As in a Science Fiction Double Feature, The Rocky Horror Show was written as a tribute to the science fiction and horror "B movies" of the 1930s through 1960s. Richard O'Brien, an out of work actor at the time, wrote The Rocky Horror Show, originally called They Came From Denton High, to keep himself busy; something I think we can all relate to thanks to a year of quarantine.
O’Brien describes the show. “The plot and dialogue for The Rocky Horror Show are raids on populist things: from advertising, from comics, from B movies, from sci-fi. It’s a complete and utter raid upon all those elements; a joyous raid.”
“It’s a complete and utter raid upon all those elements; a joyous raid.”
It opened in London on June 19, 1973 at the Royal Court Theatre. The show ran through September of 1980 (moving to several locations during its time). It debuted in the US in Los Angeles in 1974 and had a nine month run, but its Broadway debut wasn’t as successful, lasing only 45 full performances.
It was adapted into the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975 with Tim Curry reprising the role of Frank-N-Furter, which he originated on stage. The film still runs today, making it longest-running release in film history.
Richard O'Brien has described the lead character, Frank, as a combination of Vlad the Impaler and Cruella De Vil. Curry added to the mix hints of Elizabeth II and his own mother.
When asked it he preferred doing the play or doing the film, Tim Curry had this to say: “I found making the film more..uh.. annoying in that way than doing the play; because if you do the play, it’s just two hours a day and.. that you’re actually in it doing it, and the rest of the day you’re, you know, you’re yourself. And doing the film, part because I’ve never made one before, and so um, the work for me is total, uh, I found it for the first time actually beginning to be a bit schizophrenic and that if you spend the whole day in a pound and a half of Max Factor, uh, at the end of the day when you wipe it off, there’s always a little bit left in the cracks.”
"The movie is a very surreal, almost dreamlike journey, the live show is far more rock and roll.”
In an interview with Richard O’Brien to On Magazine UK, he compared the live play to the film version, saying:
“The live show has an energy that the movie doesn’t have – it wasn’t intentional, but the film was very slow. Once some fans came up to me and said: ‘Did you leave the gaps between the lines so that we the audience could say our lines?’ I said, ‘Well, ok yes.’ But no we didn’t. The movie is a very surreal, almost dreamlike journey, the live show is far more rock and roll.”
At the more than capable hands of the multi-talented Shain Stroff, our production of The Rocky Horror Show should prove to be everything the original creators imagined it to be. And as the narrator suggests, we would like, if we may, to take you on a strange journey.