Rocky Horror held in Coaldale to benefit drowning victims
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Volunteer performers pictured during the benefit show from front left are Tonia Girard playing "Columbia", Clint Williams playing "Frank" and Gary 'Spaz" Petresky playing "Rif Raf". From back left are Jen Snyder playing "Janet", Dan Wittig playing "Brad", Crystal Moore playing "Majenta" and Megan Haydt, playing "Dr. Scott."
An entertaining, yet PG rated, tradition was brought back to the Angela Triplex Theater in Coaldale Saturday night during a Rocky Horror Picture Show held to benefit the families of drowning victims Nolan Ritchie, 7, and his grandmother Wanda Wentz, age 49. Both drowned Friday, June 22 in the Lehigh River following a swimming accident. Wentz, Ritchie and another grandchild were reportedly swimming in the river below a trestle that spans the river between Lehighton and Weissport. Reports indicated that two neighbors, a 14-year-old male and 6-year-old female, were walking along the river when a chain of tragic events unfolded.
Police said the female slipped off rocks and into the river under the trestle, an area known for its swirling water. Nolan is the son of Tiffany and Rob Ritchie. Wanda was the mother of Tiffany (Smith) Ritchie.
During the show, a lively crowd of spectators could be seen yelling and dancing as local volunteers acted out characters and parts of the movie on the stage in front of the screen.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 film adaptation of the British rock musical stageplay called The Rocky Horror Show. The film is a parody of B-movie, science fiction and horror films of the late 1940s through early 1970s. Nearly 37 years after its premiere, it is said by fans to be one of the longest-running theatrical releases in film history. It gained additional notoriety as a midnight movie in 1977 when audiences began participating with the film in theatres.
Mike and Deb Danchak, who have owned Angela Triplex Theater since 1993, have held Rocky Horror Picture shows at the theater for about 10 years. All proceeds from the show went to the families of both victims.
According to online fan sites, Rocky Horror is the first film from a major Hollywood studio to be in the midnight movie market and is said to have a large international cult following. In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Benefit organizer Heather Gray, Nolan's aunt, stated her appreciation to the Danchaks, volunteers, performers and supporters for help the raise donations. Donations can still be mailed to 111 Lansford Court, Lansford PA 18232, with "Nolan and Wanda" in the comment line. Donations can also be made online via a PayPal donation link located on the event's Facebook page or by calling Gray at (484) 264-4955.