With Tony Award-nominee Constantine Maroulis and Grammy Award-nominatee Deborah Cox at its helm, the national tour of the musical thriller Jekyll and Hyde hit the Great White Way April, and continues for a nine-week stint at Broadway’s Marquis Theater.
The revival of the 90’s long-running show is based on the novella, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson. It is the story of a man who, while searching for a way to cure his ill father, makes a dark discovery that forces him to delve into the duality of good and evil which reside in us all. The musical is directed by Tony Award-winner Jeff Calhoun (Newsies, Bonnie & Clyde, Grey Gardens, and a slew of others) and is choreographed by Associate Director Richard J. Hinds (Newsies, 9 to 5, Disney’s High School Musical, etc.). This is not the first pairing of Calhoun and Hinds who together, excel in creating stunning and strong storytelling. The scenic and costume designs of Tony-nominated Tobin Ost with lighting by Tony winner Jeff Croiter combined to give a chilling cinematic flair to the production.
Hinds’s use of the stage and mastery of theatrically motivated movement brought grace to what could otherwise lend itself to a very static piece, an issue with the original production. Constantine Maroulis delivered a commanding performance in the title role(s) of the piece. His Hyde was much stronger than his Jekyll, as he was able to showcase his rock ‘n roll chops for the more wailing wildness the score demanded. In what is perhaps the show’s most well-known song, “This is the Moment,” Maroulis’s back phrasing was distracting, but he made up for it in “Alive” when we first see the doctor transform from man to beast. The ability to play Hyde more effectively than Jekyll, may in part be an issue with the way the role is written. Other actors to tackle the part have been unconvincing until they drink the potion that brings out the evil Hyde.
As Lucy Harris, Hyde’s object of lust, Deborah Cox delivered a delightfully sensual performance. She attacked her songs with beauty and strength, giving me chills numerous times throughout her numbers. During “A New Life,” she held the audience in the palm of her hand and emoted hope that she would indeed escape the clutches of the mad man.
My favorite moment was the duet “In His Eyes,” between Lucy and Emma Carew, Henry Jekyll’s fiancé—played by Teal Wicks, who waslast seen on Broadway as Elphaba in Wicked. In this song, both characters spoke of the love and compassion they saw in the eyes of Dr. Jekyll, with whom they are both in love. Their two voices blended with enormous power, and it was the most heart wrenching moment of the evening.
I loved the opportunity to hear Frank Wildhorn’s sumptuously orchestrated score. It brought me back in time to the days of the pop-90s musical, when I was first discovering Broadway. It is evident that the cast, crew, and musicians have worked hard and come together to deliver this spectacle across the country, to which the audience responded with an uproarious standing ovation.