Printer Friendly - Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by bwayto 2012-11-17 20:03:40

So after reading a bunch on these forums about the show I finally saw it (caught the matinee today in Toronto, all cast was in)

Let me start off by saying I think as a show, the entire concept needs work. This musical is just too gloomy for a 2hr 45m stage show. About 25 mins in you start thinking getting depressed, and by the end, I wasn't really siding with Dr. Jekyll anymore, hoping he wins. I was frankly indifferent to how it played out. However, I understand this may simply be not my cup of tea, and I figure it's one of those love it or hate it type projects. Assuming you like the concept, lets talk about...

Teal Wicks, the standout performer of this entire group. She is phenomenal, and the entire show, I just kept thinking, Emma should have more to do. Her voice and acting are incredible. Clearly very well trained, goes from belt to legit faster than a speeding bullet.

Deborah Cox, has a good voice. She needs to watch her accent, it's fading in and out. Very distracting. While her singing was good, you could tell she's new at acting, maybe just a little bit uncomfortable. I am sure this will correct itself with more performances. She is very emotional when she sings. She also plays well off of the other actors and you really end up siding/praying for her more than anyone in this production.

Constantine Maroulis... has been mis-cast. He just doesn't have the voice/skillset for THIS particular role. I think hes fantastic as a performer and actor, but does not deliver in this role. He works his way up to every note, with a slide. It's very annoying after a few minutes, and doesn't fit the character. Jekyll should be sung Legit, something he is unable or not willing to do. Accent was consistent which is good. He sounds very raspy on all of the lower music. This is the moment was ok, he did hit some nice notes, but again, sliding up to all of them. Telsey Casting should reconsider this one...

Ensemble all had great voices and acted well, no complaints. Felt sometimes the direction was off but that is not their fault. In fact, the direction in many places felt awkward.

The sets were interesting, a little minimalistic. The lab set was ok. I was honestly expecting something a little more a la Young Frankenstein. Trying to make up for it with projections was a little strange for me. I am not a huge fan of the projections.

The confrontation: [SPOILER - STOP HERE] Did not like this at all. Hyde was pre-recorded and projected, and Maroulis was Jekyll... Projections of fire and broken glass made it seem cheesy and cheap... Looked half-assed.

Lastly, the Orchestra. 11 Musicians according to the program, including the conductor. Keyboard 2 was on synth, making up for missing instruments. I know this is becoming common now. However, this productions entire orchestra sounded extremely cheap. Also, they are playing to backing click tracks. Worst of all, this became so evident when during one scene change, the music started a little into the track (middle of a note), and the orchestra had to catch up (you may have this happen to you when you first start itunes and the song you play starts audio late). The entire orchestra sounded super thin. For the price we pay for theatre, you'd think you could get a full orchestra. While they are using the original orchestration, much has been put to synth or pre-recorded.

Overall, I think this has potential, but needs work before Broadway, and a lot. I think the show needs some comedic relief before the end of the first act and halfway through the second. (Take N2N, Henry was the comedic relief and I think was a big part in making the show work).

Anyways, just my 2cents.

Please don't take these comments as being mean, or that I don't appreciate how hard each person on stage and off is working. I have a huge respect for all the performers. These are just things I think need to change in previews/pre-bway.

What do you guys think?

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by CATSNYrevival 2012-11-17 20:35:21

^Just as a correction, they are not using the 1997 Broadway orchestrations. These are entirely new orchestrations by the same orchestrator, Kim Scharnberg. In my opinion, these new orchestrations pale in comparison to HIS previous ones.

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by TheresaG 2012-11-17 20:46:46

What do I think? I think we should stop making all these threads about this show which is still on tour. This is like the 4th thread about this show. Just this morning I was in a thread that had a lot of pages. Let's use what we have to keep stuff together.

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by bwayto 2012-11-17 20:56:10


Thanks for the correction. Yes, they are by the same orchestrator which is why I assumed it's the same orchestration (Program does not indicate new orchestration by, etc.) And yes, they sound quite terribly thin in general. I was sitting very close to the pit (4 rows back) and the entire show they sounded like a badly sequenced midi file made by a high school drama student. The pre-recorded/synth material along with the live woodwinds sound awful!

