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|The Rocky Horror Show
Broadway Cast CD
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When the Rocky Horror Show was first appeared in New York a year or two after it had taken London by storm it shall we say....bombed. Rocky as the original show never really caught America's imagination, whereas in the UK and most other places in the world it has been a success for nearly thirty years.
The movie the Rocky Horror Picture Show however inspired the first talk-back lines in the USA. Later the UK audiences would start talk-back for the stage productions, and the show got bigger, and many people would say, better as the years went by.
Listening to this CD my first impression was how close to a present day UK stage production everything sounds (with a couple of noticeable exceptions). Jordan Roth is to be congratulated for producing the kind of show in the USA that we have enjoyed for many years. We often receive messages at TimeWarp from the USA asking why they made a stage show of the movie, fortunately this production is the show itself, not some pale version of the 1975 movie.
A lot of love has gone into this CD, the packaging is well thought out with a nice shot of the stage revolving as a backdrop to the CD holder section. A sixteen page booklet is also included which gives a nice insight into the production and the cast.
One thing some people may find a little strange to start is the character of Eddie/Dr.Scott is played by Lea DeLaria (yep it's a woman), personally I liked this idea, although I found her Dr.Scott a little more like Dr.Strangelove.
I'll leave the rest of the reviewing to Rob, overall I can say I enjoyed this CD, PLAY IT LOUD!!!
Total Playing Time 56:43
Sunday, 27th July, 2000
A brief, but effective, overture gives way to a fine version of 'Science Fiction - Double Feature', sung as a duet by both Magenta and Columbia as Usherettes. 'The Time Warp' rocks, and I mean it REALLY ROCKS, and 'Once In A While' truly stands out, with one of the most beautiful arrangements I've heard on any ROCKY recording, incorporating an extremely effective backing of 'I Can Make You a Man' as the Phantom Janets taunt Brad by becoming Phantom Franks. Inspired.
As for the cast, it's hard to pick the particular standouts, as all are excellent. Tom Hewitt makes a very raunchy Frank-n-Furter, delivering a mean 'Sweet Transvestite', helped tremendously by a superb arrangement and fabulous backing. While it sounds odd, at first, to hear a female voice as Eddie/Dr. Scott, it's worth remembering that this is THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, with it's healthy disregard for traditional sexual stereotypes and gender pidgeon-holing, and Lea Delaria delivers her songs with incredible energy and enthusiasm.
Jarrod Emick and Alice Ripley (Brad and Janet) are wonderful, as is Kristen Lee Kelly as Columbia, replacing Joan Jett who doesn't appear on the album due to legal difficulties with her own record label. Incidentally, the recording loses very little from Joan's absence (apart from her 'Time Warp' guitar solo, and the opportunity for the producers to use her name to help sell the disc).
The album itself is beautifully produced, with a striking head-shot of Tom Hewitt as Frank on the cover, extensive liner notes, and several colour photos (including one of Alice Ripley in her 'Floorshow' outfit, which is a gorgeous picture). This landmark Cast Recording is an essential purchase, and a more than worthy addition to any ROCKY HORROR collection. Go on, treat yourself.
Rob Bagnall (May 2001).
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