Wallingford theater turns ‘Rocky Horror’ rehearsal into fundraiser

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WALLINGFORD — The Square Foot Theatre’s annual production of “The Rocky Horror Show” has sold out for its upcoming run, but the theater opened up its final dress rehearsal Thursday for a special fundraiser.

The final dress rehearsal traditionally has been a give-back night for the theater’s sponsors, allowing them to preview the show the night before it opens.

At Thursday’s preview show, the theater collected donations for its main sponsor, the Jamie A. Hulley Arts Foundation.

Jamie Hulley was a resident of Orange who died in 2002 at age 20 of lymphoma.

The memorial foundation in her name provides educational opportunities for young artists and career professionals in the arts, including scholarships, educational programs for schools and financial awards for artists and community projects.

Hulley was a friend of Jared Andrew Brown, co-founder of the Square Foot Theatre. Brown said Friday that there were more than 60 people in attendance for Thursday’s show, making it the theater’s most successful give-back night to date.

The theater kicked off its 13th season with a production of the musical “13” which ran Sept. 26-29.

“The Rocky Horror Show” opens Friday and runs through Oct. 26. This is the third year the theater has produced the show around Halloween.

The audience gets a full impressive experience, with cast members greeting and dancing among the show-goers.

Director Patrick Laffin, also a theater co-founder, said Thursday that with each year, the choreography gets more advanced and the space gets utilized much better.

“It’s so great to be able to visit something that people have such a great connection to,” Laffin said, “but it’s also cool that we get to change it every year. We get to see what works and see what doesn’t work in our space and re-imagine the whole piece.”

Ben Orlando plays Frank-N-Furter, the alien mad scientist. Orlando, 26, is a professional drag entertainer who hosts the theater’s drag brunch events as Summer Orlando.

Laffin played Frank in the last two productions. Orlando said he and Laffin collaborated on how they wanted to present the character this year.

“Since he’s an alien (Frank) and it takes place in an abandoned movie theater, he only knows his references from old Hollywood movies,” Orlando said. “Some of my wigs and looks are very inspired by some very well-known pop culture characters and celebrities, like Elvira and Joan Crawford. It just kind of clicked.”

The theater plans to host more preview nights as fundraisers for its upcoming productions of “Newsies” on Dec. 10, “Pippin” on Feb. 20, 2020, and “Green Day’s American Idiot” on April 23, 2020.

Admission is by donation, with the amount decided by the patron.

Twitter: @LCTakores


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