CD The Rocky Horror Picture Show [Original London Cast] [Original Cast Recording/Original London Cast/Original Soundtrack] (CD 6643493),
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The Rocky Horror Picture Show [Original London Cast] [Original Cast Recording/Original London Cast/Original Soundtrack]

  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 6040

  • Credits
    ProducerJonathan King
    Engineer

    Cast includes: Tim Curry (Frank N' Furter); Richard O'Brien (Riff Raff); Little Nell (Colombia); Patricia Quinn (Magenta).
    Original cast includes: Tim Curry (Frank N Furter); Richard O'Brien (Riff Raff); Little Nell (Colombia); Patricia Quinn (Magenta).
    When Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show opened on June 19, 1973, at the Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court Theatre in London (the British equivalent of off-, or rather off-off-Broadway), it looked and sounded as though he had written it while simultaneously listening to David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and watching a 1950s horror/science fiction film festival. O'Brien grasped the essence of the then-popular glam rock style -- that it was old-time rock & roll dressed up in androgynous costumes and makeup -- and he mixed that understanding with a fascination for the cheap genre movies that Hollywood and England's Hammer Studios ground out for drive-in consumption, an appropriate source at a time when '50s nostalgia was another popular trend.
    Thus, the briskly paced, intermissionless 90-minute show told the story of an all-American couple, Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, who become engaged and take a car trip to visit the science teacher in whose class they met. Encountering a rainstorm and a flat tire, they stop to ask for help at a mysterious castle where they meet Frank-N-Furter, a mad scientist and transvestite who has just finished assembling a man in his laboratory. The conventional turns of the horror film plot are replaced by sexual initiation (the subtext of those old movies).
    It's all buoyed along by O'Brien's clever musical pastiches of rock & roll, including a dance song, "Time Warp," a longing for the good old days, "Hot Patootie (Bless My Soul)," and, most memorably, the song that introduces Frank-N-Furter, "Sweet Transvestite." Part of what makes that song so striking is the performance of Tim Curry. Curry throws himself into the part, mixing Dr. Frankenstein and Dracula with Joan Crawford and Mick Jagger in a bravura performance that turned out to be indelible. The cast album, featuring a five-piece band, is a rudimentary affair, but the performances are enthusiastic.
    The score and Curry proved an immediate draw, and The Rocky Horror Show became a long-running hit in London, racking up 2,358 performances in a series of converted movie houses before it finally moved into the Comedy Theatre in the West End and ran another 600 performances. By then, of course, largely due to the movie version, the show had become an international phenomenon. ~ William Ruhlmann

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