They are Janet and Brad respectively in The Rocky Horror Show at the Theatre Royal Brighton (until January 5; tickets 0844 871 7650).
Ben says: “It is one of my favourite shows that I have ever seen. The first time I saw it was a couple of years ago. I went along and everyone was dressing up and I was just amazed at all these songs that I found I knew, one after another.
“I thought it was just an incredible show and it inspired me to write a musical that I wrote called Eugenius! which has happened twice this year. I had no idea that I was going to be in The Rocky Horror show, and then when it came up, I just jumped at it.
“And Brad is a really fun character to play. In Flashdance my character was a bit more straight-laced, and it is great now to go on the journey that Brad goes on in The Rocky Horror Show.”
The musical tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two squeaky clean college kids who meet Dr Frank’n’Furter by chance when their car breaks down outside his house whilst on their way to visit their favourite college professor.
It’s an adventure they’ll never forget, with fun, frolics, frocks and frivolity, bursting with timeless songs and outrageous outfits.
“And I get the chance to dress up in corsets and stilettoes which is funny. I am quite hairy!
“The show is just brilliant. And there is some amazing music. But really I suppose it is a musical that says that you can be whoever you want to be. You can be very, very flamboyant if you want to be. If you have never seen it, you have got quite some experience coming up.
“To be honest, musicals weren’t something I had ever thought about. I was in a1 and then I was writing and producing for other artists, and then Flashdance came up and I thought ‘OK, I have always turned musicals down before because I didn’t really have the time.’ But there was a window of six months before Eugenius! was about to start and so I had a bit of time and I just thought I would give it a go, and I absolutely loved it. It was just something new for me. I love new challenges. I was a singer and a pop star for so many years and then I was writing and working with other artists, and now this was the first time I have ever done something by anybody else.
“I loved Flashdance so much that I ended up extending my contract.”
The Rocky Horror Show tour stretches into the middle of next year for Joanne and Ben.
“We were lucky enough to meet up with (writer) Richard O’Brien and we asked what it was that has made The Rocky Horror Show stick around for such a long time. He says it was that the rock ‘n’ roll era was so popular with people and is still so popular now.”.
The Rocky Horror Show first began life in 1973 before an audience of just 63 people in the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs. It was an immediate success and transferred to the Chelsea Classic Cinema, before going on to run at the Kings Road Theatre, 1973-79 and the Comedy Theatre in the West End, 1979-80.
In 1975 it was transformed into a film called The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The film adaptation took over $135 million at the Box Office and is still shown in cinemas around the world more than 40 years after its premiere, making it the longest running theatrical release in cinema history. Many stars including Russell Crowe, Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Jerry Springer, Jason Donovan and Meatloaf have appeared in The Rocky Horror Show over the past 45 years.