Step Aside Susan Sarandon, Here Comes Franny Kieffer!

At the late night, double feature picture show, there is girl who shines brighter than the sequined costumes worn by her cast mates and that girl is Franny Kieffer.

In May of 2014, Kieffer joined the cast of Friday Nite Special’s Rocky Horror Picture Show production in Aberdeen, NJ and hasn’t looked back since. Kieffer was inspired to join the cast of the show not only because she found the cast to be a group of warm and accepting people, but because Kieffer has a knack for performing herself.

“In high school I was super involved with the marching band,” said Kieffer, “and I missed performing so much I thought I’d give Rocky a chance.”

A week after her audition on May 18, 2014, Kieffer went straight into preparing for her role. Kieffer auditioned for the role of Janet, the female lead, but she had a long way to go before actually hitting the stage as the leading lady.

Before performing the role of Janet, Kieffer was trained by a fellow cast mate who takes on the role as well; as the cast switches up the parts they play every week, to learn the staging for the songs. As far as learning lines from the movie, it was up to Kieffer to spend her own time studying every line and song of every single character.

On the night of Kieffer’s first show, her debut performance was portrayed as a Transylvanian, or “Transy” as the cast refers to this group of people. The Transies are party goers in the movie that are crucial to one of the most famous scenes in the movie, which is when they do the Time Warp. However, while Kieffer was performing as Time Warping Transy, she had to study the girl playing Janet that evening as well. Despite the rehearsal time Kieffer received, she still needed to observe the girl so she would be prepared when it was her turn to be Janet.

Aside from putting on shows every Friday night in Aberdeen, Kieffer performs with the Friday Nite Specials Rocky Horror cast at different locations throughout the year. Halloween is their busiest season and during this time, they sell out three shows in a weekend with one of those shows being performed at Rutgers University’s New Brunswick campus. 

The cast also has meetings twice a month to discuss ideas for theme for their shows, which have included a Harry Potter theme (suggested by Kieffer herself), a Whore & Gore Friday the 13th/ Valentine’s celebration where audience members wear lingerie covered in blood and most recently a Toga Party.

Kieffer not only has a great time performing with the cast members, who she considers a second family, she has also gained a significant amount of self confidence from being back in the spotlight. 

However, the best thing Kieffer has taken away from Rocky Horror, aside from a major confidence boost and support system, is that she has found a group of people that are just as passionate as she is.

“I love how accepting the environment is and how all of the cast members are all passionate about the same thing,” said Kieffer.

Kieffer’s sorority sisters at Monmouth University have also been very supportive of her participating in Rocky Horror. Many of her sisters have attended her performances, including her Big Sister, one of her Little Sisters, Hannah Mizrahi, and her housemate and best friend Amanda Salerno have all been to the show multiple times.

“I thought the show was great and all of Franny’s cast mates are super cool, too,” said Salerno.

In fact, Kieffer and Salerno recently went on a road trip to Florida with two of Kieffer’s cast mates and plan on living with one of them next year.

Kieffer mentioned how Rocky Horror, as well as her sorority, are both huge time commitments, but Kieffer is determined to be as involved in the two as she possibly can.

Along with taking two more Little Sisters this semester, Kieffer has performed as Janet over six times as well as playing main characters like Columbia and even as Rocky himself. She also has designed flyers for events the Friday Night Specials Cast has hosted as Kieffer is a graphic design major at Monmouth.

Even though this sounds like a lot to handle, Kieffer seems to be doing her best to manage all of her important tasks and being involved equally with all of her activities.

“It’s a big time commitment being in Rocky and the sorority,” said Kieffer, “But I think I do my best to spend time with both groups of people as often as I can.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Franny Kieffer