Austin Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:44 am 
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http://www.post-trib.com/news/lake/2077 ... 02.article

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HOBART -- In the early hours of Sunday morning, as he had nearly every weekend for 12 years, Derrick "Fester" Dawson was doing what he loved.

But it would be the last time.

Backstage at the Art Theatre, the Hanna resident collapsed after nailing his performance of "Hot Patootie (Bless My Soul)" and racing backstage, pursued by an ax-wielding Dr. Frank N. Furter during one of the opening scenes of the cult film "Rocky Horror Picture Show."

But Dawson, who often played the role of Eddie and almost never missed one of the weekly midnight "Rocky Horror" shows at the Art, wasn't acting. The 30-year-old had suffered a stroke. He left the theater in an ambulance that came to the back door of the theater to keep from disrupting the show.

"Knowing him to be the consummate professional he was, we knew he would've wanted us to continue the show," said Ed Lipinsky, who met the bald-headed, burly Dawson at a "Rocky Horror" show 12 years ago at the Crossroads Cinema in Merrillville.

"We actually talked about it more than once over the years. If we were ever going to go out, the way to go was after killing at 'Hot Patootie,'" said Lipinsky, who traded the role of Eddie with Dawson.

"He was a guy who really got to go doing exactly what he loved."

The gender-bending, science-fiction musical "Rocky Horror" has cultivated a devoted group of fans since its debut in theaters in 1973. The movie, based on a British musical, tells the story of a pair of newlyweds who wander into a castle filled with libidinous aliens from Transsexual, Transylvania.

Soon after its release, fans dressed (and often cross-dressed) as cast members began performing the song and dance numbers along with the movie.

Theaters across the country have midnight screenings every weekend, and something drew Dawson deeply into the "Rocky Horror" subculture, said Shawn Stutler, who owned the Crossroads.

"It was a huge part of his life. He was kind of awkward and funny-looking, and he just saw in 'Rocky Horror' the opportunity to become a rock star," Stutler said as he drove from his home in New Jersey to attend Dawson's funeral.

Dawson graduated from Kouts High School in 1997. He had participated in plays with a Valparaiso theater troupe, but had lost interest when he saw his first "Rocky Horror" show. He came back the next week, then the next, then asked a "cast" member if he could help. Soon, he was on stage, wearing the leather jacket of bad-boy delivery driver Eddie.

He played the role usually every other week, trading the part with Lipinsky until a back injury forced him to take several months off -- though he videotaped the shows while he was recuperating.

Dawson became active in the national network of "Rocky Horror" fans, attending conventions and even pledging to Lipinsky he hoped to be buried in the jacket he wore while playing Eddie.

Dawson loved movies and comic books, and was taking classes at Purdue North Central, Lipinsky said. Dawson hoped to become a movie critic.

Saturday's show was Dawson's first performance since his back injury.

"He never phoned it in. He always gave 100 percent, and he was really worked up about the show Saturday," Lipinsky said. "When he walked off, I was ready to tell him he really hit it. He was perfect."

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RockyMusic.org / AustinRocky.org


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:07 pm 
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Compounding the irony, he's an ex-delivery boy according to his obituary:

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nwitim ... =140181223
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Derrick Allen "Fester" Dawson, 30, of Hanna, formerly of Kouts, passed away Sunday, February 28, 2010 at St. Mary's Hospital in Hobart. He was born July 16, 1979 in Knox, graduated from Kouts High School in 1997, attended Cornerstone Community Church and was currently enrolled at Purdue North Central. Derrick had been a deliveryman for Jimmy John's and J.J.'s Pizza Shack in Michigan City on his way up, but will be remembered by many as a member of the cast of local "Rocky Horror Picture Show" productions. His death followed his last performance in Hobart. Survivors include his parents: Kirby and Cheryl Dawson of Hanna; brother, Bryan Dawson of Hanna; grandparents: William and Kiko Dawson of Valparaiso and many loving aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by grandparents: Harold and Eileen Galbreath.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:51 pm 
Closet Thespian
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Holy Shit.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:54 pm 
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to bad sounded like a Cool guy

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:21 pm 
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well he when out doing what he loved.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:53 am 
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JW shawn how the heck do you find this stuff?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:19 am 
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In this particular case, Google News. I'm subscribed to a weekly news feed for the search term 'Rocky Horror'.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:18 pm 
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oh cool well thank you for sharing the story with us

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:19 pm 
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He was from the Help Me Mommy cast in Hobart, IN.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:43 pm 
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My name is arica, and I've been a member of Help Me Mommy for the past 4 years. I remember meeting Fester at the Crossroads on my virgin night. He was a very large, intimidating guy, and like most rocky cast members, he could sniff out a shy virgin. I'll never forget him, his amazing Divine impressions, adult diapers, or tiny red panties. The night he died was the hardest night of Rocky Horror I believe anyone had to experience. The four years I knew this man, I wouldn't trade for the world. Not even the times I wanted to strangle him. Every single world in the preceeding articles about him is true. Ed and Shaun knew him well, and I'm honored to even be part of these three fantastic men's lives.

The night he died he was in rare form. On his way backstage, he passed everyone with a big, stupid grin, a wink, and a thumbs-up. I've never seen anyone perform Eddie as well since.

We had to put off doing a memorial show for a week, since our next performance was a Kung-Fu night. But on his mememorial show, we had a row of cast members in all black, holding those self-lighting Uncle Fester light bulbs. During hot patootie, we had a cast member dressed in all black carry around a male blow-up doll with Fester's face plastered on it performing Eddie. We found it very fitting and appropriate. I don't think his family agreed as they left during the scene. Ha ha ha!!! He would've loved that. During dinner scene, when the audience usually chants "his name was robert paulson", our cast to this day still says "his name was derrick dawson." It creeps me out how perfectly that fits. The bastard probably would've planned his death this way if he was given the chance!! xD

I love you, Fester, and miss you everyday. I hate you for going out like this, though. Do you know how hard it is to concentrate on performing when I have stand or pass over the spot where you died?? Bastard. :P
Much love, you silly fucker,
arica.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:53 pm 
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Thank you for telling us more about Fester, Arica. I think I would've liked the man a lot if we had met... I've always said I would probably haunt the theater when I'm gone, because i doubt even dying would make me want to stop coming to Rocky...


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