The October 20 broadcast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again left Rocky fanatics in the Twitter-verse with mixed opinions. Read reviews here.
Still, whether you’re a hard core member of the cult or a newcomer to the movie that holds the record for longest theatrical distribution, there were moments that made our musical theatre-loving hearts swell. Here are our five favorite things from the made-for-TV musical.
1. Two Words: Ryan McCartan
Where did this man come from? Ok, he was in Off-Broadway’s Heathers: The Musical, but consider this verified theatrical talent officially discovered. Everything about McCartan’s performance was spot on. From his first number, “Damn It, Janet,” we were loving his voice. (That vibrato—#training.) He colored Brad with just the right amount of corn for this B-horror parody. He demonstrated a gift for timing, and he even rocked the gold corset until the final blackout.
2. The “Time Warp” Choreography
It may still be a jump to the left and a step to the right, but this new choreography was awesome. It was the only time in the musical when the entire ensemble danced full out. The floor work, the pelvic thrusting, the tap dancing, we were on board. Fans of Newsies, Hocus Pocus, High School Musical, Dirty Dancing, and Descendants take note: we all have director-choreographer Kenny Ortega to thank for tonight’s staging.
3. Laverne’s “Stage” Presence
Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank-N-Furter was an inspired choice for the transsexual Transylvanian/mad scientist/fashionista. She commanded the screen (especially that grand battement in “Sweet Transvestite”). Cox’s sinuous performance oozed with austerity and appeal, and her use of the vocal fry is the only one we ever want to hear.
4. Annaleigh’s Amazing New York Nonchalance
A stage favorite known for her over-the-top performances and physical comedy (You Can’t Take It With You, Sylvia), it was great to see Annaleigh Ashford’s sly humor at play here. She’s still playing the oddball of the bunch, but in an understated way—and her accent was hilarious.
5. The Physical Aesthetic
While Christian Borle’s arms earned their own Twitter handle during NBC’s Peter Pan Live!, it’s unclear which body part wins the Twitter war here. Is it Rocky’s abs; Laverne’s lips; her dramatic, Grace Jones-esque cliff-hanger cheekbones; or Ben Vereen’s legs? William Ivey Long’s costumes put all of this on display, and Deja Marie Smith’s makeup—exclusively for Cox—literally dripped with sensuality on screen.
BONUS: That Audience Member
There will no doubt be debate about the use of a faux film audience, but whether you liked the device or not, that one audience member center “stage” was killing it. His facial expressions, and his commitment to that character—we only want to see Rocky Horror in theatres if we can share our popcorn with him.