Dormont movie theater aghast at loss of 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'
The Hollywood Theater in Dormont is showing “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” no more — at least until it raises money for digital equipment.
The cult classic horror-musical, with its audience participation and fully costumed re-enactors, for years drew the Junior Chamber of Commerce Players as a “shadow cast” for “Rocky Horror,” acting out scenes from the 1975 movie as they unfolded on screen.
“A lot of us are working adults and we get to escape that every other weekend, to break away from reality for a little bit,” said Samantha Swope, the group's president. “You hit that stage and you're surrounded by so much admiration, so much enjoyment.”
But copyright issues and older projection equipment forced the theater to end its twice-monthly midnight screenings beginning in January.
The Junior Chamber representatives have vowed they “will do whatever they can to help us raise the funds for us to go digital,” said Chad Hunter, managing director of the Hollywood. “Their intention is to stay here until we do.”
The theater showed “Rocky Horror” on Blu-ray under a deal with Criterion Motion Pictures, but the company no longer would represent movies owned by Fox, including “Rocky Horror.” Fox doesn't allow the movie's showing unless a theater uses the latest digital distribution and projection equipment, Hunter said.
Through its “Go Digital or Go Dark” campaign, the theater is trying to raise $75,000 for a projector and computer system, technology that is replacing Blu-ray discs and 35 mm film, which are more susceptible to piracy.
“When I broke it to the cast, it really hit everybody hard,” said Swope, 28, of Bellevue. “But then it became, ‘We won't let this happen.' People aren't going to go quietly into the night.”
According to the Junior Chamber's website, the group dates to the 1980s, when the phenomenon of shadow-casting the movie came from New York to the old King's Court Theater in Oakland. As theaters opened, closed and reopened under different owners, the performances moved to the Hollywood in the 1990s, though there were stints back in Oakland and at other theaters in Squirrel Hill, Oakmont and Morgantown.
When the Hollywood reopened in 2011, the Junior Chamber players converted its basement into rehearsal space, storage for costumes and props, and a clubhouse for more than 20 regular cast and crew members. United by a love of the movie and the fun of its manic performances, cast members come from as far away as Zelienople or as near as an apartment down the street.
“It's become like our second home,” Swope said. “It's quaint; it's not some big, cold theater.”
To help with the fundraising, cast members are telling family, friends, and shadow casts in other communities, Swope said. Though the Hollywood can't show the movie, the cast will perform a “blackout show” on Jan. 5, acting along with the soundtrack but without a picture. In February they'll shadow-cast “Clue,” and later may do other films such as the “Rocky Horror” sequel “Shock Treatment.”
“We want to do whatever we can to make sure that the Hollywood thrives, and thrives with ‘Rocky,' ” Swope said.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh police deliver 2,500 Thanksgiving meals through program
- Carrick crime ‘blitz’ shows early signs of success
- Alpine touring skiing movement faces uphill climb in Western Pa.
- Century Inn owner hopes to reopen Washington County landmark, gutted by fire, by end of next year
- Pittsburgh nonprofit 412 Food Rescue takes surplus food to needy
- Police investigating after cab driver shot in Hazelwood
- Pet chiropractic more popular in Western Pa., but doubts linger
- Security policies limit ‘insider threat’ at airports, TSA says
- Attorney wants evidence from South Allegheny teacher’s cellphone thrown out
- Legislators, Wolf agree on one thing: Higher work zone fines
- North Hills nonprofit helps victims of domestic abuse with small loans