The Stray Dog Theatre has achieved live theater excellence once again.
The phenomenon known as The Rocky Horror Picture Show is one like no other. Originating as a work of the stage, the play attracted new stars like Tim Curry and rock vocalist Meat Loaf. Both of whom went on to star in the film adaptation. The original script, music, and lyrics were written by Richard O’Brian. On Broadway, the play was very successful, also enjoying a very popular run in London. Thus, 20th Century Fox decided it would make a great film.
However, when released to the public, the movie was a box office failure. Yet, time has a way of bringing new things to life. Slowly but surely, the midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show drew massive crowds, who then turned the film into an audience-participation epic. Even today, especially during the Halloween season, Rocky Horror is über popular, and tickets go rather quickly.
Although I a massive fan myself, I had never seen the stage version. Lucky for me, the thespians of the Stray Dog Theatre have brought the cult classic to life once again. And if their past productions of hits like The Who’s Tommy, Urinetown, and Psycho Beach Party are any indication of their ability to bring such a classic to the stage, there is no doubt that the performance will be top of the line.
And it is. The production was sensational, the cast impeccable, the costuming eye catching, and the musical performances nothing less than stellar. The production was thoroughly enjoyable; even the audience got in on the action. Since the theater is on the small side, the producers and crew have to be very creative when putting on a show of this magnitude. More creative minds could not be found. The cast, composed of Stray Dog alumni, as well as those making their debut with the company, is top notch. Luke Steingruby, who plays Rocky, drips sexiness from every pore. The vocal prowess of Heather Matthews (Janet Weiss) is not to be topped. Maria Bartolotta is Magenta through and through, and the eerie role of Riff Raff was perfumed with a deliciously sinister attitude by Corey Fraine.
One of the highlights of the night was the performance of Michael Juncal in the role of Dr. Frank N. Furter. Made famous by Tim Curry, the role is both physically and vocally demanding, and Juncal took the performance to a new level. His portrayal of the mad transvestite was over the top, making it one of the best performances of the night.
With twists and turns galore, and additions made just for this production, the work was full of delectable surprises and hilarious additions to the script. A lesser-talented group would probably have made a mockery of the show, but the Stray Dog Theatre never disappoints
This show was divine. If you have never seen the movie version, I suggest you instead start here, with a rousing rendition of the live theater experience, And for those who adore The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this is one production you do not want to miss! The Stray Dog Theatre has achieved live theater excellence once again. | Marc Farr