BWW Reviews: THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW CONCERT VERSION at Pioneer Theatre Company
It's astounding. Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll...
Pioneer Theatre Company - in its first foray into a limited-engagement, concert-only staging as an add-on to its regular season - invites theatergoers to come up to the lab to see what's on the slab.
"The Rocky Horror Show Concert Version" at PTC is irreverently and deliriously fun. The wickedly wayward staging of the camp classic transfixed its opening-night audience with superb talent and precise direction.
The company scored a major coup to cast Tony Vincent as Dr. Frank N. Furter, who was transported from the planet Transsexual in the Transylvanian galaxy. The breakout star from "The Voice" has played lead Broadway roles in epic rock musicals - including Judas in "Jesus Christ Superstar" and St. Jimmy in "Green Day's American Idiot" - and is one sweet transvestite. He has a commanding stage presence and a colorful rock 'n' roll powerhouse voice to make even the throwaway "Planet Schmanet" memorable. Vincent brings flamboyant menace and an appealing snarl to the role.
As the all-American, virginal couple who find themselves in a creepy castle when their car breaks down in a thunderstorm, Ashley Gardner Carlson and Eric Santagata give witty bona-fide musical comedy performances in the cardboard roles to make the characters genuine and fresh.
The other players and the ensemble have a tight chemistry that plays well onstage and brings the show to a new level.
Vincent, Carlson and Santagata are the on-stage stars of the evening, but three other expert directors play a huge role in make the production successful. As director and choreographer, Karen Azenberg shows her stellar talent in helming a production. Helen Gregory is the show's majestic music director while also playing keyboards. There is not much better than music that puts you in such a good mood that you want to get up and dance, and Gregory and her four-man band deserve to be credited.
Aaron Swenson is the masterful costume designer. He takes the iconic designs and adds a modern, elegant swagger that is wonderfully appealing and creatively appealing. The costumes for Frank are especially first-rate, but each wardrobe piece shows dazzling creativity.
The production embraces the campiness of the musical and gives it a steroid shot to create an amazing night of entertainment.