Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

The Rocky Horror Show

Jared Slota and Kara S. Schwarz, Cindy Goldberg, Shane Blanford, Tom Cooch and Rachel Becker
Do the "Time Warp" again at the Lake Worth Playhouse with their production of Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show. This rare chance to see the musical upon which the 1975 classic cult film The Rocky Horror Picture Show is based is sure to shock timid theatergoers and thrill "Rocky" aficionados.

The Rocky Horror Show premiered in June of 1973 at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in London, England. It played later that year at the Classic Cinema, and continued in various locations before closing on September 13, 1980 after 2,960 performances. In March of 1974, the show had its first U.S. preview at the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles where it ran for nine months to rave reviews. On March 10, 1975 The Rocky Horror Show opened on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre. The run ended on April 5, 1975 after only 3 previews and 45 performances.

The film version of the musical was released on August 14, 1975. It became a popular showing at certain theatres such as the Waverly Theater (now called the IFC Center) over the next year. Sometime during 1976 the audience participation phenomenon that transformed this film to cult status was born. Audience members dressed up as the characters and brought plot-related props with them into the theatre. They did things like light candles, squirt squirt-guns, shield themselves with newspapers from imaginary rain, and throw rice, toast and toilet paper during specific points in the film. Midnight showings of the film featured people lip-synching to album tracks of The Rocky Horror Picture Show before the film began. This soon evolved into audience members saying lines out loud along with the characters during the movie, and yelling colorful commentary or counterpoint dialogue at the characters as well. The famed "Time Warp" song, and its very specific choreography, has become a staple immediately identified with both the film and the play.

This ultra-campy classic unfolds on a dark and stormy night, as an uptight, clean-cut young couple named Brad and Janet seek refuge at a nearby castle after their car breaks down. Little do they know the castle is occupied by a scientist named Dr. Frank 'N' Furter. He is about to unveil his latest creation - the perfect man. Brad and Janet have no idea they have entered into the bizarre world of visitors from another planet called Transsexual Transylvania. Will Brad and Janet ever find their way home? And if they do, will they ever be the same?

Clad in 3-inch heels and a bustier, Shane Blanford is dead-on as Dr. Frank 'N' Furter. Hopefully, this is a role he will have the opportunity to recreate, as these are hard shoes (or pumps) to fill. His Frank 'N' Furter is a cross between a pissed-off leader of a leather gang and an over-sexed drag queen. The slightly rough edge to his voice is a perfect sound for the rock and roll style of the music. One may rightfully consider Dr. Frank 'N' Furter as one of the most difficult and exhausting roles on stage; following in the footsteps of Tim Curry, who did it so brilliantly in the film, is no easy task.

Tom Cooch as Riff Raff sails through the difficult high vocal parts of the role, making them seem easy. He is perhaps too smooth for Riff Raff, though, as one expects the character to give us the creeps. Cindy Goldberg is fine as Magenta, but needs a bit more of the edge of a nasty girl. Kara S. Schwarz and Jared Slota are enjoyable as the hapless Brad and Janet. C. Rodriquez does surprisingly well in double duty as Eddie/ Dr. Scott. What is the surprise part? C. is a she! Though physically not able to convince everyone as a man, her acting and singing is persuading enough to carry it off quite well.

A puzzling casting choice is Rachel Becker as Columbia, as she does not do Columbia's tap dance. She merely gestures to one of the ensemble who does her tap dancing for her. This makes absolutely no sense as the tap dancing is what Columbia is known for. Alberto Garcia Ruiz admirably looks the part of Dr. Frank 'N' Furter's creation, Rocky. He does not seem as comfortable speaking and singing on stage as he does moving and dancing, however. His moments in song reveal a thick Spanish accent which is perhaps the reason for some hesitancy.

The costuming, lighting and severe makeup are all in place for this production. What is most surprising about this musical is how closely it follows the movie (or the movie follows it) and how the cast is able to remain focused and in character despite the raucous audience participation. What is needed for this production is a better sound system. The sound is uneven and muffled. With the audience being so loud with their lines, the actors on stage need even more help in being heard clearly.

This may be the outrageous summer outing you seek. Go ahead - dress up and talk back to the actors. Just be sure to leave the children at home due the adult content of the show, both on and off the stage. The Lake Worth Playhouse asks that no outside items be brought into their theatre for this show, but does sell "Rocky Survival Kits" which contain appropriate items to help you out with the audience participation you may crave.

Those of you who have never seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show, proudly known as "Rocky Virgins", can be sure this stage version of The Rocky Horror Show is an experience you will never forget. Never fear! The audience is invited to join in a final "Time Warp" at the end of the show. So, if you are too shy to jump up from your seat during the show, you can do it then.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show will appear at the Lake Worth Playhouse through August 4, 2007. The theatre is located at 713 Lake Ave. in Lake Worth, FL. The Lake Worth Playhouse is a Resident Community Playhouse. Performance times are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Saturdays at midnight. Tickets are $23 - $28. Group rates are also available. For more information about the theatre and its programs, you may contact them by phone at 561-586-6410 or online at

Dr. Frank 'N' Furter: Shane Blanford
Brad: Jared Slota
Janet: Kara S. Schwarz
Magenta: Cindy Goldberg
Riff Raff: Tom Cooch
Rocky: Alberto G. Ruiz
Columbia: Rachel Becker
Eddie / Dr. Scott: C. Rodriquez
Criminologist: Josh Holihan
Usher: Gregg Maliff
Usherette: Debbie Goldberg
Phantoms / Transsexual Transylvanians: April O'Connor, Elizabeth Johnson, Eric L. Kobrin, Joanne DePrizio, Lissen Ellington, Nina Vincent, Robert Martes, Steven Magell, Steven Teisch, Debbie Goldberg, Gregg Maliff, Angel Wrona

Director / Choreographer / Scenic Designer / Costume Designer: Marc Carmen
Musical Director: Debbie Goldberg
Lighting Designer: Herman G. Montero
Sound: Lee Hintemeyer
Stage Manager: Phyllis Cafarelli

Photo: Tova Hooper

See the current theatre season schedule for southern Florida.

-- John Lariviere

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