If it’s (almost) Halloween, it’s time for “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Since its release in 1975, the musical horror film has become a cult classic. With midnight showings and audiences miming the action while shouting out lines, generations of punk rockers, genderfluid folks — and many, many others — have embraced the story of a mad scientist/alien transvestite in elaborate costumes.
The “Rocky Horror” trailer is as iconic, provocative, and identifiable as the film itself. Who has not seen the actor with full lips and a sexy voice?
This being “06880,” there is a Westport connection.
The lips and voice belong to Westporter Rhea Ruggiero.
Diehard fans know her name. But not many — including most neighbors — know her story.
Ruggiero began acting in the early 1970s, in TV commercials and off-Broadway plays.
Her route to the trailer — considered the longest-running one in the history of film — began with Jeff Kanew. He went on to direct films like “Revenge of the Nerds” and “Tough Guys.” But at the time, he was the king of trailers.
He knew Ruggiero, and thought she’d be perfect for “Rocky Horror.”
But for over 4 decades, she’s kept quiet about her role.
This month, she’ll begin talking about it. On October 25, she appears at the Palace Theater in Danbury. Her Strand Theater date in Seymour is already sold out. Comic-Con follows soon.
If you’ve ever seen “Rocky Horror,” you can relate to Rhea Ruggiero.
If you never have, you can still appreciate the role our neighbor played in the famous trailer.
And in the words of Dr. Frank N. Furter: “Don’t dream it. Be it.”
FUN FACTS: There are 2 other Westport connections to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Susan Sarandon — who played heroine Janet Weiss — is the mother of actress Eva Amurri, who now lives here. And Meat Loaf (Eddie, the ex-delivery boy) is a former Westporter.