Raleigh, NC-based Broadway Series South, in conjunction with City Stage of Wilmington, NC, will present five performances of the outrageously offbeat 1973 British musical-turned-cult film, The Rocky Horror Show, with music, lyrics, and book by Richard O’Brien, on Oct. 28-31 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. The stage musical premiered on June 19, 1973 in the 60-seat Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in London, later transferred to the Chelsea Classic Cinema and other locations, and racked up 2,960 performances in London by 1980.
“I love the energy surrounding the show and the fact that it’s an iconic piece,” confesses director Justin Smith. “I also love the music. I wanted to direct it, because I’ve known the show very well for the last 15 years, and I wanted a crack at directing it.
The Rocky Horror Show made its Broadway debut, directed by Jim Sharman, on March 10, 1975 at the Belasco Theatre, where it played for 45 performances before closing on April 5, 1975. That show starred Tim Curry as mad scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter; Bill Miller as hero Brad Majors; Abigale Haness as heroine Janet Weiss; rock star Meat Loaf as ex-delivery boy Eddie and rival Scientist Dr. Everett V. Scott; and composer, lyricist, and librettist Richard O’Brien as handyman Riff Raff. (There was a much longer-lived 2000-02 Broadway revival, starring Tom Hewitt as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, which ran for 437 performances and received five 2001 Tony Award® nominations, plus five 2001 Drama Desk Award nominations, including the Tony and Drama Desk Award awards for best revival of a musical.)
The 1975 British motion-picture adaptation of the London and New York musical, rechristened as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and directed by Jim Sharman from a screenplay by Sharman and Richard O’Brien, starred Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Barry Bostwick as Brad Majors, Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss, Meat Loaf as Eddie, Jonathan Adams as Dr. Scott, and Richard O’Brien as Riff Raff. The Rocky Horror Picture Show became a wildly popular cult movie, which still is screened at midnight every Friday night at The Rialto Theatre in Raleigh (for details, see http://www.lickitlips.com/). The film was inducted into the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films’ Hall of Fame in 1980.
Rocky Horror Show director Justin Smith recalls, “I first saw [The Rocky Horror Picture Show] around 15 years ago at a cast party (mid-1980s). I didn’t see the play until many years later. I have produced this show two times. I played Frank-N-Furter the second time, which was in 2006. We produced it at City Stage in Wilmington, NC [earlier this month].”
When the curtain rises, Smith says, “Two clean-cut young people, Brad Majors (Zack Simcoe) and his fiancée Janet Weiss (Morganna Bridgers), are on the way to visit an old college professor when they run into trouble and seek help at the freaky Frankenstein mansion. Little did they know that the mansion is inhabited by alien transsexuals from the planet Transylvania, and Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Dean Jones) is in the midst of one of his maniacal experiments.
In addition to director Justin Smith, the Carolina Theatre Group, LLC creative team for this production of The Rocky Horror Show includes assistant director Alex Adams, choreographer Kevin Green, musical director Chiaki Ito, technical director Mike O’Neal, set designer Scenic Asylum, lighting designer Tara Noland, costume designer Briton Campbell, properties manager Morganna Bridgers, sound designer Sound Wave Audio, and stage manager Michelle Ponton.
Director Justin Smith says the show’s set is “a castle with accoutrements to put on a show”; the lighting is “rock-and-roll style”; and the costumes are “Rocky Horror-traditional meets Moulin Rouge meets Marilyn Manson meets WWE [World Wrestling Entertainment].”
He adds, “The major challenge [in staging The Rocky Horror Show] is that everyone knows this show, so we have to stick to the script, but yet [find] new and creative ways to perform this show. I think we’ve been very true to the original while modernizing the intangibles.
“We’ve used pre-show music,” Smith notes, “and our phantoms are doing pretty crazy things. Back in the 1970s, they pushed the envelope; and I believe that we’ve sustained the shock value for the 2010 audiences….
“But the main thing [for the audience] is to have a good time,” says Justin Smith. “We encourage you to use callbacks that are fitting with the show. Unfortunately, we do not allow anything to be thrown at the stage, because of the safety concerns for the actors on stage. But. believe me, you won’t miss that aspect of the show!”
SECOND OPINION: Oct. 12th Wilmington, NC Encore Online review by Carly Yansak: http://www.encorepub.com/read_articles.php?r=read&cat_id=44§ion_id=3; and Oct. 12th Wilmington, NC Star-News review by John Staton: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20101012/ARTICLES/101019899/1050?p=1&tc=pg.
Broadway Series South, in conjunction with City Stage of Wilmington, NC, will present presents Richard O’Brien’s THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW at 8 p.m. Oct. 28 and 29, 8 and 11 p.m. Oct. 30, and 8 p.m. Oct. 31 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
BOX OFFICE: Progress Energy Center Box Office: 919/831-6060 (information only). Ticketmaster: 800/745-3000, 919/834-4000, or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115203/804241.
Broadway Series South: http://www.broadwayseriessouth.com/.
City Stage: http://www.citystageatlevel5.com/.
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh (http://www.artsaccessinc.org/) will audio describe the 8 p.m. Oct. 31st performance.
The Musical: http://www.rockymusic.org/tags/Rocky+Horror+Show.php (official web page), http://www.rockyshows.net/ (RockyShows.net), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rocky_Horror_Show (Wikipedia), http://www.rockyhorror.co.uk/ (2010 U.K. Tour), http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?ID=7582 (Internet Broadway Database).
Richard O’Brien: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_O’Brien (Wikipedia), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=8321 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0639782/ (Internet Movie Database).
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