BROADWAY FEBRUARY 2001
I have been following the Rocky Horror Show on Broadway since I first heard about it. I have read every review I could get my hands on (which have pretty much all been great) and several news-group posts (which have been largely negative). First let me say I am not a movie purist. I love ALL things "Rocky". I especially love seeing the stage show as it is an opportunity for a new interpretation every single time. I think the movie is great but I leave that experience at the cinema and enjoy theatre for what it is supposed to be…Live.
It is important to remember that this is a Broadway show so it must be critiqued as such. As much bang for your buck has to be squeezed into a small time frame. I LOVED THIS SHOW! Everything about it rocked. The theater itself was draped in beautiful blood red fabric. The sets were amazing. I especially liked the transformation to the lab scene with all the beakers and tubes descending from the ceiling. The costumes were perfect. I have heard many complaints about the use of latex etc., but come on. This isn't the seventies. The costumes fit this production. Brad and Janet are the humble clothed innocents and everyone else is dressed for the master's decadent party. I found the costumes to be perfect. Musically the show was high energy. Great advantage was taken of the cast's musical ability especially the phantoms. Their work backing "I Can Make You A Man" and "Sweet Transvestite" was exactly the nice little change that keeps this musical fresh for those of us who own about a million different cast albums. Lea Delaria deserves some special recognition for her songs. She absolutely wailed on "Hot Patootie" and "Eddie".
I think the most amazing asset of the show is the cast. This show was stacked for success from the beginning. Joan Jett and Dick Cavett have a cult status of their own making them perfect for the show. I think Joan has gotten a bad rap from many fans. She isn't Little Nell. She isn't squeaky. I love Nell as much as anyone but I think often the role is played far more as Nell and not nearly enough as Columbia, and NOBODY can ever be Nell like Nell can. Instead Joan brought her own personality to the show with her amazing voice and guitar playing. Everyone else in this show has some amazing Broadway credentials. As far as Broadway goes it is an all star ticket. Alice Ripley was one of the funniest Janets I have ever seen, but she still came across as innocent and even a little timid. Jarrod Emick played the straight-laced Brad to a T, and did anyone else notice the way he moved during floorshow? Wow! I have seen Lea Delaria's stand up on television but her acting was incredible, I didn't question her as Eddie for a second. Daphne Rubin-Vega is pure talent. She has a style all her own. She is such a quiet, petite Magenta and yet carries a sinister power behind her apron. Raul Esparza was my very favorite. He is a wonderful combination of sex, sin, and psychotic. Sabastian LaCause put a lot of thought into his character, so many Rockys will just play their role as the dumb jock/monster. His interpretation was far more based on the idea of the new child and came across very cute. There are not words to describe Tom Hewitt's performance. I have read several reviews that say he rivals Tim Curry. Dori Hartley said she thought Tom was "Fabulous" and I think that says it all.
We traveled from Kansas City just to see the show. We saw it three times while we were there and it was definitely worth the trip. In fact we are planning our return already.