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'Minions' bring proton-charged performances


February 19. 2013 1:34PM


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If any cult following can rival that of ??The Rocky Horror Picture Show,? it may just be ??Ghostbusters.?


But a live shadow cast of New York??s favorite parapsychologists? That may just be crossing the streams.


It??s a risk that Minions of Gozer producer/creator Angela Williams was willing to take, and it wouldn??t be the first time. Barred as a child from seeing a film containing evil spirits in her religious home, she fearlessly watched the film again and again as a teenager.


??It was a love affair immediately. Besides getting to watch this movie that was sort of banned in my house, which was really exciting, I probably wouldn??t realize until much later all the nuances of the film ?? great comedy, the awesome portrayal or New York in the 1980s, which I love still,? Williams explained in a recent phone interview.


??When I saw it, it was everything I hoped it would be? I think it was the combination of something so scary with all the comedy. It was this scary, evil thing presented in this hilarious way. I also, from my teenage years, I loved Egon. I had a big crush on Egon.?


While taking a walk with her future husband one day, the 36-year-old Bronx resident came upon the iconic Ghostbusters firehouse on North Moore Street in New York City and decided to start organizing tours with friends of many of the 1984 film??s shooting locations.


??It was the greatest feeling ever. It totally cheered me up on a cold, gray day,? she recalled. ??Wishing I could have that feeling a lot more often, being in this movie that made me so happy, I just started thinking about how to do that for other people, and that sort of lead to the idea of showing the movie and bringing a lot of the elements of the movie to life.?


Named after the movie??s supernatural villain from another dimension, Minions of Gozer spent about a year in development, creating buzz online and getting many people interested in the first auditions. After running a successful Kickstarter campaign to secure funding, the show opened last November with two sold-out nights at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village, which has since served as their home.


??(The IFC was) actually my first choice, which is unbelievable that they were the ones that got back to us. ?The art of shadow casting was born there because it was the Waverly Theater, and that??s really where ??Rocky Horror?? started,? Williams noted.


The group has held eight shows at the IFC Center and one at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in Times Square.


??With all of the work leading up to it, some of it is really fun, some of it can be tedious, but actually being in the theater and doing the show is definitely the best part from start to finish,? Williams said of her first stage production.


??I have a house that??s kind of overrun with proton packs and ghost catching equipment and costumes. I??m literally looking at the Ecto-1 right now because it won??t fit into any of my closets. ?I can??t get away from it.?


Some of the cast and crew have stayed on from the beginning, and several people have had the chance to play various roles in the show, including Williams. They even switched sexes for a Gender Bender Edition to celebrate Gay Pride Week.


Like ??Rocky Horror,? there are cues throughout the film to toss around toast, Twinkies, cotton balls, and more, and co-producer Ryan Espin, who often plays Dr. Peter Venkman, builds silly string proton packs and other equipment, even having a custom puppet of Slimer built by Jay Tyson, better known as Dr. Puppet.


The Minions don??t just reenact what??s on the screen ?? they also answer many fans?? burning questions with additional scenes they wrote called ??unscenes,? which tend to garner the most audience participation.


??I wouldn??t change this movie at all if I could, but if I had to, what would I want to see? So these are sort of things I wanted to see,? she said.


??We show you Egon trying to drill a hole through his head. Egon and Peter talk about that at the beginning of the movie. We show you the sponge migration that Dr. Ray Stantz saw. ?You definitely get to see what is in Walter Peck??s pants.?


While late-night movie-goers may not be ready to trade in their fishnets for proton packs just yet, the ever-growing production won??t be retiring from ??busting any time soon, holding two performances at the IFC Center on Oct. 26 and 27 and one at Times Scare on Oct. 29.


??We??re not sure yet how often we??ll do it. Are we a weekly thing, a twice a year thing? We have no idea. We enjoy doing the show all the time, but I think that it still remains to be seen how often it will be,? Williams admitted.


??I was always surprised that no one had done this before. I thought if I could get it together and do it here, people will totally want to start doing this all over the place.?




Minions of Gozer: Live ??Ghostbusters? Shadow Cast, Oct. 26-27, midnight, IFC Center (323 6th Ave.,New York, NY); Oct. 29, 9 p.m., Times Scare (669 8th Ave., New York, NY)



 
 
 


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