Tuesday November 21st 2017

“Jekyll & Hyde the musical”

jhposter recall finding the original version of “Jekyll & Hyde, the musical” a very dark and scattered “love” story when it was here. Now, it is back for another view with some added material and staging, making its way back to Broadway to see if it can rekindle the mystery that gave it a four year run on the first effort. This is a stark and dark story of “good and evil” as written by Robert Louis Stevenson in his “The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll & Mr. Hyde”. The musical version has a book by Leslie Bricusse, who also did the lyrics and music by Frank Wildhorn ( who also, along with Steve Cuden put the idea before the producers and brought it to the stage). It is a wild trip into the mind of a Doctor who wants to be able to do experiments allowing him to reach into the “duality” of the brain; to be able to separate good and evil. The institution that he asks for permission to experiment with, using their mental patients, refuses his request and so he uses his own mind as his test and creates his alter ego, the evil Mr. Hyde, who takes out his revenge on those who turned him down.

Directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun with a very talented cast of players, I still found the show one that needs more work. It is very dark, not only in story ( as is the original) but often the stage is far to dark to see that characters faces and while Constantine Maroulis ( yes, the American Idol, Constantine) has a wonderful voice, hitting some rather high notes, his character transformation was never quite as powerful as the story indicates it should be. His Hyde was much stronger than his Jekyll. I also never believed that either of his relationships, one, as Jekyll with fiance  Emma ( Teal Wicks) and the other a slut, Lucy ( marvelously played by Deborah Cox) were real- there was never any chemistry, at least on his part.

The ensemble is made up of strong singers and the set design (Tobin Ost) became confusing with lighted pillars, that also served as large vials of bubbling liquid in his laboratory and wall pieces appearing to be books that tilted as if pages were being turned. I thought only I visualized this, but in speaking to some of the others in my area and listening to others during intermission, I was not alone. I also had a problem with the sound as many of the songs sounded like an echo chamber was being used ( and they did so for affect. These are top notch voices that did not need any artificial amplification! While this may not be another “Phantom” or “Les Miz”, there are some wonderful songs”This is The Moment”, “A New Life”,”Someone Like You” (Ms Cox shines on this one) and “Once Upon A Dream”  to name a few. The running time is close to two and a half hours including a 15 minute intermission and perhaps they can look at snipping a few portions to get closer to two hours.Jekyll & Hyde  023

Being pre-Broadway, I am sure they will continue to look at scenes and songs as well as watch audience reactions. Chicago is a great theater city, so they are sure to learn from our audiences. Seeing people hail cabs at intermission is certainly not an indicator as often on an opening night, there are guests of the producers and sponsors who are only there to make an appearance. The show has merit and the cast has talent and I know from experience, it will improve with work.

“Jekyll & Hyde” will continue at The Cadillac Palace Theatre as part of the Broadway In Chicago season through March 24th with performances as follows:

Tuesdays,Wednesdays,Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.,Saturdays at 8 p.m.

Matinees are Wednesdays,Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

On March 17th there will be an added 7:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $33-$95 ( so the show is far more affordable than the Big Apple people will pay) and can be purchased at any of the Broadway In Chicago theaters, The Broadway In Chicago Ticketline at 800-775-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.BroadwayinChicago.com

The Cadillac Palace is located at 151 W. Randolph Street ( at LaSalle Street)

To see wha others say, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to review Round-up and click on “Jekyll & Hyde”

You can also visit www.JekyllandhydeMucial.com to learn more and view scenes

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