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(Photo Courtesy John Benner)

PHOENIX -- October is here and for many that means pumpkin patches and haunted houses and Oktoberfests.

For others, it means high heels, corsets and fishnets - and not just for trick or treating.

Starting Oct. 25, Phoenix's own Broadway Bound and Gagged (BBnG), formerly Midnight Mayhem, will perform five screenings of the cult classic "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," spreading the "Time Warp" all across the Valley.

BBnG is the Valley's longest-running volunteer shadowcast, which means the troupe acts out the entire film as it plays, complete with screen-accurate mannerisms, props and costumes.

Director Gail Antoinette of Glendale, 34, has been a part of a Valley shadowcast for over 12 years.

While BBnG performs at least one show a month, Antoinette said they always ramp up the shows and rehearsals during the Halloween season.

"['Rocky Horror'] has been a Halloween tradition for 38 years now and it's time to come out and have fun," she explained. "We do our best shows during Halloween. The audiences are always amazing."

The original 1975 rock musical features virginal couple Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) who get a flat tire in a thunderstorm. They make their way to a castle, which turns out to be inhabited by an alien race, led by the cross-dressing, multisexual Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry).

Despite the film's R-rating for strong language and adult content, the movie -- simply called "Rocky" among adoring fans -- has become most popular among teenagers and 20-somethings, especially those who do not feel like they belong or are searching for their gender or sexual identity.

Matthew Weddig of NPR recently explored the "Rocky Horror" shadowcast community, in addition to recounting his own personal, positive experiences with the film.

"Rocky Horror" shadow casts with plus-size performers reenacting the scantily-clad antics of the film would certainly seem to portray a positive body relationship, and those involved in these communities are nothing but enthusiastic about their experiences.

Hunter Terrell, 28, of Flagstaff, has performed in "Rocky" for seven years, and he could not agree more with Weddig's sentiments.

"I like putting out good energy," Terrell said. "I like having a positive sexiness that isn't degrading or objectifying. We help you find what is inherent inside you and pull it out."

Cast member Kerri Grove, 18, also of Flagstaff, first saw the movie with her father two years ago. She fell in love with the movie's message and yearned to be a part of the cult classic.

"['Rocky'] is an accepting community that draws people to it, rather than away," Grove said. "You can just be yourself, and that's rare these days. No one is judging you, you know? If you're gay, you're safe here. If you're straight, you're safe here."

Antoinette, a mother of four, will sometimes bring her two teenage sons to the shows.

"It (the movie) deals with the timeless issue of acceptance," Antoinette explained. "The issues that are facing Brad and Janet and the other characters, like exploration of self, those exist today, as they did back then."

Just like Dr. Frank-N-Furter sings at the film's climax, BBnG hopes you "don't dream it, be it" -- maybe by even joining their troupe.

For more information on their Deer Valley, Maricopa, Mesa and Scottsdale Halloween shows, visit their website or their Facebook page.

Lauren Berkley, Web Editor

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