July 23, 2021

Controversial Rocky Horror show finally goes on in Carrollton

(Carrollton, Ga) -Members of the local media and other guests were treated to a preview Tuesday night of the theater version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show which is being staged this week at the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of UWG in Carrollton.

Director Michelle Rougier originally envisioned bringing the show to Carrollton last year and approached the board of the Carroll County Community Theatre. The board liked Rougier’s idea and approved the presentation of the 1970’s cult classic which was to take place in late October.

Several weeks into rehearsals, the project was shut down after Carrollton Mayor Wayne Garner was shown a small video clip of one of the rehearsals that had been posted to facebook.

Garner told NBC’s 11Alive news of Atlanta that he found the clip to be “very offensive, not in keeping with the community of Carrollton, if you will.” Garner also added, “I know this community well and if that play were allowed to proceed we’d be run out-of-town.”

Literally hours after the news from Mayor Garner, cast members and other supporters of the production began to spread the news to the public not only via the traditional media but also via the social media.

They started a facebook page which gained new fans very quickly and through donations, as well as the generous support of Executive Producer/local attorney James J. Hopkins, they were able to secure the university site for this week’s show.

When I asked her about the possibility of Mayor Garner attending one of the performances, Rougier stated, “I would love for the Mayor to come see us and show us some support.” She also added, “I believe that things happen for a reason. The censorship was horrible but ultimately it ended up helping us to present a more polished show.”

[gpslideshow]         HeardCitizen.com

I became very interested in this story last year because it reminded me of a similar situation which had taken place here in Heard County when professional wrestling was abruptly ended at a community owned facility by a politician in 2010.

I was both excited and a little nervous to see the preview show last night as I had never before experienced the Rocky Horror show first hand. Honestly, I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was very curious to see exactly what it was all about.

I became even more nervous when I was given a “prop bag” as I came through the door which contained an odd assortment of items including a small silver bell, a yellow plastic flute, a pink latex glove, a tiny purple flashlight, a section of the Times-Georgian newspaper from 2009, and three playing cards.

Jeremy Cheney, one of the guys who met me at the door, assured me that I would not be maimed or killed once inside… lol…so I proceeded albeit with much caution. I would rather not give too many details of the show itself, but I can certainly tell you it is indeed amazing.

Since it was preview/press night the auditorium was virtually empty yet the cast and crew delivered as if the center was overflowing.

I had my pen in hand throughout the night in hopes of highlighting what I would deem the stand-out performances but I was disappointed indeed. It was near impossible to pick out the best performers because they all were equally fantastic.

Tyler Pike and his very distinct voice shined as the narrator. Seb Burnett and Ginna Blair were also outstanding and definitely glued the show together as the heroes. Jarrett Jones, Paige Welch, and Amy Johnson also were show stoppers.

Ultimately, what impressed me the most about the night was the professional quality performances by everyone. Rougier and company obviously put countless hours into the production and it certainly will pay off for all of the Rocky fans who attend.

In this part of West Georgia it is rare that the opportunity presents itself to experience something different and I would encourage all in the area to attend.

I am certainly NOT a theater critic in any way shape or form, but I do know what I like and I enjoyed the performance tremendously.

As far as the scenes that Mayor Garner found to be so “offensive,” I was shocked at just how inoffensive they actually were. If anything, I was offended by the lack of offensive material…lol… I mean like wow I thought for sure I would witness would be nudity, filthy language, and near pornographic encounters, but in actuality, it was quite a fun family type comedy that any adult or upper teen would enjoy.

I would not hesitate for my anyone over the age 14 or 15 to experience it for themselves. I am certain that some ultra-conservative people might see exactly what I saw and argue that Garner was right in the actions he took.

The ability to debate and disagree about art is just one example of the many ways that Americans can express themselves like virtually no other nation on this Earth. I don’t believe it is time for that to stop and this is why I believe the show must virtually always go on.

Kudos to all involved with the production and especially to Mr. Hopkins for supporting it so much.

The show will officially open Thursday night (7:30) with additional performances Friday and Saturday night (7:30)  and Sunday afternoon (3:00). For more information or to purchase tickets call (678) 839-4722 or visit www.townsendcenter.org today.

“We worked well together from the beginning but yes I do believe the extra time brought the entire cast closer together. It’s going to be very sad for me when our run is over. We have become like one big dysfunctional family.”- Phantom Cody Bradley


  1. Joanna Tipple says

    Happy to hear that the show did go on and proud of all who supported it! Have you seen the movie yet – great fun?

  2. julie martinusek says

    So glad they decided to go a head with the show so looking forward to a laugh .Isaw this show 30 yrs ago and loved it.

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