BWW Interview: From Rocky to Brad to Frank - Craig Urbani's Third Take in THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW
With its announcement late last month, South Africa is shivering with anticipation over THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW's arrival to Artscape and Montecasino later this year. Leading man Craig Urbani chats to BroadwayWorld South Africa about his history with Richard O'Brien's beloved rock 'n roll musical, and how he's approaching the fantastical Frank N. Furter.
BWW: Congratulations on landing this cult classic role as Dr Frank N. Furter! What was it like finding out?
Craig: I was ecstatic to land the role! It's one of my dream parts and one I've secretly been putting out into the universe for a good few years now!
I read your first professional production was in THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW in 1992. Can you tell us a bit about that experience?
My first professional job was in Colin Laws' superb production of THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW in 1992. I loved playing the creature created! But I think I'm going to love playing the creator even more! See what I did there?! It is a show much loved by South African audiences and that production was superb with performers like Jeremy Crutchley, Ian Von Memerty and David Dennis all turning in mind blowing performances.
Did you ever think you'd be returning to the show 27 years later or did you always hope you would?
I'd always hoped to return to the show. I played Brad Majors to Samantha Peo's Janet in 1993 in Durban so this will be my third character in the piece. Saved the best for last!
It's safe to say Frank N. Furter is an iconic character and those who haven't seen the stage production will be familiar with Tim Curry in the movie role. How are you going to make your portrayal unique?
Tim Curry immortalized the role on screen and I always hear his line readings and delivery in my head regardless of how many Franks I've seen on stage - and I've seen many! I guess the only thing I can try and do is maintain the flavor of his portrayal without emulating or mimicking him too much.
What is the most intimidating aspect of the role for you?
It is daunting to play this iconic character because I think everyone arrives with an expectation of seeing Tim Curry incarnate. They know how it's meant to sound and look. This makes people a little reluctant to see someone give it a new spin! I guess it'll be a balance of stealing the Tim Curryisms that they want and creating a few Urbanisms too.
And what number are you most looking forward to performing? (if you could only choose one!)
Sweet Transvestite without a doubt!
We last saw you as Billy Flynn in CHICAGO. Flynn and Furter seem like pretty opposing characters; how have you honed your talent to be so versatile as a performer?
Well Billy is a lot more sophisticated, refined and subtle. But both are extremely intelligent and rather dangerous creatures that you don't want to upset. So give Billy what he needs to win and give Frank what he needs to experience absolute pleasure.
Buddy Holly, Captain Von Trapp, Danny Zuko, Billy Fynn, and now Frank N. Furter: what other lead roles would you hope to see in your future?
I asked God for Billy and Frank and he decided to bless me with both this year! I'm unbelievably grateful and excited. I not sure what's next for me. Are they doing THE GREATEST SHOWMAN on stage?! Mmmm...
Lastly, what will make this production of ROCKY HORROR stand out from what South African audiences have seen before?
This production from London stays very loyal to the flavor and feel of the movie. The attitude is "if it ain't broke!!" and I love that!
THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW will be performed at Artscape Opera House from 6 December 2019 to 12 January 2020, and at Teatro, Montecasino from 17 January 2020 to 1 March 2020. Tickets ranging from R100 to R500 can be booked via Computicket outlets or by following this link.