Hundreds of creatures of the night — both famous, like birthday girl Jami Gertz and uber-composer Burt Bacharach, and fanatical, like the fan club president settling in for his 3,500th viewing — donned sequins, corsets, and white face paint and gathered at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles last night for a celeb-studded one-off performance to celebrate the 35th anniversary of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and raise money for The Painted Turtle, a California camp for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.
“It might be a little tamer at 8 than at midnight,” warned Lou Adler, the man who brought the musical to America in the early ’70s and executive produced the film, which has been in distribution longer than any film in the history of movies. “But it will be unlike anything anyone’s seen because it’s so three-dimensional. We’re showing the film. The shadow cast will be pantomiming on stage. Celebrities will come on and sing. We’ve got 900 fans in the balcony who’ll be shouting and surely will have snuck in some toast and rice. It will be an appropriate celebration of 35 years of a cult classic.”
His warning ended up being a moot point as it became clear very quickly that the appropriate celebration involved massive amounts of inappropriateness (the event was not televised). Jack Nicholson, who promised his long-time friend Adler he’d participate as long as it didn’t conflict with a Lakers game, illegally lit up a cigarette indoors and responded to the traditional audience a**hole chants with an “I heard you did this” in his recognizable wicked tone.
Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison heated things up even more when they locked lips as Brad and Janet, eliciting a flurry of camera flashes and awkward murmuring from a crowd used to seeing them play teacher and student on Glee. Michele didn’t appear in Janet’s trademark bra and slip, and Pussycat Doll/Dancing With The Stars winner Nicole Scherzinger took her place in the risqué roll in the hay scene with Rocky for “Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me.” (Michele also missed the curtain call, attributed to her having a “very early call time” the following day.)
Rounding out the raunch was an exaggerated shadow sex scene that made use of a water bottle and plenty of genital groping by the likes of Morrison, Melora Hardin (Columbia), numerous Rockys (played by a rainbow coalition of hard bodies who may or may not have been plucked from a West Hollywood male revue), and Julian McMahon, who fabulously filled the fishnets of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. McMahon held nothing back as the sweet transvestite, planting kisses on several men and women, dancing suggestively, sneaking a peek inside his monster’s famous gold short shorts, and totally stealing the show.
Long-time Rocky Horror fan Evan Rachel Wood, achieving the Magenta fro without the help of a wig, literally jumped up and down when original Frank-N-Furter Tim Curry and Barry Bostwick (movie Brad) came on stage to “do the Time Warp again” alongside a cast rounded out by Lost’s Jorge Garcia, Rikki Lake, a pants-less George Lopez, and High School Musical’s Lucas Grabeel (who impressed with his spot-on Riff Raff lurch).
It certainly wasn’t perfect. Danny DeVito and Nicholson read their lines from a book, and DeVito continually broke the fourth wall to take pictures of his buddy and the audience. There were missed cues and a few notes Randy Jackson would most certainly label pitchy. But no one seemed to care. The loge quite literally bounced when the regulars joined in with a jump to the left and a pelvic thrust. “When you only have seven days to prepare and less days with the actors, you have to abandon the notion of perfection, let go, and let the Rocky gods take charge,” director Kenny Ortega told EW. “Besides, the beauty of this show is that it’s freeing and fun and a little naughty. It’s about going in there and forgetting everyone and everything for 95 minutes and surrendering yourself to the camp.”