Most days and nights, Bill Ung is a typical software engineer at IBM. However, his Saturdays at midnight are filled with him constantly getting cursed at and dressing in women’s lingerie.
Ung, a Fountain Valley resident, has been performing with Midnight Insanity, a Rocky Horror Picture Show shadowcast group, for more than 20 years. While Ung has performed nearly every role from the show, he can be most often seen as Brad, who is described by the show’s introduction as a "hero," yet is constantly ridiculed by everyone in attendance.
As a man in his early 20s in April 1989, Ung worked at Kmart and, on a rare weekend off, was invited to go see "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" with some of his coworkers. Not knowing what to expect, Ung accepted the invitation, and instantly fell in love with what he found.
"I’ve coined terms of it over the years," Ung said. "It’s this unbridled chaos. It’s electric, filled with energy with so much enthusiasm in one spot."
Soon after his discovery of the show, Ung began performing as a Transylvanian until his first performance as Brad, despite having no previous theatrical experience.
Ung said he enjoyed spending time with the cast because they could have fun without the influences of drugs or alcohol. Instead of partying, the cast would go to Denny’s for three hours after every performance and have conversations.
Aside from Midnight Insanity, Ung has performed at various conventions, movie studio anniversary shows – including one at the Hollywood Bowl – and even alongside some of the film’s original cast members.
Now in his early 40s, Ung is recently engaged to a woman he met at Rocky, which he says he is excited about, but doesn’t know what that could mean for his involvement with the show.
"[My fiancé] is in full support of my continuing to do Rocky Horror," Ung said. "But I don’t know how much I’m going to want to do it after marriage, family life and stuff like that. But only time will tell."
Ung and the rest of the Midnight Insanity cast perform every Saturday at midnight at the Art Theatre, 2025 E. 4th St., in Long Beach. For more information, visit midnightinsanity.org.