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The Rocky Horror Show

From Academic Kids

The Rocky Horror Show was a long running stage musical (in London initially, on June 16, 1973) which inspired the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was written by Richard O'Brien, who returned to his native England after growing up in New Zealand. The musical was developed by O'Brien in collaboration with Australian theatre director Jim Sharman, who had already gained extensive experience directing rock musicals with the groundbreaking Australian productions of Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Sharman's success with the original Australian production of Superstar led to an invitation to direct the first London stage production, and it was during the London run of Superstar that he met O'Brien, who briefly had a role in the show (he played Herod for just one performance). O'Brien played Sharman some of the songs he had written and they began to flesh out the concept for the show; Sharman later brought in fellow Australians Nell Campbell (aka 'Little Nell') and longtime design collaborator Brian Thomson, who had designed both Hair and Superstar. Sharman's theatrical background -- his father and grandfather were famous tent-show promoters -- influenced the deliberately makeshift look and feel of the original production, which premiered in a small, run-down theatre that was slated for demolition.

The movie has been much more popular in the United States than the theatrical show, revivals of which are mounted periodically without great success. However, in other countries, the stage show has become a cult, with fans dressing up as the characters and reciting the lines out loud along with the cast.

Versions of the show have played well in various other countries, including a New Zealand production that featured the former prime minister Robert Muldoon (as the compère).

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