Rocky Horror Lets The Freak Fly

Ryan and Faith Wilson have spent over a decade stuck in a Time Warp.

Maybe ‘stuck’ isn’t the right word, since the husband-and-wife team have produced and directed the Friday Nite Specials Rocky Horror Picture Show cast – and danced the movie’s centerpiece number, “The Time Warp,” at Aberdeen’s Bow Tie Cinemas since 2004.

“People come because it is kind of like misfit island,” Ryan said. “Non-judgemental, you can really let your freak flag fly here.”

That flag flew at full mast Friday night, where the cast and crew of 26 put on the show, built around a screening of the 1975 film, every Friday at midnight.

“This is all volunteer based, it is essentially a losing proposition for those of us who do it,” Faith said. “After a while, it becomes like a family. He actually proposed to me here.”

In 2004, the cast moved from another Bow Tie theater in Edison to its Aberdeen location. The show had been running for several years in that location with a dedicated audience.

“The company, they were closing that location and they gave us some options as to where we can go,” Ryan said. “Aberdeen’s been very good to us.”

For Eric Lotrowski, of East Brunswick, a longtime Rocky cast member, it is a labor of love.

“You do it because you love it,” Lotrowski said. “It has become a real community, you make friends around the country.”

And within the state. Keightly Simmons, part of Montclair’s Home of Happiness Rocky Horror cast, was at the show as an audience member.

“I love everything about Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Simmons said. “If nothing else, it makes people laugh.”

In true Rocky Horror tradition, the costumed cast sings, speaks and pantomimes along with the 1979 horror-comedy B movie while an audience shouts throwback lines and throws props in the air.

In that way, the show is a true interactive experience that is difficult to describe to those who have never had the experience, called “virgins” by the Rocky Horror faithful.

Dan Madura, of South Amboy, attending his first show, had a red “V” emblazoned on his forehead.

“I really don’t know what to expect,” Madura said. “I know rice is going to be thrown, and that the narrator has no neck, but that’s really about it.”

What makes the Friday Nite Specials stand out is the pre-movie festivities they put on before every show – including interaction with the “virgins” in the audience.

“We let them in close to midnight and we do a preshow, declare the rules and announcement,” Ryan said. “We’re the only cast around that I know of that does original sketch comedy every week.”

This Friday’s show was a precursor to the cast’s annual Halloween extravaganza, when they do a show Friday and Saturday with special festivities.

“Rocky at Halloween is like every holiday at once, it is a huge thing,” Lotrowski said. “We always sell out. We have costume contests, raffles, we give away Rocky merchandise. Halloween is really ‘The Rocky” holiday.”

If you go, the Halloween shows will be Saturday morning, 10/26 at 12 a.m. and Sunday morning,, 10/27 at 12 a.m. at the Bowtie Cinemas, 1055 Rte. 34 in Aberdeen. Tickets are already on sale.