BWW Reviews: JEKYLL & HYDE THE MUSICAL a Must See in Kansas City
With minimal sets and props but loaded with outstanding talent, Jekyll & Hyde The Musical is playing at the Just Off Broadway Theatre in Kansas City, MO. Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson novel A Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde, is produced by She&Her Productions, with Tiffany Schweigert directing the multi-talented cast.
Steve Cuden and Frank Wildhorn developed the original concept for the play and Wildhorn wrote the music and the lyrics and book are by Leslie Bricusse. The Kansas City production includes music direction by Jim Vinkenberg and choreography by Leah Swank Miller.
Alex Bigus plays Dr. Henry Jekyll who desperately tries to find a cure for mental illness by removing evil thoughts from the brain. Testing his experiment on himself, it unexpectedly backfires and transforms him into Edward Hyde, a homicidal maniac. Bigus performs outstandingly in the dual roles and has a magnificent voice. His acting and vocal talent stands out when as both characters he performs the song "Confrontation" in the second act.
Emma Carew, played by Katie Meador, is the fiancé of Dr. Jekyll, whose love stands true even after she discovers his terrible secret at their wedding. Meador has a lovely voice and demonstrated excellent acting skills throughout the production. Her rendition of "Once Upon a Dream" was marvelous.
Dennis Maddux portrays Sir Danvers Carew, Emma's father. He attempts to support his friend Dr. Jekyll, daughter Emma, until finally, his trust in Jekyll diminishes, and he tries to convince Emma to call off the wedding. This is the third production Maddux has appeared in for She&Her Productions, having previously appeared in Proposals and Urinetown.
Lucy, the prostitute who works at The Red Rat, befriends Jekyll, and later enters into a torrid affair with Hyde. Kelsie Clark plays Lucy Harris and is spectacular as she and the girls from The Red Rat perform "Bring On The Men." Clark ratifies the old aphorism, "the show must go on," as she performed on Friday March 7 all the while suffering with walking pneumonia. After the show she confirmed her condition stating, "I just hoped I could give the audience the whole performance."
The Bishop of Basingstoke, a member of the board of governors, is one of the committee that rejects Jekyll's experiments and the first victim of Hyde's revenge. Ray Zarr breathes life into the role of the bishop, displaying fine acting skills as he screams at Hyde, not knowing of the danger that awaits him. He has appeared in numerous productions in Kansas City and twice toured with the national touring company of Cabaret with Joel Gray and with 1776 as Richard Henry Lee.
Jekyll & Hyde The Musical is a tremendous production that no one who loves the performing arts should miss. The production continues at the Just Off Broadway Theatre through March 16 with evening performances at 8 p.m. and the March 16 show at 2 p.m. Purchase tickets at the She&Her Productions website. Photos courtesy of KansasCityImagery.com.