This past Thursday, Fox premiered their "new take" on the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show . Directed by Kenny Ortega, the creator of High School Musical, the show has been a point of contention between Rocky fans since it was announced. Some were staunchly against the new Rocky interpretation, as they remained loyal to the original. Others trusted Ortega to give a fresh take on the show and make it his own. Regardless, for fans of Rocky, Fox had a lot riding on their shoulders for this movie. Personally, I fall into the former category: Rocky is one of my favorite movies of all time and I was extremely against watching this movie. However, as president of Muhlenberg's shadow-cast of Rocky, I had to watch, if only for the sake of the rest of my cast. So, now that I've had several days to process what I watched, here are my five favorite numbers and the three worst things about it.
The Best Rocky Numbers
1. The Sword of Damocles
If you have never seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show before, "The Sword of Damocles" is the number Rocky sings as he comes to life after Frank's experiment on him. This is the number when Rocky runs around the set and makes a mess of things, and it is also the turning point in the movie where Brad and Janet realize that something is really different about this castle they've happened upon. I loved this number in the original movie because it's ridiculous, but I loved it even more in this version. Staz Nair was a phenomenal Rocky and the amount of fun he was having was contagious through the TV which brings us to my next favorite number...
2. Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me
Okay so this number usually makes me super uncomfortable because of the really creepy up-close face shots, but I loved this number. First, there was the giant Adam Lambert poster behind Columbia's bed. Then, there was the fact that every "sexual" move that Janet pulled on Rocky was her just jumping around him. But the best part was the fact that Janet and Rocky just seemed to be having so much fun. Honestly, Staz Nair is basically my new favorite person, but he and Victoria Justice brought so much fun to their performances that you couldn't help smiling with them. Every jump on the bed, lift of Janet, or silly face made you feel as happy as they were. Watch the whole number here, you'll love it.
3. Just every number with Staz, particularly the Floor Show
THEY DIDN'T ERASE BRAD AND ROCKY KISSING WE ALL FELL TO THE FLOOR AND SCREAMED that's basically why this number was amazing.
4. Hot Patootie
Adam Lambert is a phenomenal performer, and I knew his number would be amazing. When he burst through the window (something I did have a little bit of a problem with because it ruined a plot point), I knew we were in for a treat. The best part about Adam Lambert is that he was offered the part of Frank and turned it down because, "I kind of felt like in 2016, to be cis and playing the role of a trans character, it felt inappropriate to me” (Read his full interview with Out Magainze here). So he's basically my favorite person in the cast (besides my love Staz) and he did a phenomenal job.
5. Dammit, Janet
This was just the most fun way to start off the show and I was obsessed with Brad from the moment he awkwardly laughed at Ralph Hapshat's awkward fist bump. I can't do it justice so just watch it here.
The Three Worst Things About Rocky
1. Laverne Cox
Everyone is going to hate this but in all honesty, I didn't like Laverne. I don't like her as an actress in general, and I knew I wouldn't like her in this performance. I'm not going to discuss the casting of a trans* actress in the part because I don't know enough about the subject and I don't want to offend anyone, but I will discuss Cox's performance. There were several things wrong. Firstly, she had a weird accent that I couldn't tell if she was trying to imitate Tim Curry or if she was about to sneeze. Secondly, her singing voice was not the powerhouse that I expected when I see Frank. Third, and most important, she looked like she was trying so hard to be different than Tim Curry while still being herself, but it ended up just looking like she was just doing a horrible impression. I know, I'm asking for a lot because I have such high expectations, but if she had even reached half of them, I would have been okay. But she didn't, and, in my opinion, she ruined my second favorite character. This brings us to my first favorite character.
2. Magenta (and Riff because there's not one without the other)
Okay, first off, the most fun part of playing Magenta is interacting with the actor who plays Riff, because you are supposed to be brother and sister while also being madly in love, and you're basically having sex on stage constantly. So here's the thing: Magenta and Riff had elbow sex only once. Their relationship was basically erased and only focused upon slightly. I loved the scene where Magenta was feeding Riff lines for him, but that was basically the only part I liked with them. Time Warp was slow and felt like a chore, their sexual tension was non-existent, and Magenta looked way too happy to be serving Frank and Columbia when she literally hates the planet Earth and only wants to go home. Riff was doing a weird impression of Richard O'Brien and it was terrifying. I just hated both of them, and that never happens, because I live for Magenta and she's the best character I've ever played. I'm still upset. (Also, for real, their costumes were just horrible)
3. Tim Curry
I know what Kenny Ortega was trying to do: He was trying to keep Tim Curry in the show so that we could accept that this was a new version because Tim had too, and he's basically our role model so of course we would. But Tim Curry has suffered through a stroke since he first stole our hearts, and it shows. I was just so heartbroken that one of the loves of my life is so sick and is forced to be a part of this, dare I say it, mockery of his greatest role. He's doing his best, but every time I started to get used to Laverne, we'd get another Tim Curry cameo and I'd be reminded of what we're missing and what we've lost. My friends and I burst into tears when Curry started singing. Literally, all of us started crying, and I had to grab my anxiety doll because I was so sad. Tim Curry has done so much for the queer community, and he's done so much for me as a person, and watching him be in so much pain hurt more than my favorite characters being destroyed.
I know what you tried to do Kenny, and it worked mostly. But a lot of what you tried to change wasn't true to the originial script (like Eddie breaking in from a window instead of the freezer where he was being kept, or a Nazi being portrayed by an actor his character would have despised, and so on and so forth). You did your best but I left heartbroken and hurt. You did better than Ryan Murphy, so props to you for that, but I wasn't happy. However, I will give you one more bonus win: Your opening number was amazing and I'll watch it every day of my life. So with that, here's our opening number again, and watch Rocky so you can make your own opinions. AND COME TO OUR SHADOWCAST OF ROCKY NEXT FRIDAY AT 11 IN THE RED DOOR, I'LL BE THE ONE CRYING BECAUSE IT'S MY LAST TIME PLAYING MAGENTA HERE AND I'M A WRECK.
And here's one last gif of Staz Nair cause come on.