say that there are plenty of times where I just don’t really feel like myself.  I’m kind of a boring person.  But when i was at a Rocky show I got to be a version of me that I couldn’t be in real life.  I got to dress crazy, and wear makeup, and contacts, and act like I was a rockstar despite having no talent.

But “like every serial killer already knew: eventually fantasizing just doesn’t do it for you anymore.”  With a bit of persuasion from friends who knew me well, I contacted the JCCP and joined cast and it’s been an amazing ride since.

Being a young adult, I’ve spent the majority of my life working towards things that’ll come later.  Get good grades so you can get into a good college so you can get a degree so you can get a job.  Not many of my actions and life choices have had immediate gratification or impact.  It’s always been working towards a “someday.”  For the first time in my life I have something I’m a part of that makes me really enjoy life right now.  Every month I have shows, and when I’m not doing shows I’m preparing for shows, or just spending time with these amazing people that I never would have met otherwise.  Everyone in cast is incredibly talented and unique and just amazing individuals.  They are crazy supportive and that’s where being a part of this has really had an impact.

After every performance, no matter how small my role has been, someone has said something good about me and every kind word means the world to me.  Feeling like I’m good at something and that I’m useful has been such a major boost to my confidence and I’m finally starting to become comfortable in my skin.  I’m proud of who I am, and what I do and I actually feel like I’m good at something!

I know this blog hasn’t really been too informative, but I just don’t have as much experience to talk about.  But for the few months I’ve been involved in this I have never felt happier to be a part of anything.  All of my coworkers and colleagues are probably sick of me pestering them to come see this show but I couldn’t care less.

I guess I never really grew out of my love for being an audience member because dance party is still my favorite part of the show.  As anyone who’s seen me in action can attest, I love grabbing people from the crowd and forcing them to dance.  I want everyone to get a chance to lose themselves in the fun and insanity that is Rocky and if that means you get to grind on a weird cast member then lucky you!  When I’m Ponyboy I love talking to people so don’t hesitate to say “hi” or ask for a picture.  I’m an attention whore and will literally love every second of it!  I know that sometimes we can seem intimidating but we’re all really nice people and we love you all because without you guys we would literally be doing this for nothing.

In summary, Rocky has been a huge influence on my own self worth.  I feel confident.  I feel proud of who I am.  I feel useful.  I feel talented.  And I feel downright sexy!

 

Stay Gold,

Ponyboy

Cast Blog: Snare Drum

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Snare DrumOn stage is the only place where I really know what I’m doing.” John Belushi said that but I think it also describes me pretty well. I used to be on stage a lot when I was growing up, I was a hard core dancer. I’ve always been a ball of anxiety but when I was on a stage, it didn’t matter. Dancing was my life but when I was about thirteen my joints started to act up. It was later found that I had/have Fibromyalgia. I had to quit all dancing and let my legs rest. However, little Snare Drum was miserable at the time; I didn’t have any idea what to do without dance! That’s where Rocky comes into play.

See, I watched musicals and was mesmerized by them. All the costumes, choreography, and music let me escape from real life. My parents mentioned that there was this show I’d probably really like called the Rocky Horror Picture Show. They underestimated me, I fell in love. I watched it over and over again. When I saw Susan Sarandon as Janet, it just felt right. She was always the good girl but then she got to open up and be “bad”. I wanted to be her more than anything else.

I found out that there was a group in Pittsburgh who acted out the movie. After plenty of begging, I attended my first Junior Chamber of Commerce Players show on my fifteenth birthday. Everyone looked so happy and pretty, dancing around the stage. That night I told myself that when I was old enough, I’d be one of them.

Since then I’ve gone through plenty of health scares, but Rocky always got me through. I took my beat-up cd of the Roxy cast with me to every appointment I had. I’d listen to it on the way there and coming back home. When I was allowed, I even listened to it while I had tests done. Even when it got really rough I’d tell myself, “Rocky. Get this done and there will be Rocky.” Boy, did that work. Right after my eighteenth birthday I auditioned for the JCCP and now I’m back on stage, doing what I love with amazing people. They’re the best group of friends anyone could ask for. The members of the JCCP have taught me so much about Rocky. They’ve also been caring and loving, you could even call us a family.

This movie is my escape. I still constantly deal with pain, fatigue, and a slew of other symptoms. I have Rocky though. The characters I play aren’t disabled (no Dr. Scott jokes) so when I’m in character I can forget about my health problems and just act. Snare Drum is my favorite person to be.

Love, Snare Drum