As we inch closer to the possibly-good-but-maybe-not high school musical version of Rocky Horror coming to Fox, here is Laverne Cox’s version of “Sweet Transvestite,” via Vulture. Unlike the lackluster rendition of every theatre kid’s favorite, “Time Warp,” this isn’t half bad!
Not bad, Laverne. Not bad at all. While Tim Curry’s original go as Dr. Frank-N-Furter was louche and messy, all shrieking saxophones and pounding, insistent piano, this version is slicker, more produced, and dare I say a little smoother? Ah, well. It’s fine! Laverne still keeps some of that gritty nastiness in her voice, especially in her lower register, and for that I am grateful.
Addressing the issue of the word “transvestite” in the title of the song, Cox told Vanity Fair that she and director Kenny Ortega grappled with whether or not to include it in the remake. As we know, “transvestite” was once an acceptable word to use to describe transgender people; now, in 2016, it most certainly is not. The decision to keep the word in the remake was ultimately in tribute to the original.
“Historically, the terms have changed [and] it doesn’t mean the same thing today that it meant in the 70s,” she told Vanity Fair. “It’s not appropriate to refer to trans people as a transvestite [today], but it is [used here as] the character in that specific moment in history.”
The remake will premiere on Fox on October 21 and will hopefully serve as a nice introduction to legions of millenniass who look at you like you’re crazy when you say “Dammit, Janet!” when you stub your toe (no one does this, probably, but still.)