First-time Collaboration Between Music Department and Theatre Workshop Produces “Rocky Horror”

The Colorado College  Music Department  and the  Student Theatre Workshop  produced four sold-out performances of  The Rocky Horror Show  through a first-time collaboration Oct. 28-29. Photo by Erin Mullins ’24 / Colorado College.
The Colorado College Music Department and the Student Theatre Workshop produced four sold-out performances of The Rocky Horror Show through a first-time collaboration Oct. 28-29. Photo by Erin Mullins ’24 / Colorado College.

The Colorado College Music Department and the Student Theatre Workshop produced four sold-out shows of “The Rocky Horror Show” through a first-time collaboration this past weekend.

While it wasn’t easy, it was definitely worth it.

Last spring, Will Burglechner ’23 told Jennifer DeDominici, lead vocal instructor and director of CC’s annual musical, that they wanted to produce “The Rocky Horror Show” in the fall, and DeDominici immediately had concerns. First, DeDominici directs a musical every fall for the Music Department, so she was concerned that there would be two different musicals happening on campus on the exact same weekend. DeDominici also was worried that she would lose a lot of her potential cast and crew to the Theatre Workshop, especially since a lot of the students were graduating seniors, so she wouldn’t get the chance to work with them again before they graduate.

While these were very legitimate concerns, Burglechner and DeDominici felt compelled to find a solution.

“Out of a potential conflict, a beautiful idea was born,” says DeDominici. Burglechner and DeDominici pitched the idea of working together to produce “Rocky Horror” to their respective authorities, and both got permission, establishing a first-time collaboration between the Music Department and the Student Theatre Workshop, which is a theatre club run entirely by students.

All of DeDominici’s concerns were resolved when the two shows became one.

DeDominici — who has been Burglechner’s voice teacher since their first year at CC — and Burglechner worked over the summer to prepare to start auditions and rehearsals as soon as the academic year began.

“It feels wild,” Burglechner said about all four shows being sold out. “Theatre never really gets big audiences at CC, so I'm really happy to see that people were excited for this! I hope this starts a tradition of doing more student-led productions, so the shows being done speak to the campus community.”

‘Rocky Horror’ has had such a special role in my life because it was one of the only places where all the things I love are combined. I could sing and dance and have fun on stage while telling a meaningful story about sexual discovery and queer celebration,” says Burglechner, who had wanted to produce the show since their first year at CC but was unable to earlier due to COVID-19.

Burglechner, who served as the production’s creative producer, used this production as a thesis project for the theatre major. 

Marilyn Tokarek ’23 attended the show to support her roommate of four years, Caeleigh O’Connor ’23, who was the narrator and set designer for the production.

Over block break, Tokarek and her other roommate painted murals in Taylor Theatre, where the shows were held, for the production.

“During this fast-paced project, I was able to see the dedication of each member of the tech crew in their efforts to make the show run smoothly and visually stunning,” says Tokarek, an art studio major.

“In addition to my personal interests in this production, ‘Rocky Horror’ is an iconic piece of queer media that has inspired generations of artists,” says Tokarek, who loves all kinds of art and tries to engage with student performances on campus whenever she can.

Grace King ’23 attended both the Friday and Saturday night shows to support her roommate, who played one of the phantoms.

“I was also excited to attend a spooky show over Halloweekend. I really loved how interactive the show was between the actors and audience — I had never attended a ‘Rocky’ performance before so that was a delightful surprise,” says King, a geology major.

One unique aspect of this production was that instead of using a traditional single stage, the production team set up scenes in various parts of the theatre, called “pods.”

“As the technical director for Theatre Workshop, collaborating with the Music Department has been such a treat. Theatre Workshop is all about creating art for students by students. It's amazing to have that freedom, but we often lack the high-level mentorship that comes with performing in an academic department show. Theatre Workshop still had the tech training that we always offer, but now we had access to even more advanced training for actors, including vocal technique, accompaniment with a live band, and a professional intimacy coordinator,” says Madison Dillon ’23, who served as the production’s manager and master electrician, along with playing the usherette. “The Music Department helped us get the most out of this show.”

“I'm always a little sad when we sell out. It means that people who wanted to see the show couldn’t. I'm thrilled that more than 500 people saw ‘Rocky Horror’ this past weekend, but I was always crushed when someone asked me if there's any way to squeeze in just one more person. I wish we could have done even more,” says Dillon.

Cast and crew members spent about 20 hours a week rehearsing since the start of the semester.

“It has been an honor to watch and guide this cast and crew of motivated students through the gigantic task of putting together a full musical theatre production. I am in awe of their talent, resourcefulness, and ability,” says DeDominici.

“This first-ever collaboration between Theatre Workshop and the Music Department is a significant moment for the performing arts at CC. The togetherness of the entire experience for our students, faculty, staff, and community beautifully amplifies the messages and meanings of the show itself,” says Ryan Bañagale00, associate professor and co-chair of the Music Department. “I can’t wait to see what comes next!”

Report an issue - Last updated: 11/03/2022