BWW Reviews: On the Way to Broadway, JEKYLL & HYDE Comes to Durham
Jekyll & Hyde is hitting Broadway this spring, but it's making a pit-stop right here in the Triangle on the way. It's a rare and fun chance to see a show before it opens on the Great White Way. Top that off with three show-stopping stars, and it amounts to a theatrical experience you won't want to miss.
The original production of Jekyll & Hyde opened on Broadway in 1997, and this reimagining is helmed by director Jeff Calhoun. Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson work The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the musical follows Dr. Henry Jekyll on his quest to find a subject for his experiment to separate the good from the bad in people. Not granted permission for such an experiment, he conducts the medical tests on himself, unleashing an evil alter ego named Edward Hyde. This has grave implications for everyone from society's elite to ladies of the night, and, of course, for Jekyll's close acquaintances, namely his best friend and his fiancée.
The cast is led by a trifecta of talented performers with Constantine Maroulis as the title characters, Teal Wicks as his fiancée Emma, and Deborah Cox as Lucy, the promiscuous woman who catches the attention of both Jekyll and Hyde. Despite what sounded like a little hoarseness in some of the high notes (which I'm sure is temporary), Maroulis delivered big, particularly in songs which catered to his rocker style and featured big notes - namely, "This is the Moment." Cox scored enthusiastic applause for her powerful voice and alluring stage persona, hitting it big in the first act with "Bring on the Men," and again in the second act with "A New Life." The dark horse of this trio is the seemingly unassuming Wicks, who ends up blowing away the audience with her finely honed and quite impressive voice. She sings just as well in her upper register as in her chest voice, and, in the classiest way possibly, steals the show. The star power of these three is magnified any time two of them are singing together, each providing the ideal counterpart for the other, particularly in the duet between Emma and Lucy, "In His Eyes."
The performances and directing are excellent, but what sets this production apart is the scenic and lighting design, by Tobin Ost and Jeff Croiter, and projection design by Daniel Brodie. The sets and lighting create places from the highest society to the lowest, all while using a few key pieces. The use of projection, particularly of portrait photographs, creates unique and engaging spaces which not only set the scenes perfectly, but draw the audience in another degree. The attention to detail is evident even before the show and during intermission, in which projections of fog and Hyde's shadow, respectively, create an entire theatrical experience instead of merely a two-act show.
Jekyll & Hyde runs through January 13. For tickets and more information, visit www.dpacnc.com.