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A CurtainUp Review
Jekyll & Hyde

This is the moment!
This is the day,
When I send all my doubts and demons
On their way!

— Dr. Jekyll
Jekyll & Hyde
Teal Wicks and Constantine Maroulis
He's back, or is it they're back? That is the over-dosing Dr. Jekyll and his demented alter ego Mr. Hyde, back for the first time since they created their share of havoc on Broadway in 1997.

"Jekies" (as they were called back then) will undoubtedly attend to this latest incarnation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic horror tale of a morbid doctor's quest to isolate and unleash the darker side of man's personality. Already filmed more than any novel in history, J&H has survived countless variations on its obsessive Victorian themes of repression and schizophrenia. It certainly attests to the public's continued fascination with the possibility of freeing body and mind from society's taboos.

This latest Jekyll & Hyde under the perfunctory direction (also choreography) by Jeff Calhoun still boasts as its main asset the oppressively/expressively operatic score by Frank Wildhorn (music) and Leslie Bricusse (lyrics) which the sound engineers do their best to obliterate through the sheer force and power of their technology. This, however, will not deter the cultish "jekies" with their peculiar devotion to this musical's giddily ghoulish rewards.

As designed by Tobin Osto (sets and costumes), this production reveals the story's bubbles, squeaks and squeals within an almost monochromatic palate. Question for the designer: Did men's britches really have zippers in 1880? We are pleased to see on occasion the splashes of red and green in the otherwise handsome costumes as well as in the laboratory vials.

Hooray for the abundance of rain, fog and vapors. The latter even comes up through the floor of the elegant living room of a Regent's Park home where the well-to-do who live there, and the impoverished who don't, sing with equally well-trained voices.

We see scurrying groups of London sluts and swells make their way from Regent's Park to the dockside slums and the "The Spider's Web" whorehouse in London's East End where some (particularly the mean ones) are destined to be brutally murdered. Calhoun's most imaginative contribution is the number in The Spider House where the clients get bound in huge web of ropes for a bit of playful sado-masochism.

One thing is certain. There is no escape from either Mr. Hyde or the show's enveloping, too often nerve-racking, score. What everyone knows is how much the score covers up the laughable banalities of the script.

This production tries its best to give vent to every frightening and lurid aspect of the nightmarish story. Another infusion, presumably a back-story, is an attempt to explain why Dr. Jekyll's is driven to his mad experiments in an attempt to cure his incurably insane father whom we see confined to a straight jacket in an institution. Projection designer Daniel Brodie has a field day enhancing one of Dr. Jekyll's nightmares.

For those with a taste for it, this show is filled with dark and stormy nights, the grandest Grand Guignol exhibition of murders since Sweeney Todd, and a laboratory filled with erupting vials. It doesn't take too long to get right down to the vile erupting of our maniacal lunatic.

Although Tony nominated (Rock of Ages) Constantine Maroulis is not physically or dramatically imposing, he has a splendid voice which he deploys with brio, singing the angst-driven tunes like a man possessed. One is apt to wonder if Mr. Hyde's demonic behavior is really unleashed as a result of the serum with which he is injecting himself, or simply the act of loosening his pony tail.

Audiences love hit tunes that sound like hit tunes, so Jekyll's "This is the Moment" fills the niche nicely. However, there are too many times when the performers are directed to stand down stage center and bellow their songs directly to the audience. Multi-platinum R&B/pop recording artist Deborah Cox plays Lucy, the whore with the great voice. She makes the most of her time to win our empathy with "A New Life," a song in which she considers such things as "Who Am I, What Am I, Where Am I?" It's funny that I was asking myself the same questions at that moment.

I have to admire the restrained performance of Teal Wicks who plays Emma, Dr. Jekyll's loving and loyal fiancèe. I also commend her for not having to prove that her prettily sung aria was better than anyone else's. If this blood-less (literally) production of Jekyll & Hyde proves anything, it is that a revival can often be (as one of the songs say) "A Dangerous Game."

Editor's Note: Though the song lineup has changed a bit this seems the right moment, to add our synopsis of the 1997 review, so here goes. . .
The songs from Jekyll & Hyde seem to tell it all. . .

"This Is The Moment" that we can finally hum and recall a show's tunes. "A New Life" has come to Broadway even if it is imbued with "Good N' Evil" and it is "Alive" with great talent. The sophisticated staging makes "Someone Like You" and me fascinated with the production. However, this pop-opera cleverly composed by Frank Wildhorn with book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse is a "Facade" of the original story by Robert Louis Stevenson and does not create deep feelings of "Sympathy, Tenderness," along with compassion for the characters. Instead it has us go along with the ride of Hyde's "Dangerous Game" of "Murder, Murder" with his "Confrontation" with his "Obsession" as he is "Lost In The Darkness." As you can conclude, this show smoothly moves us from song to song "Letting Go" with vocal artistry.



