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First Person

‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and its Brad move to new Boston location

Actor and Allston resident Arthur Laurie talks about the Harvard Square cast, now performing at the AMC theater at the Common .

When not acting, Arthur Laurie works as a federal police officer in Jamaica Plain.

Photograph by Josh Reynolds

When not acting, Arthur Laurie works as a federal police officer in Jamaica Plain.

I first saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1978, and I didn’t understand it. When I went in ’79, everyone was dressed up. My friend and I went with rice and toast. I GOT HOOKED. We started showing up in costume on Friday and Saturday nights at the Exeter Street Theatre. One Friday, somebody grabbed me and said: “HEY, WE DON’T HAVE A BRAD. CAN YOU DO IT?” She pulled me onstage, and I was horrified. That was my first show. Then I started being a regular Friday guy.

In 2000, I started performing at the Harvard Square theater full time as a volunteer. I’m a police officer at the veterans’ hospital in Jamaica Plain. I was a Boston cop for 10 years. If you’re doing Rocky, cops don’t really consider that manly. THE MACHISMO ATTITUDE DROVE ME CRAZY, because these actors were nice people, not a bunch of freaks. These were friends. I met my wife there; she was the tech director for the show.

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It hasn’t quite hit me there’s no theater in Harvard Square anymore. SOME PEOPLE WERE IN TEARS THE LAST FEW SHOWS. We’ll lose some audience members, because New Englanders are fanatical, and they’re like: “Well, if it’s not in Harvard Square, then I don’t care. I’m not going.” But for the most part, we’ll get a good portion of our audience, and we’re going to pick up a lot of new people.

I have to start thinking about when is the time to pull the plug. I’M IN FAIRLY DECENT SHAPE FOR A 50-YEAR-OLD. You have to be, because you’re working with 20- and 25-year-olds who can eat anything they want. I’VE GOT TO PUT ON FISHNETS AND CORSETS. They’ve got to fit, and I’ve got to look reasonably well.

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