The Rocky Horror Show at How Do You Like Me Now Productions

The sword of Damocles is hanging over your head! And you’ve got the feeling someone’s gonna be cutting your thread if you don’t take a jump to the Brooklyn Park and then a step down Hammonds Lane to the black box theatre of the Chesapeake Arts Center to see The Rocky Horror Show. Presented by Erase Hate Through Art and How Do You Like Me Now Productions, the Richard O’Brien cult classic stage musical comes to life under Director Ed Higgins and Musical Director Eliza Van Kan. With all the iconic classics, and an upgrade purchase option for a ‘fun bag’, this production will tickle your ghoulish holiday fancy!

Per their mission statement of advancing the cause of acceptance in the LGBTQ community in and around the Baltimore/Washington DC suburban area, How Do You Like Me Now Productions is succeeding in its facilitation of creating free-flowing dialogue between the LGBTQ community and those outside of it with their current annual offering. With bent genders and sweet transvestites, there is all sorts of sexual tension that sparks great conversation wound into Rocky Horror, making it the quintessential production for a mission statement like Erase Hate’s.

Ashley Gerald (left) as Columbia, Jenifer Hollet (center) as Magenta, and Chip Willett (right) as Rif RafAmanda N. Gunther
Ashley Gerald (left) as Columbia, Jenifer Hollet (center) as Magenta, and Chip Willett (right) as Rif Raf

Choreographer Mea Holloway works exceptionally hard to get the signature moves of “The Time Warp” worked into the infamous routine, going so far as to include the audience during the dance-heavy chorus. Holloway guides Columbia (a spirited Ashley Gerald) through a spiffy tap routine during the dance break of the number as well, and really gets the whole cast jumping for other numbers like “Hot Patootie” and “Eddie’s Teddy.”

With a quintet phantom corps comprised of Kristine Bodolay, Rebecca Hanauer, Danny Grimes, Tracey Grimes, and Kay Sweitzer, there is an air of creepiness haunting the production every time they stalk onto the stage in their outrageous costumes. Nods of praise are also well deserved to John Dignam, playing Doctor Scott, for his wild accent and crazy wheelchair antics, as well as Annamarie Pallanck for her banging attitude as Eddie. Though Pallanck only gets one big number, she makes the most of it and totally has the audience eating from the palm of her rebellious hand.

Jacques Snyman as Rocky in The Rocky Horror ShowShealyn Jae Photography
Jacques Snyman as Rocky in The Rocky Horror Show

Looking every bit the part for Rocky, Jacques Snyman holds his own running about through the castle while Rif Raf (Chip Willett) and Magenta (Jenifer Hollet) run about trying to conduct transsexual Transylvanian business as usual. Hollet, who plays the double-cast as the Usherette, lends her talented pipes to the opening number “Science Fiction, Double Feature” and primes the audience with antici….pation!

Despite the technology glitches, Andrew Zile joins us as the narrator from a projection screen in the corner, giving us the lowdown and the skinny on everything that unfolds during Brad (Christian Gonzalez) Janet’s (Kristen Demers) journey. Naïve and completely smitten with one another, Gonzalez and Demers break out of their shells by the show’s midway point, finding themselves completely hypersexualized by the time the hit “The Floorshow.”

Kristen Demers (left) as Janet Weiss, Peter N. Crews (center) as Frank 'N' Furter and Christian Gonzalez (right) as Brad MajorsShealyn Jae Photography
Kristen Demers (left) as Janet Weiss, Peter N. Crews (center) as Frank ‘N’ Furter and Christian Gonzalez (right) as Brad Majors

He’s just a sweet transvestite, the sexy Frank ‘N’ Furter, and Peter N. Crews is strutting his stuff to prove it! With a sassy attitude and flare for the dramatic, Crews slays with ferocity and tenacity in the role originated by Tim Curry. Sashaying through “Sweet Transvestite” and punctuating all of the moments that titillate the audience, Crews finds a humanity in Frank late in the production that brings the character arc around full circle.

A great company and production to support, if you can only see one Rocky Horror this season, Erase Hate Through Art & How Do You Like Me Now’s is the one to see!

Running Time: Approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes with one intermission

The Rocky Horror Show plays through November 4, 2016 with How Do You Like Me Now Productions and Erase Hate Through Art in the black box theatre of the Chesapeake Arts Center— 194 Hammonds Lane in Brooklyn Park, MD. For tickets call the box office at (301) 802-4060 or purchase them online.


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