Local resident making name in cult classic at Dad’s Garage

Tue, 10/18/2005 - 2:59pm
By: Michael Boylan

“Don’t dream it, be it.”

The Rocky Horror Show

Fayetteville resident and Sandy Creek High School graduate Joey Ellington didn’t discover the theater until his freshman year of high school. Even then, he wasn’t thrilled with it until he was cast in the school’s production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors.” It was then that Ellington, now 20, fell in love with musical theatre and now he is in another musical with horror in the title. He plays Brad Majors in the Dad’s Garage production of “The Rocky Horror Show” and the musical has been getting good reviews and selling out most nights.

Ellington participated in numerous shows while in high school, including “Guys and Dolls.” A friend of his urged him to try out for Southside Theatre Guild’s production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and he was cast as Linus. He also performed in Southside’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” in 2004 and appeared in a production of Les Miserables in Clayton County. After graduating high school, Ellington went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City but returned a year later and was cast in the Atlanta Lyric Theatre production of “West Side Story.” it was at this production that Ellington met director Kate Warner. Warner recently became the artistic director at Dad’s Garage in Atlanta and Ellington auditioned for her for “Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical,” where he played the male lead, Rick. He then decided to go out for “Rocky Horror” and was cast as Brad, which presents some challenges for the young actor.

First, he has to find a way to make the character his own, when most of the audience has seen the film countless times and is very familiar with Barry Bostwick’s portrayal of the very square character. Ellington decided to make his Brad a little mousier and squeakier, which makes the character’s transition throughout the play fun to watch. Ellington also has to deal with being stripped to his underwear during the show each night, which Ellington is still not a big fan of.

The show has been a great experience for Ellington and he really enjoys the audience participation, which mimics what seeing the film in a crowded theater is like. The theater sells audience participation kits that include all of the things that the audience needs to properly use during the show; water pistols, toilet paper, rice, etc. The audience is also encouraged to yell out lines and it is clear that they are having a good time, which helps the cast have a good time as well.

As for what’s next for Ellington, he will continue the run of “The Rocky Horror Show,” which runs through this Saturday. he will then perform in the Dad’s Garage production of “Reefer Madness: The Musical” on Halloween. After that, there’s no telling where he will be performing next but he’s looking to stick around the Atlanta theatre scene and continue to work. His advice for young actors and actresses who wish to pursue a career in theatre is to just get out there. He explains the process as the flywheel approach.

“You have to apply constant, good pressure and eventually the wheel will spin on it’s own,” Ellington explained.

If someone had told Ellington that he’d be performing on stages in Atlanta after his first performance in Sandy Creek’s production of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” he would have thought you were crazy. Today, the sky is the limit and with each show, his confidence grows.

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