Original Australian Cast

The Rocky Horror Show [Original Australian Cast]

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When American producer Lou Adler took The Rocky Horror Show, originally a British hit, to Los Angeles, he presented a homogenized version that emphasized the campy aspects of the musical in a glitzy, slick production. But Harry M. Miller, who got the rights for Australia, had a more faithful notion of how to stage it down under. His version, which opened at the stroke of midnight on April 19-20, 1974, in an old movie house in Glebe, a suburb of Sydney, was much closer to the trashy London fringe production that had proven such a success. One major and unavoidable difference, however, was casting. Adler had successfully imported London's Tim Curry into the U.S. for the starring role of Frank-N-Furter, but for the Australian production Miller hired Reg Livermore, a tenor in contrast to Curry's baritone. Livermore's voice enabled him to give a more feminine tone to the transvestite character, and he added the sense of a prancing English dandy as well. While his voice was less distinguishable from those of the other male singers in the show than Curry's had been, that wasn't much of a problem since the overall singing was good. The best thing about the production as heard on the original Australian cast album was its feel, however. Adler had brought in L.A. session heavyweights for his cast recording and gotten a typically professional sound, but without much spirit. The Australians seemed to conceive of The Rocky Horror Show first and foremost as a rock & roll production, and their album rocked from the get-go. Livermore played into this approach, sounding more like a '50s rocker like Eddie Cochran than the role's obvious rock prototype, Mick Jagger, whom Curry had practically channeled. The lyrics' nuances and witticisms were not hit very hard in this interpretation, but the beat was, and that made The Rocky Horror Show original Australian cast album the easiest one to dance to. (The song title variation on Rocky Horror cast albums continued here. Among the major changes, the song that London called "Damn It, Janet" and L.A. "Dammit Janet" was here called "Wedding Song"; London's "Hot Patootie [Bless My Soul]," known as "Whatever Happened to Saturday Night" in L.A., became "Whatever Happened to Saturday"; and "Rose Tint My World" was rendered as "It Was Great When It All Began" in Australia.)