Reviewed by Leonard Jacobs
Presented by Jordan Roth by arrangement with Christopher Malcolm, Howard Panter, Richard O'Brien for The Rocky Horror Company Ltd. at Circle in the Square, 1633 Broadway (at W. 50th St.), NYC. Opens Nov. 15th for an open run.
Haul your lighters, toilet paper, and libido to "The Rocky Horror Show," where depravity and devilishness dominate. In its triumphant Broadway revival a quarter-century after flopping there, director Christopher Ashley's vision for "Rocky"—one of the biggest cult hits of our time—will exponentially grow its legions of fans.
The first vision is physical—settings and surroundings (by David Rockwell) utterly unlike anything seen before at Circle in the Square. Proscenium arches disintegrate; a theatre-within-a-theatre hydraulically disappears; a laboratory descends in a gothic rendering of hell. Costumes (by David C. Woolard) are corset-focused, closet-opening, and hot. Paul Gallo's lighting enhances the theatre-as-rock-concert feeling.
The second vision is theatrical—how to convey the "Rocky" story. The adventures of super-square Brad Majors (square-jawed Jarrod Emick) and super-virginal Janet Weiss (Alice Ripley) are unchanged, but magnified, celebrated, broadened. What happens in the lair of Frank 'n' Furter (Tom Hewitt), and his hench-wenches Riff-Raff (Raúl Esparza), Magenta (Daphne Rubin-Vega), and Columbia (Joan Jett), plus Columbia's biker-manchick Eddie (Lea DeLaria), and of course, Frank's creation, Rocky (Sebastian LaCause)—plumbs the depths of outrageousness.
The cast—including Kevin Cahoon, Deidre Goodwin, Aiko Nakasone, Mark Price, Jonathan Sharp, and James Stovall as Phantoms—uniformly sets this horror show to the quick. Snapshot moments include a shaved-headed Jett on guitar, a full-tranny Hewitt putting over "Sweet Transvestite," LaCause's sexy gyrations Rocky-ing the house, and Ripley's great bodice-ripping moment.
If you've ever had yourself an unconventional dream, then "Don't Dream It—Be It."
Finally, Dick Cavett is inspired and soon-to-be-legendary casting as the Narrator. His transcendent, deadpan, quick-wit persona is so in tune with things that he'll indoctrinate you into the "Rocky" club before you're even aware of it.