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Prepare to enter the 'Time Warp' again, as Split Stage presents 'Rocky Horror Show'

| Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 1:12 p.m.
Split Stage Productions will present 'The Rocky Horror Show' June 15-23 at The Lamp Theatre, Irwin. The cast includes (front) Mickey Orange and Katherine Harkins; and (back, from left) Jennifer Szakolczay, Riley Tate, Nicole Uram, Matthew Russak, Ian Olson, Kate Kratzenberg and Amanda Hohman.
Split Stage Productions will present 'The Rocky Horror Show' June 15-23 at The Lamp Theatre, Irwin. The cast includes (front) Mickey Orange and Katherine Harkins; and (back, from left) Jennifer Szakolczay, Riley Tate, Nicole Uram, Matthew Russak, Ian Olson, Kate Kratzenberg and Amanda Hohman.

Split Stage Productions celebrates the opening of its fifth anniversary season with the cult classic ‘Rocky Horror Show' June 15-23 at The Lamp Theatre in Irwin.

The staging of the campy rock musical this time of year is a special treat for fans of the show, who usually find it on theater calendars around Halloween.

“I think the special touch to this version of ‘Rocky Horror' has been made by Rob Jessup and Nate Newell (co-founders of Split Stage) who decided to stage it in the summer, rather than in the fall. It is an unconventional show, so why not come check it out at an unconventional time?” says Latrobe native Mickey Orange, who plays Brad Majors in the show.

And of course, even though it's not Halloween season, audience members are still encouraged to dress up in costumes as part of the fun – and even attend a “nearly midnight” 11:59 p.m. performance June 23.

Based on the 1975 movie, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” the live theater version joins Brad and his fiancée Janet Weiss (played by Katherine Harkins, also from Latrobe) on a stormy night when their car gets a flat tire and they end up at the mansion of a mad scientist, Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

‘An eccentric twist'

Adam Fladd of Pittsburgh plays the scientist that the actor describes as his dream role, portraying “a play off of the classic Dr. Frankenstein character with an eccentric twist.”

One of his favorite aspects of the show is that it forces viewers — and sometimes actors — out of their comfort zones and “productions such as these push the limits of what society deems appropriate, challenging the mind and body to accept situations and embrace the unfamiliar.”

Fast and immersive

For those who have never experienced “Rocky Horror,” Harkins warns that “this isn't one of those sit back, relax and watch shows; it's quick-paced, immersive and plain fun.”

“This is one of those shows that will allow you to do what theater does, and let you escape your world and fully enter into another ­— and I mean fully,” she says. “We are hoping that people walk out of the theater happy with our originality.”

As Brad Majors, Orange also steps outside his comfort zone as he transforms a “normal” character into the ostracized minority.

“Another challenge for me is that Brad's signature obscenity couldn't be any further from who I really am as a person,” he says.

The cast also features Aubrey Burchell, Cassidy Adkins, Matthew Russak, Riley Tate, Nicole Uram, Ian Olson and Hank Fodor. Brady Patsy is director; Mandie Russak is choreographer and Nick Stamatakis is music director.

‘Blockbuster musicals'

Split Stage Productions will continue its fifth anniversary celebration with “Sweeney Todd” Oct. 5-13 and “Bonnie & Clyde” Feb. 8-16, both at The Lamp Theatre.

Rob Jessup says it's hard to believe that seven years ago, he and Nate Newell didn't even know each other “and here we are kicking off the fifth season for Split Stage. Season 5 will be our biggest to date with three blockbuster musicals and our first ever gala held on New Year's Eve at The Lamp. As for what the future holds for Split Stage we will only say this, there is no slowing down in sight!”

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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