Sweet Translucent Dreams
Northeast PA's "Melting Pot" Touring Cast
[ Additional Info ]
In late 2002 we were thinking of creating a Rocky Horror cast in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. One night, out Christmas shopping, we walked into a small 2-screen mall theatre and discovered the owner, Andy, used to show Rocky in the late 70's / early 80's and wanted to bring it back. A month later, he called us, with the news that he had a print and that we'd be opening in 7 days.
We had a website and an online newsgroup, but no cast to speak of, and seven days to pull off a show in an area that hadn't seen Rocky in almost 20 years. So we hit the Net and hit the jackpot. Members from Transylvanian Nipple Productions in Philly, The Transsexual Misfits in Maryland, and Sins of the Flesh from Allentown made us a melting pot of other casts, and we pulled off 2 shows that weekend.
A casting call went out to everyone that showed up. That week, crash training started. Friends from other casts helped for the next 2 shows and we started to mix in the new locals: it went great. I remember Andy looking at me and saying "Thank You. This is what I needed to help save this place." Sadly, after just 4 shows, Andy passed away in his sleep and the theatre closed.
We were stunned. That weekend, while unloading our things from the theatre, I met two of Andy's friends who owned a theatre 20 miles away in Coaldale, PA. They wanted Rocky, but no water guns, no boobs popping out, NO USE OF THE WORD FUCK.
Mikey as Frank
While I was wondering "Did they EVER see Rocky?", they handed me an on-line AP script with all the lines crossed out that they didn't want to hear. But we accepted their offer, and opened 2 weeks later. Our first month, we hosted a lot of cast members from other states. One night in March we hosted an "invasion" of a cast from Boston called House of Sin. People came from as far as New York to see the combined show.
Months went by and the weekly show was going well: more locals were joining cast. Summer came, and out of the blue one day the owners of the theatre fired us, saying "We want to go with more local people for the show." So we split the cast down the middle and the non-local STD was not only homeless again, but our ranks were low.
It was mid-August and Halloween was looming. We called around, and agreed to do a set of shows Halloween weekend for a little theatre in Hamburg, PA. A week later, Larry Viezel from New Jersey emailed about a BOWLING ALLEY in Harrisburg, PA that wanted to do a Halloween show. The manager showed me a stage that they would lay over 3 lanes. I had to tell him we were booked Oct. 31, but suggested a show Oct. 25th to kick off Halloween week. He agreed and even booked a band. So from 9pm till 11:45pm was Rock n Bowl with live music, then Rocky Horror at midnight.
So now we had 3 shows in 2 places in 1 week. We hit the Net to get a cast together. The Melting Pot got a little deeper. All 3 shows sold out, including 50 plus lanes at the bowling alley! We were amazed. Neither town was a place we did Rocky but the numbers were off the charts. Then it hit us. Why do Rocky in the same place every week? If we get a few theatres and make it every few months, then you get better turnouts. Rocky becomes an event. Rocky is coming to town! The STD's are coming to town!
Bowling alley Frank
So we mailed out cast info packs to about 100 theatres. Then I got a call from Dan in Boston, a participant in our Coaldale "invasion". His Grandmother had just been diagnosed with cancer. So we set out to find a theatre that wanted to help raise money for The American Cancer Society. I found 2 theatres that would help: one in Lehighton and one in Hazelton, PA. So of course we said "FUCK IT! Let's do both: one Friday and one Saturday!" We did, raising over $3,000 that weekend.
Then Lafayette College in Easton, PA e-mailed us about doing a show. There were other events on campus that night, so we ended up in the campus CHURCH! The altar was the stage and they set a screen up in front of the cross. But it worked!
Our next gig was a private party at a fire hall. The fire alarm went off while Frank was changing near the trucks. The firemen came running in to get on the trucks with Frank standing there in full makeup saying "I love firefighters." (The firefighter we did the show for joined cast a year later as a Rocky.)
The next show was a theatre in York, PA. They did an annual New Year's Eve show, and asked us since the local cast was no longer around. Having never turned down a show before, we said "Ok." We weren't sure what to expect. Don't most people have plans on New Year's Eve? Well were we fucking wrong! Our crowd was 650 people and the place was rockin'! This turned into a yearly event for 4 years for us (and we even picked up a new Janet along the way).
We did our first outdoor show as a fundraiser for a LGBT group. Then another college show, set up by the school's pastor. There was a bar/nightclub in Allentown that set up a show with 3 bands and Rocky at midnight. Kid Rock was 8 blocks away the same night at the Allentown Fairgrounds. But we had fun and we pulled nicely off his crowd after his show let out.
We continued to pick up a few shows here and there and the cast was turning into a once every 2 month touring thing. Two years on the road and we got a call from a theatre in Scranton. Remember those letters we sent out? Well, they still had one and asked to meet us. The owner and a manager loved the first show so much, they booked us for every other month and they still are. We do our December shows as a fundraiser. We invite the Marines to the show, they bring Toys For Tots boxes and admission that night is one unwrapped toy.
Every few months we still get calls for new shows from theatre owners passing our number around. We always take them on. Like the East Stroudsburg, PA show this past year: over 800 people, probably our biggest crowd to date! I imagine that show is like the very early days of Rocky, with people rushing the stage and dancing and having a great time.
It's been 6 long years and about 15 outlets later STD is still going strong. We look forward to many years to come.