Taking the lead from Page to Stage with “Rocky Horror Show” director Julia Hersum

Julia Hersum, left, directing Page to Stage's production of "Rocky Horror Picture Show." This rehearsal was Sunday, Oct. 9 in ITE C-80. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

It’s time to break out the fishnets, pink gloves and crazy costumes as the University of Connecticut presents “The Rocky Horror Show,” directed by seventh-semester physiology and neurobiology major Julia Hersum, who plans to engage the audience with direct involvement and encourage social justice.

“I decided to direct the ‘Rocky Horror Show’ because I thought it was a great vessel to talk about being comfortable with one's identity and sexuality, which I think is a very relevant topic on a college campus,” Hersum said. “It is also a fun show with catchy rock songs and opportunities for audience involvement.”

Page to Stage productions has been a UConn theater club for three years, and the organization focuses on making plays that combine social awareness.

“Last semester we put on ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and donated all proceeds to the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Eastern Connecticut,” Hersum said. “We hope to work with the Rainbow Center this semester to have a talk about LGBTQ+ issues after the show.”

Page to Stage also featured one of Hersum’s own plays back in spring 2015 at Stafford Teen night, a UConn community outreach program for children and adolescents.

Titled ‘How to be a Successful Villain,’ Hersum said the play was about incompetent students who tried to re-capture a 12-year-old superhero, but failed miserably every step of the way.

Hersum said that picking the cast was based on a mix of criteria from acting to singing down to the overall chemistry between the actors.

Members of UConn's Page to Stage rehearse for their production of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016 in ITE C-80. The play will open on Nov. 4 and will run through Nov. 5. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Hersum’s interest in theater began back in high school after a friend convinced her to audition for one of the high school plays. Hersum continued to perform in numerous shows, which sparked her passion for directing.

“I love creating my own message through a story and collaborating with actors, techies and designers to create something unique.”  Hersum said.

The theater club has not been without their problems. The major challenge that the production company faced was negotiating the rights to produce the “Rocky Horror Show” play on campus.  

She encourages everyone who wants to attend to wear a costume although it is not required. Hersum hopes to encourage people to wear anything that makes them feel comfortable and to enjoy the show.

“I hope that the audience will have fun at this show, laugh, be shocked at times, but also consider what they would do differently if they didn’t have to live up to traditional expectations.” Hersum said.

“The Rocky Horror Show” will perform on Friday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. in ITE C80.

Arlene Blum is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at arlene.blum@uconn.edu.