Jekyll & Hyde
Lyrics by: Leslie Bricusse, Steve Cuden
Music by: Frank Wildhorn Book by: Leslie Bricusse
Concept by Frank Wildhorn and Steve Cuden
Directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun
Cast: Constantine Maroulis (Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde), Deborah Cox (Lucy Harris), Teal Wicks (Emma Carew), Richard White (Sir Danvers Carew), Laird Mackintoch (John Utterson), David Benoit (The Bishop of Basingstoke/Spider), Blair Ross (Lady Beaconsfield), Jason Wooten (Simon Stride), Brian Gallagher (Lord Savage), Mel Johnson, Jr. (Sir Archibald Proops, Q.C.), Aaron Ramey (General Lord Glossop), Dana Costello (Nellie), James Judy (Jekyll's Father/Poole), Jerry Christakos (Bisset/Minister)
Scenic and Costume Design: Tobin Ost
Lighting Design: Jeff Croiter
Sound Design: Ken Travis
Projection Design: Daniel Brodie
Orchestrations: Kim Scharnberg
Musical Supervision and Arrangements: Jason Howland
Running Time: Two hours and 20 minutes, which includes intermission
Marquis Theatre 1535 Broadway
From 4/05/13; opening 4/18/13; closing 6/30/13
Monday @ 8pm, Tuesday @7pm, Thursday and Friday @8pm, Saturday @2 and 8pm,Sunday @2 and 7pm
Reviewed by Elyse Sommer at April 22nd press performance
  • Lost In The Darkness /Jekyll
  • Musical Numbers
    Act One
    • Lost In The Darkness /Jekyll
    • I Need to Know /Jekyll
    • Facade /Company
    • Board of Governors (lyrics by Steve Cuden, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn)/ Jekyll, Sir Danvers Carew, The Bishop of Basingstoke and Company
    • Pursue the Truth /Jekyll, John Utterson and Company
    • Facade (Reprise)/ Jekyll, John Utterson and Company
    • Take Me As I Am /Jekyll and Emma
    • Letting Go /Sir Danvers Carew and Emma
    • Bring on the Men /Lucy and Company
    • This Is The Moment /Jekyll
    • Transformation (lyrics by Steve Cuden, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn) /Jekyll and Hyde
    • Alive! (lyrics by Steve Cuden, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn)/ Hyde
    • His Work - And Nothing More (lyrics by Steve Cuden, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn)/ John Utterson, Emma, Sir Danvers Carew and Jekyll
    • Sympathy, Tenderness /Lucy
    • Someone Like You /Lucy
    • Alive! (Reprise)/ (lyrics by Steve Cuden, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn) Hyde I Need to Know /Jekyll
    • FaDade /Company
    • Board of Governors (lyrics by Steve Cuden, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn)/ Jekyll, Sir Danvers Carew, The Bishop of Basingstoke and Company
    • Facade (Reprise)/ Jekyll, John Utterson and Company
    • Pursue the Truth /Jekyll, John Utterson and Company
    • Take Me As I Am /Jekyll and Emma
    • Letting Go /Sir Danvers Carew and Emma
    • Bring on the Men /Lucy and Company
    • This Is The Moment /Jekyll
    • Transformation (lyrics by Steve Cuden, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn) /Jekyll and Hyde
    • Alive! (lyrics by Steve Cuden, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn)/ Hyde
    • His Work - And Nothing More (lyrics by Steve Cuden, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn)/ John Utterson, Emma, Sir Danvers Carew and Jekyll
    • Sympathy, Tenderness /Lucy
    • Someone Like You /Lucy
    • Alive! (Reprise)/ (lyrics by Steve Cuden, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn) Hyde
    Act Two
    • Murder (lyrics by Steve Cuden, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn)/ Company
    • Once Upon A Dream
    • (lyrics by Steve Cuden, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn) /Emma
    • Reflections/ Jekyll
    • In His Eyes/ Lucy and Emma
    • Dangerous Game/ Hyde and Lucy
    • The Way Back /John Utterson and Jekyll
    • A New Life/ Lucy
    • Sympathy, Tenderness (Reprise) /Hyde
    • Confrontation /Jekyll and Hyde
    • Letting Go (Reprise) /Sir Danvers Carew and Emma
    • The Wedding /Jekyll and Emma
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