A Review: ’Rocky Horror Show’ at the Indie is multi-layered treat

Staff Writer
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Brad Majors (Stephen Hess) and Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Hayden Davis) face off in a rehearsal scene from "The Rocky Horror Show."Tribune photo by Liz Beavers

By Liz Beavers


Tribune Managing Editor

KEYSER - The Indie on Main has a multiple-layered treat for you tonight and tomorrow.

First, and perhaps most important, the revitalized theater is offering an actual live musical theater production - the first in over five months since COVID-19 shut everything down.

Secondly, the production is a cult classic and favorite of many who have unforgetable memories of dancing to “The Time Warp” while throwing toast and other assorted odd items at a theater screen during a midnight movie showing.

And thirdly, it is being produced by a talented group of young people who not only obviously enjoy what they’re doing, but they are also being recognized for their efforts in another restored theater in our neighboring Allegany County.

Directed by Hayden Davis and Sawyer Jenkins, whom local theater fans have practically watched grow up on various stages in the area, “The Rocky Horror Show” is a throwback to the theatrical version of the classic.

For those of you who haven’t seen either the stage production or movie version, it is the wild, rocking rollercoaster ride of a story that begins with dear Brad and Janet, a straight-laced couple whose car breaks down on a cold, rainy night. Searching for a phone to call for help, they find themselves in a strange old castle full of odd characters who perhaps could be compared to every parent’s fears of the drunken, sex-charged party they just know their kids are having while the parents are away.

The “festivities” are presided over by one Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a silk net stocking wearing, feather boa flinging, flamboyant diva who in his signature song introduces himself as … well maybe you’d better go see it for yourself.

So what does this have to do with a theater in Allegany County?

The Embassy, a restored theater in downtown Cumberland, first presented this production back before COVID turned the theaters dark. Many of the actors are reprising their roles for the Indie production, and for their efforts, they have been nominated for a “Marky” Award, named in memory of Broadway actor Mark Baker, who helped bring the Embassy back to life.

It is easy to see why they were nominated. They tackle their parts with enthusiasm, energy, and a clear appreciation for the cult phenomenon that “Rocky” is.

While Hayden Davis and Sawyer Jenkins are nominated in the Best Director category, both are also nominated for their acting.

Davis, who commands the stage in the starring role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, is up for Best Actor in a Musical, while Jenkins, who lurks around the stage as the eery butler RiffRaff, is nominated for Best Supporting Actor, along with Ryan Marvin, who portrays Frank’s confused creation Rocky, and Conner Ward as the creepy narrator.

Tawney Jenkins, who plays the virginal Janet, and Whitney O’Haver, who portrays the unforgettable Magenta, are also up for Best Actress in a Musical.

Add to these fine performances Stephen Hess as the naive Brad, Taber Robinette doing double duty as Eddie and Dr. Scott, and Chey Kuhrt as Columbia, and you have the perfect cast for this story.

Now admittedly, “The Rocky Horror Show” is not for everyone. And it is definitely not for children. But it is a great escape from what is going on in the world around us right now.

Thank you to the fine young cast who helped me forget things for a couple hours during rehearsal!

“The Rocky Horror Show” is being presented for four shows - at 8 p.m. and midnight tonight and again on Saturday.

Due to COVID restrictions, the theater will only be filled to half capacity, with social distancing observed. Wear your mask … but don’t bring any toast. For the safety of the actors, there will be no audience participation … but that doesn’t mean you can’t tap your toes along with the music!

Tickets can be purchased online through The Indie’s Facebook page, or at the theater on the night of the performances.

Columbia (Chey Kuhrt) tells Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Hayden Davis) what she thinks while RiffRaff (Sawyer Jenkins) listens in a rehearsal scene from "The Rocky Horror Show."Tribune photo by Liz Beavers