is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rocky Horror's Jenny Fitzpatrick: "It's Lady Gaga Meets Demented Burlesque!"

Tonight when Rocky Horror Show opens at the arboretum, the sarcastic bystanders the fans of the cult classic have become will undoubtedly arrive fully loaded with all accoutrement necessary to enjoy the adventures of Brad and Janet (bring toast, not rice, btw).  They will know the script verbatim and interject inappropriate heckles at all the appropriate moments.  

However, they may be surprised ... because apparently, this is not your father’s Rocky Horror Show (the show turns 38 this year)!  

No, this version has a dollop of pop trollop, or what choreographer Jenny Fitzpatrick likes to refer to as “very Lady Gaga-meets-demented-burlesque.” 

Fitzpatrick is on double duty, performing as a phantom in the show as well as directing the choreography, and she has grabbed both roles by the short and curlies, although she’s never worked on a production of Rocky before, but jokes, “The biggest challenge of choreographing Rocky was having to perform in it. Haha. I'm kidding...but not really:). It's hard to have to step in and out to see the pictures I've tried to create but I've put my trust in my dance savvy director, Wes Nelson, to let me know what's working and what's not. The other challenge was trying to create choreography that no one has seen before. Rocky is so well-known and most productions mimic the movie, but Wes and I really wanted to challenge ourselves and create something people had never seen before. The movement needed to be stylistically something all together new. And it is.”
Fitzpatrick played Roxanne in SummerFest 2005's
presentation of Cyrano de Bergerac

Jenny is also quick to give credit to Patrick Howell, "our costume designer, and whose costumes are fantastic. He is a local designer that has primarily costumed drag queens, but has a very unique, over-the-top, avant garde
style. Very lady gaga meets demented burlesque. He's done an amazing job creating a style for the costumes that's all its own, and a lot of the set and other concepts originated from some of Patrick's early designs and images."

Anybody who can dance, design
choreography and meticulously instruct
successful shows like Jenny does is
my kinda gal -- plus, she uses smiley faces :)
hell to the her!  
This is not Fitzpatrick's first experience with SummerFest.  "I played Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac, directed by Joe Ferrell in 2005 (Spencer Christensen as Cyrano) and then in 2006 I played Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, also directed by Joe Ferrell. I was in college when I heard about the auditions for Cyrano and got fortunate that I had what I thought was good chemistry with Spencer. :) Thankfully, Joe took a chance on me and cast me without really knowing me. I loved that experience so much. I still talk about it and use what I learned from both Joe and Spencer in both educational and professional settings. Spencer is the most giving actor I have ever been on stage with and Joe let us play so much. So, needless to say I came back for more the next year:)"

Jenny is a Kentucky native,
received her BFA from U.K., has
performed with numerous local
theatres before and after her
venture to Los Angeles, where
she worked as a professional dancer,
instructor and choreographer.
Most recently, she played the
beautiful assassin Cecily in
the fabulously entertaining
(if you want to know more about that,
please just scroll through Kimmyville,
because I la-la-la-LOVED that show)!
So how did Fitzpatrick dance her way to this year's Rocky Horror Show, and why?  Jenny tells me she has been dancing since she was four years old. "Classic story of little sis watching big sis dance, 'I wanna do that too!' sorta thing. My sister was a terrible dancer though, so she quit and I dove in and never stopped. I tried every activity/sport that I could get my hands on, but as things came and went, dance was a constant. And, by my senior year I had completely immersed myself in it...but, my dance teacher knew (by the size of my hips haha) that I wasn't going to be a prima ballerina, so she advised me to begin training in musical theatre/jazz/tap. I LOVED tap!!! So, I started doing shows, started getting roles, and I guess the rest is history. Choreography is just something I fell into in college and thanks to Joan Rue, I got a gig with The Woodford Theatre doing choreography for Footloose. Thanks to that gig, I now reside as Woodford's resident choreographer and it's also where I met Wes Nelson. So I guess my love affair with dance will be life long...and a giant snowball in the end. I've enjoyed Rocky because of the originality I've been able to put into it. It's rare for me to go into a project that hasn't been pre-conceptualized to death, but Wes really allowed me to have a voice in the direction we were taking this show, so a lot of my original ideas for the choreo got to stay and some even transcended into some overall concepts for character work (especially with Frank and the phantom dancers). 

With her gorgeous looks, fabulous talent and super skills, the stage of the world is her oyster, and she admits she's not sure what's next, but whatever it is, it will involve dance.  "For me ... hell, I never know -- but, my hope is to continue to challenge myself ... maybe I see a studio/dance company in my future...not sure. Take it all in stride. For now, still bee-boppin show-to-show trying to pull my next trick out the bag. :) I stay with dance, because I've found that I suffocate without it. Is that cliche? I don't care if it is, cause it's true. Every sound from the dishwasher running, to music on the radio, to a tapping of a finger on a table, I hear its rhythm and potential dance. I almost make myself crazy cause I can't stop choreographing in my head! It's my breath, and has slowly become my way of life and sanity."

Jenny Fitzpatrick's Secret Talent:  A secret talent about me is that I like to cut hair.  In fact, I haven't paid for a haircut in almost three years. Haha I love to do it myself :), she jokes.


ARE YOU READY TO ROCK?!?!?! Join us for a new and monsterous spin on this cult classic! SummerFest closes its 2011 Season with The Rocky Horror Show - July 20-24, directed by Wes Nelson with choreography by Jenny Fitzpatrick, new muscial arrangements by Meg Stohlmann & Judi Reynolds, and music by The Johnson Brothers!

For more info visit: http://www.summerfestlex.o​rg/

Frank-n-furter: Christopher Baker
Janet: Meaghan Sharrard
Brad: Wood Van Meter
Narrator/Eddie: Matt Seckman
Riff Raff: Jerome McIlvain
Magenta: Alicia Cox
Columbia: Cindy Head
Rocky: Whit Whitaker
Dr. Scott: Greg Jones

Phantoms: Jenny Fitzpatrick
Stephanie Valentino
Michael Baird, U/S Riff Raff
Katie Berger, U/S Columbia

Spirits: John Code, U/S Brad & Dr. Scott
Rebecca Keith, U/S Janet
Sharonda Lynn Piersall, U/S Magenta
Catherine Borland
Alex Hagan 


With Jenny Fitzpatrick at the choreographic helm, Wesley Nelson directing, Tressa Bowling stage managing, and a cast that is loaded for bear (or bare :) -- this show is ready to rock your world.  G'head, sing it: Let's Do The Time Warp Again!

Coz you KNOW you wanna...dammit, Janet!  
see you at the show,

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