FLASH FRIDAY: ROCKY HORROR - 40 Years Of Absolute Pleasure
On August 14, 1974, the first stateside performance occurred of an outrageous and daring new musical that had already made something of a splash in the UK, but would prove to be one of the weirdest and wildest shows ever staged anywhere - THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW.
"Give yourself over to absolute pleasure," sings transsexual Transylvanian Dr. Frank N. Furter in the thrilling and climactic capper to the Floor Show sequence in creator/actor Richard O'Brien's bizarre and endlessly entertaining musical spoof THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW. And, so, too, goes the motto of the musical itself - particularly its characters, and, most of all, its rabid fans. After all, perhaps no other musical storytelling entity on the planet commands quite the vociferous, vocal and proud support of such a large community than that of the ROCKY HORROR groupies - many of them going strong in fishnet stockings and sky-high stilettos for more than thirty years now as the show inches ever closer to its fortieth anniversary.
Yes, indeed, there is something unmistakably unique and oddly alluring about the tale of two all-American teens on the day of their nuptials who come upon a castle straight out of Hammer horror - complete with the far-out cast of characters contained within; many of them actually coming from another universe entirely (as we eventually come to find out) - and proceed to go on a journey testing limits probably neither one of them were ever aware even existed; moral, sexual and even planetary.
Then, there are the spectacular performance opportunities - all of them!
Besides two smashing duets for leads Brad and Janet to kick off the show following a stirring B-movie homage opening song ("Science Fiction, Double Feature"), the musical showcases afforded star player Frank N Furter are decadently delectable - from the David Bowie-esque establishing song "Sweet Transvestite" through to the rocking "I'll Make You A Man" as well as the acid-laced "Planet, Schmanet, Janet" and the unforgettable aforementioned Floor Show sequence, featuring perhaps the highlight of the entire score at its stirring conclusion, the evocative torch song "I'm Going Home". The group numbers score, as well - particularly, of course, the instant earworm, "The Time Warp". The various actors inhabiting the roles in ROCKY HORROR onstage, then and now - and, also, in the iconic film version; titled, of course, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW - are given delightfully twisted and quite daring moments to devour and deliver, with everything from B-movie horror to pure camp to transvestism to melodrama and much more on the varied menu. It's a mélange of a musical, to say the very least, but when it works - as it does in the film and certainly did on Broadway in the smashing 2000 revival - it's nearly divine.
THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW celebrates nearly forty years on this lonely planet and for that a celebration fit for Frank N Furter and crew is all-too apt - actually, it's really just so fabulous that it would be almost rude to refuse to fete it at this point. Let's now end the antici... pation.
I'm Going Home
So, now, let's take a look at some of the highlights from the rich and colorful history of THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW onstage and onscreen - 1973 UK to LA in 1974 to Broadway (twice) to the big screen, GLEE and beyond!
Also, stay tuned to BroadwayWorld for an extensive InDepth InterView with ROCKY HORROR Broadway and film star Meat Loaf coming up soon!
First up, the opening number - "Science Fiction, Double Feature" - as it was originally performed as The Royal Court Theatre Upstairs by Patricia Quinn in 1973.
Next, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick sing "Dammit, Janet" in the classic cinema adaptation of ROCKY HORROR.
Meat Loaf performs the addictive "Hot Patootie" with characteristic pizzazz in his idiosyncratic cameo role of Eddie.
Tim Curry elegantly essays the career-defining character of Dr. Frank N Furter with the singular "Sweet Transvestite".
The Broadway revival cast, led by Tom Hewitt, performed "The Time Warp" on the 2000 Tony Awards.
Now, take a look behind the scenes of THE ROCKY HORROR GLEE SHOW with the cast of the TV musical hit.
Give yourself over to Jayma Mays and Matthew Morrison with "Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me" on THE ROCKY HORROR GLEE SHOW.
Also, view this documentary all about the fan worship for ROCKY HORROR and how it all functions at the infamous interactive live shows that continue around the world at midnight showings of the film to this very day.
Lastly, take a peek at Terrence Mann as Frank in the Broadway revival with the superb "I'm Going Home".
As a special bonus, check out this preview of the 40th anniversary UK tour of THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW starring Oliver Thornton.
So, what exactly is it about THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW that holds us so tight in its perfectly manicured grasp all these years after its humble debut? Furthermore, what makes the film such a cinema classic? With recent hits like KINKY BOOTS on the Great White Way, it seems we shall see leggy leading ladies of all different genders continue to strut their stuff onstage for many seasons to come - and, for that, thank ROCKY HORROR (and Frank)!
So, then, when is the next ROCKY HORROR Broadway revival?! Let's all do the Time Warp again!