One of the most sought after collectors items for Rocky fans is the original vinyl LP recording of The Stripper musical by Richard O'Brien and Richard Hartley (original book by Carter Brown). Released in 1982 by RCA records, this is the only recording of the musical that was made available. These records come up once every few years on ebay and other sales sites and can fetch hundreds of pounds/dollars each.
Originally performed by the Sydney Theatre Company, there was a revival of the show at the Queens Theatre, Hornchurch in 2009 and an amazing production at the St James Theatre in London in 2016.
The plot is best summed up by the sleeve notes on the LP.
There's trouble in Pine City. When Patty Keller stands out on a hotel ledge fifteen floors above the street, Lieut Al Wheeler does his best to talk her out of jumping. He fails (FALLING).
Al figures it's a homicide investigation. County Sheriff Lavers figures it's a waste of time. In the course of his peculiarly musical investigation, Al meets some interesting characters, such as Patty's cousin Dolores, the stripper who says it all from the neck down (DEADPAN DOLORES). Patty belonged to a lonely hearts club, she tells Al, and reminds him that even in Southern California, THE LONELY ARE LEGEND.
Sarah and Jacob Arkwright run the Arkwright Happiness Club. Their secretary, Sherry Mendez, looks like she's just stepped out of some latin-American extravaganza. Sarah warns Sherry about getting involved with a detective (MEN LIKE THAT...). Al discovers that Patty's last date, courtesy of the lonely hearts club, was with Harvey Stern, a florist (HEARTS AND FLOWERS).
Combining business with pleasure, Al takes Sherry to the strip club and sees a mind-storming performance by Deadpan Dolores (THE STRIP). Later, in his apartment, Al woos Sherry with a soft, romantic ballad! (MAN OF STEEL).
Back in the Sheriff s office, Al decides to give the thick-headed Sgt Polnik his big break by letting him help out on the case and surround himself with dozens of dames (CRY ON). As the clues start to unravel, and the coincidences pile up, Al is even more convinced that Patty's death was no accident (BEGGING THE QUESTION). Even Sheriff Lavers is having his doubts, but not wanting to over-exert his delicate brain, he pauses for a little police station identification (MAN OF THE PEOPLE).
Suddenly, the recently deceased Harvey Stern makes a confession that is almost lyrical (I CONFESS); but Al doesn't buy it His suspicions are further aroused, along with a few other things, when he discovers Deadpan Dolores asleep in his bed (THERE'S MANY A TRUE WORD SAID IN BED). Once again back in the Sheriff s office, Al must this time face the monster he helped to create: Sgt. Polnik. They share a fantasy (IN THE NIGHT ALL CATS ARE BROWN). In the alley outside the Club Extravaganza, Dolores makes a last ditch effort to win Al over but he is no longer under the Stripper's spell (NOBODY'S FOOL).
The time has come for the final showdown .. . and the truth. Who killed Patty Keller? Al finds out as SARAH SINGS, and the scene is set for a deadly finale. Shots ring out, the corpses pile up, Deadpan Dolores takes a final bow (PLANNING MY BIG EXIT). Once more good has triumphed over the not-so-good.
With the case now solved, Al can take pleasure in the knowledge that, for the time being, there's no TROUBLE IN PINE CITY.
The Stripper LP Front Cover
|Original Australian Cast
- AL WHEELER, Terence Donovan
- PATTY KELLER, Anne Grigg
- SHERIFF LAVERS. Michael Caton
- SGT. POLNIK. John Paramor
- ANNABELLE JACKSON, Barbara Jane Cole
- DOC MURPHY, Jack Webster
- SHERRY MENDEZ, Anne Grigg
- SARAH ARKWRIGHT, Robina Beard
- JACOB ARKWRIGHT, Bob Hornery
- HARVEY STERN, Bob Hornery
- STEVE LOOMAS, D. J. Foster
- DEADPAN DOLORES, Robyn Moase
- MILES ROVAK, Jack Webster
- LOUIS, D. J. Foster
- STRIPPER NO. 1, Barbara Jane Cole
- STRIPPER NO. 2. Robina Beard
- Michael Tyack, Piano
- Peter Dilosa, Trumpet
- Graham Quy, Drums
- Ed Gregson, Guitar
- Wayne Ford, Bass
- BOOK BY, Carter Brown
- LYRICS BY, Richard O'Brien
- MUSIC BY. Richard Hartley
- DIRECTOR. Brian Thomson
- MUSICAL DIRECTOR, Richard Hartley
- CHOREOGRAPHER. Ross Coleman
- SET DESIGNER, Brian Thomson
- COSTUME DESIGNER, Roger Kirk
- LIGHTING DESIGNER, John Rayment
- CONDUCTOR, Michael Tyack
- MUSICAL ARRANGEMENTS, Richard Hartley
- PRODUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY. Brett Hiider
- Recorded at: Leo Recorders
- Engineered by: Spencer Lee
- Produced by: Spencer Lee, Peter Plavsic and Michael Tyack
RCA Records number VPL-1 0401
The Stripper LP Rear Cover
Patty, Al, Polnik, Lavers
- Deadpan Dolores
Doc, Al, Polnik, Lavers
- The Lonely are Legend
- Men Like That
- Hearts and Flowers
- The Strip
- Man of Steel
- Cry On
- Begging the Question
- Man of the People
- I Confess
- There's Many a True Word Said in Bed
- De Noche Todos Los Gatos Son Pardos (In The Night All Cats Are Brown)
- Nobody's Fool
- Sarah Sings
- Planning My Big Exit
- Trouble in Pine City
The Stripper LP Gatefold
The Stripper LP Front and Rear view
Of course the musical was based on the original book by Carter Brown.
Here's the cover of my Third Edition reprint copy of The Stripper featuring a more 70's look to the artwork/photos (I will scan my first edition copy sometime so you can see where the muscial/album image came from).
The book was originally published in 1961. An August 1961 first edition would set you back quite a bit, however you can often find copies second hand on ebay and Amazon for a few pounds.
It's worth a read just to see how the plot is changed slightly in the musical to the original.
The character of Bobo doesn't make it the stage for one.
From the book notes.....
THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE DID A REAL
until a corpse chilled the show. She was a stripper called Deadpan Delores and she was billed as The Girl Who Says It All From The Neck Down, and her spectacular curves were seldom kept under wraps.
When they say her in action, weak mean became strong, kings surrendered their crowns. And Lieut. Al Wheeler almost forgot that he'd come to investigate murder...
1961 First Edition print of the book with original cover.
The same artwork, text and font was used for the LP.
Fan club rep Kev also sent us in some copies of the first two covers which you can find in our page about the Hornchurch prodution - here.
All information and images used for purpose of review on timewarp.org.uk only.