It was a rocky road getting to Columbia (no pun intended), but June 12 "Saturday Night Live"'s Ana Gasteyer will take over the role of The Rocky Horror Show's supergroupie after Joan Jett's controversial exit.
The May 22 announcement that Jett was leaving the role she created in the revival reportedly so enraged the rocker that she walked out on the musical that evening, never to return. (Jett also does not appear on the Rocky Horror revival cast recording because she "could not come to terms" with the producers over the album). Playing Columbia since has been Jett's understudy, Kristen Lee Kelly, who also recorded the role.
Gasteyer is recognizable by her various comic creations on NBC's long running world-famous late night sketch show. Among her characters are middle school teacher Bobbi Moughan-Cup, "Delicious Dish" hostess Margaret Jo, Jonette of the fictional pop group Gemini's Twin, and impressions of Martha Stewart and Celine Dion. Her theatre background includes The Real Live Brady Bunch, The Vagina Monologues and The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci.
Jett's career dates back to the '70s when, as a teen artist with her band, The Runaways, she was first attached to the noted Los Angeles record producer Kim Fowley. She went on to front Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, whose biggest hit was "I Love Rock 'n' Roll." Rocky Horror was Jett's Broadway debut, although she did once play the Lunt-Fontanne in her rock musician guise. Jordan Roth's revival of Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show opened Nov. 15 at Circle in the Square. The show started previews Oct. 20.
The cult musical features an eclectic cast, including Dick Cavett (Into the Woods, Otherwise Engaged, television's "The Dick Cavett Show"), Lea DeLaria (On the Town, Chicago, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, "The First Wives Club"), Jarrod Emick (Damn Yankees, Miss Saigon), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent, Two Sisters and a Piano, Flawless ), Alice Ripley (Side Show, James Joyce's The Dead, King David, Les Miz, Sunset Boulevard) and Tom Hewitt (Disney's The Lion King, Art School for Scandal, The Sisters Rosensweig, Jeffrey).
O'Brien's 1975 musical stars comedienne-actress-singer DeLaria as Eddie/Dr. Scott, rocker Jett as Columbia, author-actor-talk show host Cavett as the narrator, Hewitt as Frank 'n' Furter, Rubin-Vega as Magenta, Ripley as Janet, Emick as Brad and Esparza as Riff Raff.
The production team comprises choreographer Jerry Mitchell (The Full Monty, Hedwig, Jeffrey, Jam on the Groove), scenic designer David Rockwell (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Theatre, Mohegan Sun Casino, Cirque Du Soliel Theatres), lighting designer Paul Gallo (Titanic, Smokey Joe's Cafe), costume designer David Woolard (Damn Yankees,The Who's Tommy, The Donkey Show, "A Few God Men"), sound designer Richard Fitzgerald, musical director Henry Aronson and orchestrations by Doug Katsaros (Footloose).
Director Christopher Ashley (Drama Dept.'s As Thousands Cheer and Claudia Shear's Blown Sideways Through Life at the New York Theatre Workshop) helms the show. Producer Jordan Roth is the son of producer Daryl Roth (Wit, Three Tall Women and The Bomb-itty of Errors) and himself the producer of the Off-Broadway hit, The Donkey Show.
The original video design for Rocky Horror was done by Linda Batwin and Robin Silvestri, co-creative directors at Batwin + Robin Productions. Working with scenic designer David Rockwell and director Ashley, Batwin and Silvestri provided “original video acts as a dynamic set piece transforming the stage into a wedding chapel in the country, a rainy backwoods road and present day Times Square.”
Over the years, the stage and film versions of the show have engendered a strong fan base, which has been described as a cult following.
The stage version of the show ran on Broadway for about one month in 1975. The film version, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," was also released in 1975 and was directed by Jim Sharman. The film featured some members of the Broadway and London casts and starred Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O'Brien, Jonathan Adams, Meatloaf, Little Nell (Campbell), Charles Gray and Patricia Quinn.
Roth's current Off-Broadway show, The Donkey Show, was adapted from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. His mother's production of The Bomb-itty of Errors was based on the Bard's Comedy of Errors.
Tickets are $20-$85. Circle in the Square is located at 1633 Broadway, on W. 50 St. For tickets call Tele-Charge at (212) 239-6200.