DOWNERS GROVE – Ruth Fink-Winter’s heroes wear high heels and fishnet stockings, but she and the other members of the Rocky Horror Picture Show shadowcast Completely Crazy will wear more comfortable footwear at this year’s annual “Heroes for Hope” fundraising walk in Downers Grove.
Fink-Winter, her husband Wally Barsell, and other members of their amateur theatrical group will walk through downtown Downers Grove in their Rocky Horror costumes – with sneakers instead of heals – for the annual fundraiser. It departs Sunday morning from North High School.
Fink-Winter performs as Magenta, the French Maid, and Barsell is the cross-dressing Frank-N-Furter. It’s a safe bet that the group will have costumes fairly different from the other walking teams dressed as traditional superheroes like Spider-Man.
“We really enjoyed it last year,” Fink-Winter said. “We were more concerned with staying warm than being self-conscious.
“People were really pretty cool about it. Somebody started singing ‘The Time Warp’ when we got close to the finish line. People knew who we were, instead of, ‘Who in the heck is that?’”
Completely Crazy is a shadowcast, meaning it performs in full costumes and make up, with a lighting and props crew, in front of the screen during Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight screenings every Saturday at the Hollywood Boulevard theater in Woodridge. The group has performed there since 2004.
The camp classic has played continually in theaters across the country since its premier in 1975. The audience is encouraged to shout lines during screenings, in addition to partaking in rituals like throwing rice that have become part of the experience.
Fink-Winter has been in the Completely Crazy shadowcast since 1989.
Completely Crazy was the top fundraising team in the walk last year, raising more than $3,000. They are on track to do it again this year, having raised $3,800 as of Oct. 14.
The walk benefits Family Shelter Service, a domestic violence shelter with multiple branches in DuPage County.
Fink-Winter was introduced to Rocky Horror by the songs, first, she said.
“My father actually saw the film in the late ‘70s, liked the music, brought home the soundtrack,” she said. “And I fell in love with the music when I was a little kid.”
She saw the musical for the first time in 1986, and a few years later joined the shadowcast.
She and her husband met in the group, as well.
“It’s like, OK, we are freaky kids dancing around in our fishnets,” she said. “But Rocky Horror people have big hearts. If it’s Saturday and it’s midnight, it’s somewhere you’ll fit in.
“There really is more to it than people being self-indulgent, throwing rice in a movie theater. It’s like family almost. My husband and I are not the only people who’ve met at Rocky Horror who’ve ended up spending their lives together.”