Hamilton, Ohio – Time to do the Time Warp. Again.
Nearly 50 years after its initial theatrical release, the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show still draws a crowd. And if recent history at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts is any indication, that crowd will be just a little bit warped. Or a lot.
Exactly as it should be.
Guests come in costume, enjoy the cash bar, shout at the screen, get up and dance, throw stuff all over the theater and generally have a debaucherous good time.
Jax De Bellis was part of the sold-out crowd for the Fitton Cinema screening of Rocky Horror last fall; this year she’ll be center stage at 10 p.m. Friday, October 27, playing Dr. Frank-N-Furter – the Tim Curry role in the film – with the shadow cast from The Denton Affair.
“It can be daunting in the sense that it’s an iconic role that everybody knows and loves,” De Bellis said. “But everybody brings a different element to the part. I really like that we have creative ways to bring the characters to life.”
The Denton Affair is one of the oldest side-by-side performance troupes in the nation, appearing regularly since August of 1979. They are the resident shadow-cast company at Cincinnati’s Esquire Theater where Rocky Horror plays at midnight every other Saturday.
De Bellis has been part of the act since 2021, playing several different parts over the last couple years and becoming a coordinator with the group.
“I saw a Halloween performance of the show a few years ago and I was so emotional by the end,” De Bellis said. “I was a looking for a community and I found it with The Denton Affair. We’re all kind of misfits, but it doesn’t matter. It’s all about accepting people as they are. It’s just cool to be part of such a long tradition.”
October is a particularly busy month for The Denton Affair. Not only did they have their regular show October 14 at the Esquire, they played in Over-the-Rhine on the 19th, are at the Fitton Center the 27th and have a triple-header of screenings at the Esquire on the 28th. (De Bellis will be off stage for the early show, emcee the middle screening and play Frank-n-Furter at midnight.)
She said taking the show on the road elevates the performance.
“It keeps us sharp, for sure,” De Bellis said. “When we play the Esquire there’s a familiarity. You know where everything is. When we go out, you never know how the space is going to affect the performance. You have to really pay attention and be in the moment.”
Her favorite moment for Frankie?
“Near the end of the movie when he sings ‘I’m Going Home,’” De Bellis said. “You get to really ham it up, have that Judy Garland moment.”
Like last year, there will be a sold-out house on hand to enjoy her star turn. Also like 2022, the Fitton Center opened up the side section for limited-view seating at a discount price of $6 (plus a $1 ticketing fee). Tickets are available online right here or by calling 513-863-8873, ext. 110.
The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.
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