‘The Rocky Horror Show’


Jonathan Penning looks into his wardrobe and pulls out a corset, fishnet stockings and high heels.

“Give yourself over to being true to yourself and true to who you are”, says Pennington, an artistic director, producer and actor at the Woodlawn Theatre. Being yourself is an underlying message of the “The Rocky Horror Show”.

Pennington is the lead role of Dr. Frank N. Furter at the Woodlawn Theatre‘s production of “The Rocky Horror Show”. He earned his music degree at UTSA and has since been expanding his career in musical endeavors including “The Rocky Horror Show.”

He had no difficulty finding his inner Frank N. Furter considering he has been a long-time fan of Tim Curry, the actor who played the role in the original production of the show.  Pennington has also played the role of Jesus in “Jesus Christ Superstar” and compares the two lead roles.

“[Frank N. Furter] came natural to me because he is a lot like other leaders, Pennington said. “They’re both leaders and they’re both in control, and that’s a really weird comparison but it’s true”

Dr. Frank N. Furter is at the end phase of his creation of a perfect man. During a transvestite convention held to reveal his new creation, couple Brad and Janet stumble upon Frank N. Furter’s peculiar mansion. Brad and Janet meet the doctor’s assistants, Riff Raff, Magenta and Columbia among other characters. Dr. Frank N. Furter’s new creation is born and his name is Rocky. He is a beautiful, blond, muscular man. Chaos begins once Rocky is let loose on the premises. “The Rocky Horror Show” premiered as a London stage musical in 1973 and transformed to film soon after in 1975 as “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

This is only the second year the Woodlawn Theatre has shown “The Rocky Horror Show” but it has been a major success. Avid “Rocky Horror” fans and newcomers alike can expect an interactive experience where the audience can become a part of the show. Do not be surprised of you hear a few shouts in the middle of a musical number. Another element that make “The Rocky Horror Show” stand out amongst other shows is that it is comprised of a live band and actual singing for the musical numbers. Everything is performed live.

“The Rocky Horror Show” is a very controversial show and has been banned in other cities for its content. Although the Woodlawn Theatre has a family oriented environment, “The Rocky Horror Show” is definitely not for kids and differs from other shows at the theatre because of its late-night schedule. The theme of sexual liberation is prevalent in the show but Pennington says “the overall message of the show is for people to accept each individual how they are no matter what they look like or what their sexual orientation is.” “The Rocky Horror Show” gives people a chance to come as they are and appreciate great performances in a relaxed setting.

As for playing Frank N. Furter, Pennington admires the way the writer, Richard O’Brien, wrote the character’s satire. He goes on to say that “The Rocky Horror Show” is usually “portrayed as a campy, crazy show but is a musical that is written very well.” The lead role of Frank N. Furter is essential for creating an atmosphere that is beneficial for the entire cast. Pennington chose the role in order to bring the positive energy needed to make a great show for the cast and audience. Playing Dr. Frank N. Furter has helped him improve overall as a performer and leader for his theater company, Pennington Productions.

“The Rocky Horror Show” is now playing until Nov. 5. Catch performances on Thursdays at 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30 p.m. and a Halloween showing at 8 p.m. Audience members are encouraged to dress up in true “Rocky Horror” fashion. According to the film, this show will “thrill you, chill you and fulfill you.”