Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rocky Horror 35th Anniversary Show

Thursday's all-star tribute to The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a night out that I am going to remember for a long, long time. It was definitely one of those "only in LA" events, and it was all for a great cause - The Painted Turtle, a camp for special needs kids.

Lou Adler, who produced the movie, put the evening together, and called in some favors from many of his famous friends to put together an all-star cast that accompanied the shadow cast. What made this a must-see for me was the inclusion of Jack Nicholson, who shared the narrator role with Danny DeVito. To my knowledge, Jack hasn't performed on stage since his high school plays, so this was really special to see. Jack and Lou have sat next to each other at Laker games for over 30 years, so I imagine that friendship plus the good cause prompted Jack to get involved.

The event took place at The Wiltern. Dave and I were running a bit late so didn't have any time before the show to mingle and check out everyone's great costumes. We came dressed as Time Warp party guests. Upon arrival, we got t-shirts and quickly made our way to the balcony where the show was about to begin.

Adler and director Kenny Ortega (best known for his work with Michael Jackson, including This Is It) did a terrific job of staging the show in a way that paid appropriate homage to the movie and the cult experience of the movie. The movie played on a big screen, and an all-star shadow cast reenacted it on stage (the all-star cast appears on the new blu-ray and is comprised of the best shadow cast members from around the world). Then they'd pause the movie to have the celebrities come out and actually speak the lines or sing the songs live, sometimes on their own and sometimes accompanied by the shadow cast.

Matthew Morrison and Lea Michelle kicked things off as Brad and Janet, fresh from the Rocky Horror episode of Glee. Nicole Scherzinger of The Pussycat Dolls was a sexy usher. Then there was a huge ovation for Jack Nicholson, who came onstage and settled into an easy chair for the opening narration. Listening to Jack read again reminded me of listening to my old audio cassette of him narrating The Elephant's Child - if you can find this, it's really cool, with Bobby McFerrin doing the music. They won a Grammy for it. Personally, I could listen to Jack read the phone book.

The second narrator was Danny DeVito, who instructed us on how to dance the Time Warp. Evan Rachel Wood played Magenta and Lucas Grabeel (High School Musical) was Riff Raff. Melora Hardin was Columbia. Most of the audience got up and tried to do the dance, although it wasn't easy being packed into theater seats.

Julian McMahon (Nip / Tuck) made a great Frank N. Furter. He really got into it and seemed to be totally comfortable in the costume. He wasn't dreaming it; he was being it. My only regret about the evening was that our seats were in the balcony. I wish I hadnt cheaped out and had sat down closer. It was hard to tell who the celebs were from our vantage point, and we weren't able to pick up a program until after the show. We totally missed Ricki Lake, and only noticed her during the curtain call (and I'm not sure who she played).

Jorge Garcia (Hurley from Lost) knocked it out of the park as Eddie. He can really belt. And George Lopez was daring as Dr. Scott, sporting the fishnets. There were some audio issues during his scenes and part of his dialogue was lost.

Jack and Danny returned to the stage to do the final narration together, to another big ovation.

Lou Adler brought everyone out for a curtain call and talked a little about The Painted Turtle. He then surprised us by calling up a couple of notable folks from the audience: Barry Bostwick and Tim Curry. The theater went nuts for Tim and the shadow cast on stage was truly starstruck. Then everybody did the Time Warp one more time, although Tim and Jack slinked off stage.

There was a costume ball afterwards, catered by Wolfgang Puck. Admission was $500, so we passed on that. We had a terrific time. I hadn't seen the movie in a few years, and it's always good to revisit it. I have been feeling a bit down lately about the lack of creative output in my life, and the movie reminded me that I just need to get off my butt and do it. Don't dream it; be it. I've been singing that everyday since the show.

Thanks to Lou Adler for putting together such a spectacular event!

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