BWW Review: JEKYLL & HYDE at the Engeman

BWW Review: JEKYLL & HYDE at the Engeman

To start, this article will probably not do this incredible production justice. The latest at the John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, Jekyll & Hyde, The Musical, is absolutely electrifying and the Broadway caliber cast is positively glorious. This is, without a doubt, a must see for Long Island this season. And by the reaction of the sold out audience on opening night, you may want to get your tickets quickly as this runs through April 30th.

Set to a commanding pop-rock score by Frank Wildhorn (music) and book writer Leslie Bricuse (lyrics), the thriller follows Dr. Henry Jekyll attempting to cure his ailing father's illness by separating "good" from "evil" in the human personality. Dr. Jekyll, however, inadvertently creates an alternate personality of evil - who he names Mr. Hyde - and wreaks horrifying havoc in London.

Paul Stancato wonderfully directs and choreographs the brilliant cast headed up by Nathanial Hackmann. A wondrous talent and spectacular voice make Mr. Hackmann a natural in the role(s). His sharp attention to detail for each character (stance, movement, ext.) is inspired. This particularly during the intense "Confrontation" number where Jekyll is battling Hyde to be free from his murderous grasp.

And, naturally, the leading ladies are dazzling. Liana Hunt portrays Emma, Dr. Jekyll's fiancé. Emma's sweet devotion to Dr. Jekyll balances well with her headstrong demeanor. Indeed, her rendition of "Once Upon a Dream" is met with thunderous applause. And Caitlyn Caughell is superb as Lucy, the main attraction at The Red Rat, a sleazy club. Just as Jekyll has a "light" and "dark" side, Lucy is the "dark" to Emma's "light" as Lucy is deeply attracted to Hyde. Ms. Caughell's performance of "Bring on the Men" was particularly fun and sassy.

I really could go on and on (and on!) about the entire cast, but I think you get the idea that the entire company is really outstanding.

As for Mr. Stancato's amazing creative team, a clever set by Stephen Dobay is enhanced ideally (and, at times, chillingly) by Keith Truax's lighting (Dr. Jekyll's basement laboratory is a highlight). Though, perhaps, excessive movement of some of the scrims is distracting at moments. The mood and tone is set perfectly under the musical direction of Kristen Lee Rosenfeld and her orchestra with Laura Shubert's spot-on sound design. Additionally, Kurt Alger's costumes are breath-taking.

Even as I write this, I am still rendered speechless at this exhilarating production. A top-notch production with an unnerving story make for a thrilling night of theatre.

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Created by Leslie Bricuse (Book and Lyrics) and Frank Wildhorn (music), Produced by Richard T. Dolce, Direction & Choreography by Paul Stancato (Engeman Theater: Sound of Music, Hairspray; Broadway: The Wedding Singer (Asst. Choreo.), The Lion King (Res. Director); National Tours: Flashdance (Dir/Choreo), Jekyll & Hyde (Dir/Choreo), The Wedding Singer (Dir)), Musical Direction by Kristen Lee Rosenfeld, Scenic Design by Stephen Dobay, Costume & Wig Design by KURT ALGER, Lighting Design by Keith A. Truax, Sound Design by Laura Shubert, Casting by GAYLE SEAY & SCOTT WOJCIK & Holly Buczek of Wojcik/Seay Casting, Stage Management by SEAN FRANCIS PATRICK, Assistant Stage Manager is LEILA SCANDAR

Starring Caitlyn Caughell as Lucy Harris (Broadway: Newsies; National Tour: Bridges of Madison County), Nathaniel Hackmann as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde (Broadway/National Tours: Les Miserables, Paint Your Wagon; Regional: Beauty and the Beast , Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Oliver!, Sweeney Todd, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Carousel, Ragtime, Into the Woods, Camelot, Sanders Family Christmas, Bye Bye Birdie), and Liana Hunt as Emma Carew (Broadway: Newsies, Mamma Mia!; National Tours: Wicked, Mamma Mia!; Regional: Private Lives, Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast) with Danny Arnold, Ryan Bloomquist, Joey Calveri, Lily Dickinson, Lauren Gobes, Laura Helm, Deven Kolluri, Megan Koumis, Rebecca Kuznick, Tom Lucca, Jake Mills, William Mulligan, Bronson Norris Murphy, Blake Price, JAMES D. SCHULTZ, TERESA WHITT and Jeff Williams.

For tickets and more information please call (631) 261-9720 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

Photo by Michael DeCristofaro; Nathaniel Hackmann as Dr. Henry Jekyll

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