The Rocky Horror Show is a beloved and iconic show here on the Central Coast, where The Paper Wing Theatre Company has regularly performed it throughout many the Halloween season. I’ve covered my thoughts on this show from the inside, from the outside, from performing in the retirement season of the theater’s perennial “Frank” (Lj Brewer) and even to the breakout new performance of a newcomer to the role when the theater brought the show back last year. I’ve “reviewed” this show many times, with many changes to the cast, to the set decoration, the style of music performed, and many kinds of presentations.
As of this writing, I still plan to see a second performance of the theater’s perennial “Janet” (Heather Hahn) as she bids farewell to the role. She’s always brought me to shivers with her rendition of “Superheroes” and I’m greatly looking forward to it. That also comes with a mix of emotional ties… I’m struggling with some thoughts on this as a result. And I only mention that because I’ve always prided myself on writing fully honest reviews that express my mindset, how I’m reacting to the experience, and what it means to me. I even question whether I should call my little rants anything closely resembling a “review” every single time I post something.
The show opened with a new Trixie, and of course Tiffany Jones looks stunning in her bright purple decor but she also is a singer I've repeatedly highlighted on my little blog. So, of course, she absolutely nails it.
Save for the titular role of “Rocky” (Dani Cutter), this year saw the show split into two casts. One with veterans returning and the other with some new performers from last year joining newer performers—it gets a bit confusing when I think of how to explain the situation. I covered a lot of ground last year and I’m trying not to just repeat myself. Returning are Jay Jones, Anjoli Johnson and Justin Azevedo to the roles of “Brad”,“Janet” and “Rifraff”, a one night replacement saw perennial “Magenta” actress, Jourdain Barton, joining the cast. Also returning was Randy Pires in the dual performance of “Eddie” and “Dr. Scott”. All are performers I’ve praised in previous blogs and all brought their usual “A” game to the show. Several new faces joined the cast; Columbia, The Narrator, and a brand new Frank.
The role is a large one to fill, and while last year brought a sense of reptilian menace and punk rage to the role; this year’s performance comes with yet another change. The audience is struck with a hammer's strength of vocal force when he takes the stage, and I’m immediately struck by a sense of déjà vu- I swear to god we were seeing what might happen were Freddy Mercury to take the stage as the cape came down and Stephan Sams nails an entirely different and far more playful Frank than previously experienced. Equal parts bombastic assault and boyish innocence, a new Frank brings with it a different feel to the rest of the cast.This is a pouting and spoiled Frank, and it's a fantastic experience to see such an iconic role taken in so many different directions by such talented performers. Despite the differences, each of them remains absolutely faithful to the original performance by Curry and yet each tackles him with a slightly different twist on the familiar.
Although you may see a hundred Ceasars or a thousand Romeos, you will never be able to compare those performances to the iconic original like one can with Dr. Frankenfurter. I think that's uniquely of our age and time, something that few other shows will ever be able to meet or exceed.
With that said, Rocky Horror continues to perform in Monterey at the Paper Wing Theatre and will likely return again in the coming years.
*** ADDITIONAL NOTES ****
This just in- and it's not a secret so much as I am just way out of the loop on some information, so let me get down to brass tacks and speak straight from the heart.
When I first started at Paperwing Theatre, I made a few fast friends. I also didn't know much about the theater world or how to interact or what to do in what situation at any given time. I had a few people I could ask, a few people I could learn from, but one person stood as a example of the kind of man I wanted to be. In the way he carried himself, in the way he reached out, in the way he took notes and studied his lines and made decisions regarding his character. In that first year where I worked with Paperwing, I wrote his name on a ballot for the local newspaper as "Best Artist" because of the example he set for me.
I just found out this would also be HIS last run in the role of the Narrator for The Rocky Horror Show and the news leaves me devastated. His quick wit, his work with the audience, his ability to adapt and always keep the show moving and funny is something that I wish I could do. It's midnight, October 30th, and I have work tomorrow morning and I'm all medicated up- but I wanted.. needed... was compelled to write something and it's a little clumsy.
I love you, Jay. I love you, Heather. I love you, Lj Brewer and Koly McBride and Matt, Alyce, Chuck Messenger, Drew, Jordan, Jourdain, Taylor Young, Allison Smith, Kate, Jody, and so many more talented wonderful people who shared the stage with one another and with me.