Usherette (Rocky Horror)
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The Usherette refers to a character or character in disguise from Richard O'Brien's musical The Rocky Horror Show. She opens the production singing "Science Fiction/Double Feature", backed up by a phantom chorus and then reappears at the end to sing a reprise of that song.
The Usherette is almost always doubled with the actress who plays Magenta, another character from the play (although Richard O'Brien did take over the role for one week in 2007 at the New Wimbledon Theatre). In this, she is one of two character combinations portrayed by the same actor (Dr.Scott/Eddie is the other).
Patricia Quinn originated both characters in the original 1973 Royal Court Theatre production. Originally produced in the theatre's second space known as "The Theatre Upstairs". The script is vague in regards to this character, referring to her as Magenta (As Usherette). The tray she carried as the usherette contains a prop with the words "Strawberry Time", which the cast then expanded to call her "Miss Strawberry Time", however the character is not referred to, as such, in the musical. It was not until the show opened in the US in 1974 that she was first known as Trixie, having the name written across the front of the tray. During the shows brief run on Broadway in 1975 at the Belasco Theatre, the Usherette is credited as "The Belasco Popcorn Girl."
The Usherette was not featured in the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The filmmakers and producers wanted a montage of movie clips and stills to fade in and out during the song and Richard O'Brien was asked to record that opening song. It was believed when actress Patricia Quinn was offered the part she initially refused the role due to losing the opening song. Quinn's lips were shot as she lip-synched the song, creating the iconic opening.
While the character is missing from the movie version, fans who attend the screenings in costume and re-enact the entire show have adapted the character to their performances for decades. Many "Shadow Casts" have become very creative with how the character performs during this opening number. Everything from screen accurate recreations from the professional stage productions to "Stripper" style burlesque that could well be an homage to Richard O'Brien's stage show of the same name.
Actresses who have played the Usherette include:
- Patricia Quinn - 1973 Original London Cast*
- Jamie Donnelly - 1974 original Los Angeles Roxy Cast*
- Daphne Rubin-Vega - 2000 Broadway Revival Cast*
- Shona White- 2006/2007 UK Tour (2006)
- Claire Parrish - 2006/2007 UK Tour (2007)
- Maria Franzén - 2008/2009 UK Tour
- Kara Lane - 2009/2010 UK Tour
- Djalenga Scott - 2011/2012 German Tour
- Maria Franzén - 2014/2015 German Tour
-* Appears on cast recording.
- Science Fiction-Double Feature
- Science Fiction-Double Feature (Reprise)
- Quinn, Patricia, The Rocky Horror Picture Show 25th anniversary DVD commentary track