BWW Review: Kick Off the Halloween Season With THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW in Kansas City at Louis Curtiss Studio Building
If I was to have to find one flaw in the ROCKY HORROR SHOW, now playing at the Louis Curtiss Studio Building in Kansas City (formerly Prohibition Hall), it is that I only get to review it once this run. Seeing so many shows each year it is seldom that one comes along that makes me want to see it again. The ROCKY HORROR SHOW by Padgett Productions is definitely one of those shows I could see over and over. Audience participation isn't required but is highly encouraged.
This is the fourth consecutive year for Nick Padgett's production company to bring this campy and hilarious musical horror show to the Kansas City Stage. I have to admit that I am a huge Rocky fan and have seen it several times. Intended for adult audiences this staged performance runs through Halloween night and is the most risqué of any version I have seen.
Leaving the theater I overheard a man and woman talking and the woman gave this show what I feel is the highest compliment it could receive when she said, "I loved it, to be honest, I liked it better than the movie." The movie made its debut in 1975, starring the author Richard O'Brien as Riff Raff, Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss, and Barry Bostwick as Brad Majors. Also appearing in the film was Meatloaf, Little Nell, and Charles Gray.
Inside the theater, I immediately wondered how a play with so many scene changes could be produced on a stage that appeared to lack scenery. On one side of the stage are located large cards with scenes written on them; the church, the lab, the floor show, etc. As Brad and Janet perform "Damn It Janet", a sign that read The Church, made it clear to me how it could be accomplished. The only way to pull it off was to have a fantastic band and a mega-talented cast with voices and choreography that makes you forget the lack of scenery or many props.
Nick Padgett, the Producing Artistic Director for Padgett Productions, directs this tribute to science fiction and horror movies of the '60s and '70s. For this musical, he wears a second hat (or large wig in this case) playing the lead role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. This is the fifth time he has appeared in the role, including the last four years and the first time I have seen him perform it, but I guarantee not the last. He showed his superb acting and vocals, whether singing "Sweet Transvestite", putting the moves on Rocky, or taking a chainsaw to Eddie.
Brandon Olsen is wonderful as Brad Majors and his performance reminds me greatly of Bostwick's in the movie. This is his sixth show with KC Immersive. The recipient of Brad's undying love (until he meets Frank-N-Furter) is Janet Weiss played by Lacy Goettling. This is her fourth appearance as Janet in the ROCKY HORROR SHOW. Her voice is fabulous and she brings an innocence to Janet that might be expected of a young co-ed of the '60s.
Riff Raff is played by Travis Holt and Jill Smith plays his sister Magenta. Their performance of "Time Warp" was exceptional and even though I was sitting in a seat had my feet jumping to the left and stepping to the right. If your not sure what that means you should buy a ticket and discover it for yourself. Christopher Nevins plays Rocky, the creature made in Frank-N-Furter's lab. At midnight performances the role of Rocky is played by Cameron Gunter.
Chelsea Anglemyer stars as Columbia and is exceptional in the role, at times sounding like Little Nell from the movie. She has a beautiful voice and does a splendid job with the tap dance number. She brings an abundance of electricity to the stage in every role I have seen her in. Ray Ettinger is the narrator, Justin Moss stars as Eddie and Dr. Scott, Kristen Altoro (another stand-out voice) appears as Trixie the Usherette, with Elise Campagna, Katie Pugh, and Maria Savoy as Phantoms.
ROCKY HORROR SHOW continues through October 31, with a special Halloween show. To purchase tickets online go to www.rockyhorrorkc.com.
Photos courtesy of Chuck Mason Photography