Die hard Rocky Horror Picture Show fans are having some mixed emotions over Fox’s upcoming TV special remake, and rightfully so. Rocky Horror isn’t just a movie from our past that we pop on the TV now and then. It’s an interactive phenomenon that plays out every Saturday night in theaters around the world. Fans know the movie word for word (and them some). For many, the Rocky Horror performances are places of comradery as well as sensual exploration. Since these shows always play the 1975 cult classic, that’s become the standard, and fans are resistant to change.
But they shouldn’t be.
The movie was based on the musical The Rocky Horror Show that opened in London’s Royal Court Theater in 1973. Creator Richard O’Brien played Riff Raff, and Tim Curry played the sweet transvestite Dr. Frank N. Furter. Patricia Quinn played the exotic maid Magenta, and Nell Campbell played the lovesick Columbia. All four of these original cast members performed in the 1975 motion picture creation along with Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, and Meatloaf.
The movie was a one-shot deal, but the musical continued to play in multiple venues. The original cast couldn’t do it forever. So as the years went on, the casts switched and new productions came about. The upcoming 2016 TV special is no different. Personally, I’m quite excited to see Laverne Cox’s rendition of Frank N. Furter. She told Entertainment Tonight that she fully understands just how sacred the movie is and she hopes to make people happy with her performance. Here’s the teaser:
There’s not much to see yet, but Cox looks divine. You could say she makes me shiver with antici… well, you know.
But what you may not know is that multiple celebrities have appeared in productions of The Rocky Horror Show worldwide for 40 years. A fresh cast in 2016 is nothing new to one of the longest running stage shows in history. So who’s danced the Time Warp over the last four decades? Well there’s…
Photo credit: LOGO TV
No, the world’s greatest drag superstar did not play Frank N. Furter. He played Riff Raff at the Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta in 1985. Sickening!
Photo credit: BBC
Ullman played leading lady Janet Weiss in 1980 at the end of London’s Comedy Theatre seven-year run.
Image credit: CBS Television
That’s right, Sirtis played Magenta in the European tour in the mid 1980s before joining the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation as ship counselor Deanna Troi.
The Ringleader of daytime TV played the Criminologist at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the early 1980s.
Anthony Stewart Head
Ever wonder why Giles was such a good singer? Head was strutting his stuff as Frank N. Furter in London’s West End long before he ever played a stuffy librarian on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Late night host Craig Ferguson starred alongside him as Brad Majors.
The Rocky Horror Show Broadway production featured multiple TV and music stars. Rocker Joan Jett played Columbia, and was later replaced by Saturday Night Live‘s Ana Gasteyer. Heartthrob Luke Perry spent a month playing Brad Majors, and Skid Row front man Sebastian Bach played Riff Raff. The production has also had its share of guest Criminologists including Robin Leech, Penn and Teller, and Gilbert Gottfried.
Geek & Sundry Staff!
That’s right, even some of our own beloved Geek & Sundry team has performed in Rocky Horror. Critical Role’s Taliesin Jaffe played Dr. Scott and the Criminologist in the Los Angeles Sins O’ the Flesh cast from 1993 until 1999. Twitch host Ivan Van Norman spent four years in the University of Oregon cast, first as Brad and then Frank N. Furter. Even our own Editor in Chief Rob Manuel played Brad in a local production in Raleigh, NC.
So you see, my dear Transylvanians, Rocky Horror has been performed by hundreds of different players with endless variations on the theme. Fox’s 2016 Halloween special is not something to fear as a bastardization, but something to welcome as one of the many tributes to a beloved cult classic musical.
What do you think of Fox’s upcoming Rocky Horror remake? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Featured image credit: 20th Century Fox