Comedian, writer, actor and presenter Stephen Fry, Great British Bake Off host Mel Giedroyc and Spice Girl Emma Bunton are the first celebrities to be announced as special guest stars in the Gala Charity Performance of The Rocky Horror Show at London’s Playhouse Theatre on 17 September, which will be broadcast live to cinemas across the UK and Europe.
They will join the creator of The Rocky Horror Show, Richard O’Brien, on stage for one night only as all four of them take their turn performing the role of ‘The Narrator’. This Gala performance, in aid of Amnesty International, is the highlight of 11 special performances of The Rocky Horror Show at the Playhouse from 11 to 19 September, all starring Richard O’Brien. Tickets for these shows were in such high demand that they sold out in less than 72 hours.
Howard Panter said: “We are thrilled with the unprecedented demand for this special production of the Rocky Horror Show. This will be the world’s opportunity to see stars like Stephen Fry, Mel Giedroyc and Emma Bunton up on stage along with the show’s creator Richard O’Brien in what promises to be an unmissable cinema event.”
Stephen Fry said: “I’ve been a devoted fan of The Rocky Horror Show for most of my life and I have been proud to support the incredible work of Amnesty International for just as long, so to be joining Richard and the cast on stage for this special evening is a dream come true.”
Emma Bunton added: “I am so excited about being involved in the legendary Rocky Horror Show. Richard O’Brien has written something that is a huge part of British culture. I’m looking forward to shaking my tush to the ‘Time Warp’!”
Those attending the special Amnesty gala performance will also have the opportunity to take action for Ihar Tsikhanyuk, an openly gay drag performer living in Belarus who was taken from his hospital bed and beaten by police for campaigning on gay rights. Although being gay in Belarus is not illegal, it remains hard for LGBTI people to access rights and there are no specific laws to protect them.
Amnesty International UK’s events manager Akita Hancock said: “We’re delighted that so many special guest stars have agreed to be part of what promises to be a spectacular performance. The Rocky Horror Show is a fabulous celebration of freedom and expression – a fundamental area of Amnesty’s work. So this is a perfect opportunity to rally support for men and women like Ihar Tsikhanyuk and to call for justice for all transgender people whose rights are under threat.”
Casting for the 11 performances at the Playhouse has just been announced, starring a number of Rocky favourites:
Olivier Award winner David Bedella, who most recently toured the UK in The Producers, will be making a return to the show as the lead character, Frank ‘n’ Furter. Bedella has performed in Rocky many times since 2006 and last appeared in 2010.
Ben Forster, who won the ITV1 series Superstar and went on to play the title role in the Jesus Christ Superstar UK arena tour will star as Brad. He last played Brad in the 40th Anniversary UK tour.
Returning as Janet is West End performer Haley Flaherty, who has performed the role in tours in Singapore, New Zealand and UK. She will be joined by Kristian Lavercombe, reprising the role of Riff Raff, having previously notched up nearly 1,000 performances around the world.
The show will be directed by Christopher Luscombe and produced by Howard Panter for Ambassador Theatre Group. These special London performances precede a nationwide UK tour of The Rocky Horror Show, which opens at the Theatre Royal Brighton on 17 December 2015.