BWW Reviews: JEKYLL & HYDE THE MUSICAL is an Extraordinary Experience
The new production of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical visits Detroit before heading to Broadway early next year. The tour is astounding in all aspects and worth the time to experience before the limited engagement here is over. The production that stars Tony Award Nominee Constantine Maroulis and Grammy Award Nominee Deborah Cox is filled with beautiful music enhanced by emotionally charged singing and is visually stimulating to watch with its creative set and exceptional costumes.
Maroulis takes on the dual title role of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde and does an outstanding job at it. Watching him on stage there is no doubt in the audience’s mind of which character he is at that moment. His Jekyll is endearing, tender, delicate, and filled with a passion to succeed in his scientific experiments and love for his dear Emma. When he sings as Jekyll, it is strong, pure, and full of beautiful melodies and passion like in “This Is The Moment,” when Jekyll finally realizes what he needs to do for his experiments, Maroulis belts out with such passion that it brought a huge applause from the audience when he finished.
Contrarily to his Jekyll, Maroulis’ Hyde is fierce, strong, and disturbed, and he plays both roles so well and even shows what a toll that Hyde is taking on Jekyll as the plot progresses. When he transitions into Hyde, he does not leave out any aspect. His whole body changes, his look, and even his singing voice to an edgier, more rocker type voice, which is apparent in Hyde’s first solo song, “Alive,” and the difference between the two characters is really established at that moment. His brilliant dual performance makes the show worth seeing just for that factor alone.
When Cox steps on stage as Lucy, she immediately grabs attention and demands to be watched. Her Lucy is captivating, alluring, sexy, strong, but yet still has some innocence and hopeless dreamer in the character’s personality. Her singing is just as strong, possibly even more so than her acting and stage presence. “Bring On The Men” is a show stopping, sexy number, which is when the audience first hears her sing and from that moment on, she has their attention. Cox does an incredible job of making the audience feel for her character and understand what Lucy has gone through. She makes the character and her songs her own through her strong voice that her R&B background enhances each song. Her solo songs, “Sympathy, Tenderness,” “Someone Like You,” and “A New Life,” are absolutely beautiful and filled with emotion in every moment that she is singing them. Cox is just stunning on stage as Lucy and her voice is so strong that it makes every moment she sings a magical one.
Teal Wicks plays Emma, the love of Jekyll, and is just all around wonderful in her performance. She has a pure singing voice that just floats and carries emotion through the entire theatre. Her Emma is a strong woman, just like Cox’s Lucy, but it is in a different way and she brings such a love and purity to the stage with emotions for Jekyll. Her “Once Upon A Dream” is beautiful, yet heartbreaking with all the emotion she brings to it.
The entire company of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical works very well together. They sound great as a whole and have some great group numbers such as “Façade,” which the five board of governors (Blair Ross, Brian Gallagher, David Benoit, Mel Johnson Jr., and Aaron Ramey) stand out and is done really creatively using the entire company. That number also sets up the opening of number “Murder” of act two, which once again is visually appealing to watch and creatively performed by the entire company.
The show has some beautiful duets through out it as all actors perform exceptionally well together. “Take Me As I Am” between Maroulis and Wicks is a beautiful blend of their voices that are filled with emotions showing how the characters feel about one another. “Dangerous Game” is filled with passion, sex, and thrill that Maroulis and Cox perform together with a fiery intensity that resonates through the entire theatre. Maroulis’ duet with himself as both Jekyll and Hyde in “Confrontation” is performed creatively through the use of the set and he does a wonderful job as both characters and making sure the audience sees him as two different people during the number.
The lighting and use of color in the production from it, along with the costumes and set, are worth a mention because it enhances the show perfectly. As the audience takes their seats in the Fisher Theatre, the stage is set with eerie smoke being blown around that is projected on the screen bordered by a white light. The set design and lighting really sets the tone throughout the entire show and it is interesting to watch it change as the characters and story progresses. The show starts out with muted grays, blacks, and whites, but it works for the beginning and actually makes characters and set pieces stand out in the beginning numbers. As the show moves along, color is slowly added in, but nothing vibrant, just rich, deep colors appear in places such as green during the engagement party and red in Spider’s club. At intermission, the screen is back up only this time, Hyde’s shadow is projected walking by every so often with it being bordered by red light. Through the second act more colors emerge slowly, but there is still a major use of grey, black, and white. It is not until “Confrontation” that bold, vibrant colors are used and just intensify the entire number and its meaning.
Jekyll & Hyde the Musical is an experience worth having. It has a stellar cast, fantastic music, amazing singing, and visually pleasing with its lighting and sets. The new production is creative and exciting, so take a chance to see it here in Detroit before it becomes a stand out on Broadway in New York City.
Jekyll & Hyde the Musical is a limited pre-Broadway tour engagement at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit currently playing until December 2nd. For more information and tickets visit www.broadwayindetroit.com or www.jekyllandhydemusical.com.