'LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN'

Standard photo/Marisa Patwa

Newburgh's Sarah Smith leading the iconic "Time Warp" dance during a rehearsal of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at STAGEtwo Productions in Evansville.

From doing high school kicks with the Castle High School Knight Sensations to defining moves for an off-broadway show while in college in New York, Newburgh's Sarah Smith has done it all dance -wise.

This year, she's choreographing STAGEtwo Productions' 5th Annual "Rocky Horror Picture Show," in Evansville, featuring live actors performing one of the funniest and raunchiest rock-horror musicals to ever hit the stage and screen.

This isn't a shadow cast production, in which the actors portray scenes in the movie as it plays on a giant screen behind them. But yes, there will most definitely be audience participation.

The only caveat: if anyone wants to play along, they must purchase a prop bag from STAGEtwo Productions themselves.

Safety is key, after all.

"We just want to keep track of what is coming into the theatre," said director, Toni Schaperjohn.

This production is based on the original 1973 stage musical, which was popularized by the 1975 film, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

Playing the role of Janet in this version, which was made iconic by Susan Sarandon in the film, is Toni's daughter, Olivia Schaperjohn.

The actress said she feels uninhibited and free playing the sometimes-only-in-lingerie iconic character on stage.

"I was talking with another actor who I've done a bunch of productions with and said, 'I've never been to a show where I wasn't naked or didn't die on stage,'" she said. "I'm accustomed to being vulnerable in my performance."

Olivia Schaperjohn said she loves it when the audience participates while they perform "Rocky Horror" and is excited for them to see her new iteration of the titular good-girl-gone-bad character.

"It's such a blast," the 24-year-old said. "And I'm doing something a little different with Janet this year. It's going to be such a breath of fresh air."

Although the show has already had its premiere, spectators can still purchase shows for this weekend at https://squareup.com/store/stagetwo?fbclid=IwAR0g6Q5dMKyUqR1LqtrCYm1yUqdcliSZyHyJyvjZs0HzFU1ibzXAhNrkRjc.

Toni Schaperjohn said she's been involved with different variations of productions of "Rocky Horror" since she was 16.

"There is this energy that comes with it being performed live in front of you," she said.

And the director isn't the only fan.

"We have people who come every night," she said.

Although, considering the show's sauciness, any ticket holders under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

"We had a 12-year-old who came last year with their mom and knew all of the songs," Toni Schaperjohn said.

As for the choreographer of the show, Smith might not have been dancing along to "Rocky Horror" since age 12, but she has been dancing for longer than that.

"I started ballet, tap and jazz when I was 2," she said.

Smith also just so happens to have ran into the leading lady of this production of "Rocky Horror" on the show circuit.

"I know Olivia from doing the Warrick County Summer Musicals together," Smith said. "We were both two theatre kids who found each other in this unique world."

Smith's cardinal rule for choreographing "Rocky Horror" dances? She doesn't until the roles have been cast.

"I like to tailor the dance to the indivduals' personality," she said.

This year, she's having fun with the new theme, which is helping her put a twist on those signature dances.

"It's Ziggy Stardust," she said.

Although Smith, who can't always make it to the full length of every rehearsal, as she has a busy day job, uses videos and her dance captains to help the dancers refine their techniques.

"Every year, we have people who say, 'I'm not a dancer,' and every year they prove themselves wrong," the 23-year-old-said. "Besides, I would rather someone with good energy and a smile on their face mess up a move then someone with a bad attitude do it perfectly."

Smith suggests anyone who missed their weekend opening should check the show out on Saturday, for either their 7:30 p.m. or midnight showing.

"The show is so fun, campy and pee-your pants funny," she said. "Not to mention, it's a classic."

Marisa Patwa is a graduate of the University of Evansville with a degree in journalism and minor in political science.

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