Toronto Musical Revue

The Rocky Horror Show

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Now, here's an odd one. Michael White was the producer of The Rocky Horror Show when it first opened in London in 1973, and he retained control of the project as it became a worldwide phenomenon. Here, White (we assume it's the same Michael White) is credited as singer, keyboard player, guitarist, producer, engineer, mixer, and digital recorder for an album the full title of which is The Toronto Musical Revue Plays Selections From Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show. There are four other musicians and four other singers on the album, which turns out to be an attempt to recreate the original motion picture soundtrack album of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the 1975 movie version of the musical, note for note. White and Chaz Coats Butcher handle all the male vocals originally performed by five different performers, while Trish Zurbrigg and Nadine Junger, with Joan Flanagan on backup vocals, handle the three female vocal parts. White replaces the orchestra that played on the soundtrack with keyboard programming. The arrangements are exactly the same; the singers use the same vocal inflections and phrasing as those heard in the movie; the same songs ("Once in a While," "The Sword of Damocles," "Planet Shmanet Janet") have been deleted from the score; and, as on the soundtrack album and in the movie, "Time Warp" comes before "Sweet Transvestite," the opposite order from the stage version. The album even runs almost exactly the same length as the soundtrack album originally did, just under 45 minutes. (A cover note on the Lake Shore disc reading "over 50 minutes of playing time" is false.) The result, to anyone who knows the soundtrack album, will be a strange listening experience, rather like hearing one of those clone bands of the Doors or the Grateful Dead, although in this case a listener is likely to be caught unawares. Needless to say, one would be better off sticking with the original, even if this imitation is budget priced.

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