Jonathan Pennington, Founder and Producing Artistic Director of the Roxie Theatre, has some big changes to announce.
The space on Callaghan Road has undergone some major renovations. Now, in addition to the main stage, two new performance spaces have been added: the Basement Theatre and the Studio 333 Lounge.
Pennington’s ambitious goal is to eventually have a different production playing in one of the spaces every night of the week. “We’ve seen an encouraging increase in attendance over the last few months,” he told ArtScene SA. “I think San Antonians will welcome the opportunity to see a different show every night.”
Work has already begun on his goal. Evil Dead: the Musical is set to open July 11 in the Basement Theatre, which has its own entrance and a semi-permanent set. “When you walk through the door, you’re taken into a creepy ‘cabin in the woods’ environment,” he said. “It’s got that old wood look and rustic feel. My designer, Chris Rutz, has done such a great job with the set. It really feels like you’re there.”
This version of Evil Dead is set to be an immersive experience. The cast will interact with the audience, and the front row is a designated ‘splash zone.’ It is scheduled to play every other Thursday, but Pennington is hoping to add more dates. “Ticket sales have already been really encouraging, so we’ll see how it goes,” he said.
Another musical, Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens, is scheduled to open the Lounge. A campy show with a catchy original score, Pennington describes it as a mashup of Hair, Little Shop of Horrors, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Forbidden Planet, Rocky Horror and Jesus Christ Superstar. Opening date will be announced.
The cult legend The Rocky Horror Show, will be performed on the main stage once a month, starting this coming weekend, with Pennington reprising his role as Frank N. Furter. “This is the perfect show for people to see on a Saturday night,” he said. “Everyone knows all the songs and loves all the characters.”
Avenue Q, the puppet musical comedy for adults, is currently playing on Friday nights at 8 p.m. through July 26. “There’s going to be something here for everyone,” he added.
Each show has a different cast, which Pennington says has allowed some fine talent to work their day jobs while still being able to practice their craft in the evenings and on weekends. “This schedule is much easier for the actors to commit to,” he explained. “Everyone has to earn a living on weekdays, but this gives them the opportunity to do what they love. They appreciate that.”
To summarize, Pennington said, “I want theater to be more fun and an entertaining night out, where people feel welcome to come experience our passion — and come back again and again. At the Roxie, everyone’s welcome.”
The Roxie is located at 7460 Callaghan Rd., Suite 333. VIP tickets (with 30-minute early admission and priority seating) are $29 and general admission is $25. Information can be found on the theater’s website.
Feature photo: Evil Dead: the Musical.