The Stripper is a stage musical produced in 1982 by the Sydney Theatre Company, adapted by Richard O'Brien from the 1961 book of the same name written by Carter Brown. It's a 1920s style musical about gangsters featuring Terence Donovan as Lt. Al Wheeler and Robyn Moase as Deadpan Dolores. The teaser on the LP front cover states: "The strawberry blonde did a real H-O-T strip ... until a corpse chilled the show". For more information on the plot, you can read through the Synopsis that was included on the LP back cover. The songs are very catchy, and "Man of Steel" is a particular favorite among many Rocky Horror fans for obvious reasons ("Baby, you give me a hard-on...").
Much of the Rocky Horror creative team was involved in the show. In addition to Richard O'Brien composing lyrics, Richard Hartley wrote, arranged, and directed the music while Brian Thomson designed and directed. You'll also notice a lot of similarities between "Man of the People" and "Thank God I'm a Man" from Shock Treatment. According to the Rocky Horror: From Concept To Cult book, this production precipitated a major falling out between Richard O'Brien and Brian Thomson. In Brian Thomson's own words (and I'm certain that Richard's viewpoint on this is entirely different):
David Evans: We've been told there was a big blow-up between you and Richard.
Brian Thomson: Richard O'Brien had written this script. He'd read a lot of Carter Brown detective stories and he'd come up with a script that was far too long. It really needed condensing. I was directing it with Richard Wherrett as associate. The rehearsals were not going well and all the actors were having trouble with the lines. The dialogue was very repetitive, and so I started working on it. Richard O'Brien wasn't having any of it. He refused to have his script touched and got really pissed off. In the end, I refused to have him in the theatre.
Also involved in this production is John Paramor, Brad Majors from the 1974 Australian Cast of The Rocky Horror Show, who performs as Sgt. Polnik here (including a solo song, "Cry On"). This cast album LP is, for whatever reasons, rare in the extreme. It's certainly a "holy grail" among Rocky Horror audio collectors. I don't have a copy myself, and all of my information on it is based on the scanned images sent by Leon Tencer of Australia. Prior to him scanning the back cover, we didn't even know proper names for some of the songs that were floating around on multi-generation bootleg tapes.
Australia ©1982 The Sydney Theatre Company (VPL1 0401)
Released by RCA Limited
Gatefold with performance photos.
Richard O'Brien - Horror Aid with Richard O'Brien (1988-01-08) [ All sound files taken from DIME ]
There's trouble in Pine City. When Patty Keller stands out on a hotel ledge fifteen floors above the street, Lieut. Al Wheeler does his best to talk her out of jumping. He fails (FALLING).
Al figures it's a homicide investigation. County Sheriff Lavers figures it's a waste of time. In the course of his peculiarly musical investigation, Al meets some interesting characters, such as Patty's cousin Dolores, the stripper who says it all from the neck down (DEADPAN DOLORES). Patty belonged to a lonely hearts club, she tells Al, and reminds him that even in Southern California, THE LONELY ARE LEGEND.
Sarah and Jacob Arkwright run the Arkwright Happiness Club. Their secretary, Sherry Mendez, looks like she's just stepped out of some latin American extravaganza. Sarah warns Sherry about getting involved with a detective (MEN LIKE THAT...). Al discovers that Patty's last date, courtesy of the lonely hearts club, was with Harvey Stern, a florist (HEARTS AND FLOWERS).
Combining business with pleasure, Al takes Sherry to the strip club and sees a mind-storming performance by Deadpan Dolores (THE STRIP). Later, in his apartment, Al woos Sherry with a soft, romantic ballad! (MAN OF STEEL).
Back in the Sheriff's office, Al decides to give the thick-headed Sgt. Polnik his big break by letting him help out on the case and surrounds himself with dozens of dames (CRY ON). As the clues start to unravel, and the coincidences pile up, Al is even more convinced that Patty's death was no accident (BEGGING THE QUESTION). Even Sheriff Lavers is having his doubts, but not wanting to over-exert his delicate brain, he pauses for a little police station identification (MAN OF THE PEOPLE).
Suddenly, the recently deceased Harvey Stern makes a confession that is almost lyrical (I CONFESS); but Al doesn't buy it. His suspicions are further aroused, along with a few other things, when he discovers Deadpan Dolores asleep in his bed (THERE'S MANY A TRUE WORD SAID IN BED). Once again back in the Sheriff's office, Al must this time face the monster he helped to create: Sgt. Polnik. They share a fantasy (IN THE NIGHT ALL CATS ARE BROWN). In the alley outside the Club Extravaganza, Dolores makes a last ditch effort to win Al over but he is no longer under the Stripper's spell (NOBODY'S FOOL).
The time has come for the final showdown...and the truth. Who killed Patty Keller? Al finds out as SARAH SINGS, and the scene is set for a deadly finale. Shots ring out, the corpses pile up, Deadpan Dolores takes a final bow (PLANNING MY BIG EXIT). Once more good has triumphed over the not-so-good.
With the case now solved, Al can take pleasure in the knowledge that, for the time being, there's no TROUBLE IN PINE CITY.
Al Wheeler: Terence Donovan
Patty Keller: Anne Grigg
Sheriff Lavers: Michael Caton
Sgt. Polnik: John Paramor
Annabelle Jackson: Barbara Jane Cole
Doc Murphy: Jack Webster
Sherry Mendez: Anne Grigg
Sarah Arkwright: Robina Beard
Jacob Arkwright: Bob Hornery
Harvey Stern: Bob Hornery
Steve Loomas: D.J. Foster
Deadpan Dolores: Robyn Moase
Miles Rovak: Jack Webster
Louis: D.J. Foster
Stripper No. 1: Barbara Jane Cole
Stripper No. 2: Robina Beard
Director: Brian Thomson
Musical Director: Richard Hartley
Choreographer: Ross Coleman
Set Designer: Brian Thomson
Costume Designer: Roger Kirk
Lighting Designer: John Rayment
Conductor: Michael Tyack
Musical Arrangements: Richard Hartley
Production Photography: Brett Hilder
Michael Tyack, Piano
Peter Dilosa, Trumpet
Graham Quy, Drums
Ed Gregson, Guitar
Wayne Ford, Bass
Recorded at: Leo Recorders
Engineered by: Spencer Lee
Produced by: Spencer Lee, Peter Plavsic, and Michael Tyack
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