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by My Oh My 2012-11-18 02:24:28

It's terribly depressing how musicals with long established, and very well known orchestrations are being totally ruined and given the bargain basement treatment in their revivals. Oh, excuse me, 'revisals.'

I love the Broadway fan community, but I will always be bitterly disappointed in them at the same time for allowing these penny pinching producers of today go in and jumble up a show's definitive musical language...for what? To fool us into thinking it's a gift, a NEW orchestration for modern day audiences. So depressing that so many fall for it and sincerely think it's an update and even an improvement.

The things one can claim about stuff nobody cares about has no limit. I still have trouble internalizing the reality that my beloved Broadway fan community doesn't give a rat's ass about music and orchestration, and that they actually believe crap like the NEW Les Mis orchs and even these horrid NEW J&H orchs are actually good, even great and don't ever even entertain the thought that maybe it's all a creative way of duping the public to reduce costs.

Same applies to this recent trend of using ugly, uncreative projections in place of real sets. Penny pinching is good when the final product makes you think of anything but. But...these revisals of the day look, feel, and sound like a piece of trash.

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by CATSNYrevival 2012-11-18 02:41:31

^I think this orchestration for Jekyll & Hyde only utilizes two less musicians than the Broadway orchestration, but I do agree to a certain extent. In my opinion, the Broadway orchestrations were one of the best elements of that incarnation, and all of the others before and after were a bit campy and more 80s sounding. These "new" orchestrations are just terrible and it's hard to believe that they were even done by the same orchestrator. MTI doesn't even license the Broadway orchestrations as far as I know. It's a shame.

For Les Miz, I do actually like some of the new 25th Anniversary stuff. I agree that it was probably done in an effort to cut costs and it's not fair to mislead the public the way that they do, but there is some stuff that I can't lie and say that I hate. I really enjoy "Javert's Soliloquy" in particular. I'm not a music expert so I can't comment on what exactly they changed, but the bit when he's about to jump, and the music sort of drops out behind him, is really cool. The whole "I am reaching, but I fall" bit was really chilling to me. That effect disappeared after a while though. It lost its impact on repeated listenings.

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by My Oh My 2012-11-18 05:06:11

The new concoction isn't unlikable and a crapload of it is heavily based on the originals. It's a beautiful thing...tainted by the heavy hands of three additional concoctionists whose purpose for jumbling things up had to do with saving pennies and it shows.

At any rate, back on topic, I should probably mention what triggered that post...just got the cast recording of this current J&H 'revisal' and I must say that I can do a much, MUCH better job at mixing an album with my bare feet and a blindfold on and cotton stuffed into my ears. It's horrendous, with vocals sounding as if holding a pillow over their mouths and the orchestra chirping away with a few 'lovely' strings played loudly over the mess so as to dupe as they did so successfully with the Les Mis mumble jumble. The new J&H orchs make the show sound terribly boring and one note. At least the original Broadway orchs had some shameless theatrics and random bombast that was tacky but it worked! Here, it all sounds so sweety, lovely, awwww, so boootiful...what everyone who buys these recent attempts at 'revising' a show these days repeats like a cued response set forth by the ad campaigns. Don't people have a mind of their own anymore? Don't they have a way to gauge quality other than taking money grubbing producers' word for it?

On a positive note...Ms. Cox and Mr. Maroulis lend vocals drippy in seductive "do me!!!!" tones and inflection. Above all, they both are nice to listen to and are easily the best thing about the album. No comment on miscasting or not since I don't know this show as well as I do, say, Les Mis.

But, yeah, nice horny vocals. They should quit forever ruining classic orchestral works with these butthole NEW WoW orchs1!!! trend and just add tons of SEX and LUST instead. It at least made for nice elevator music.

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by yankeefan7 2012-11-18 09:50:08

Sad about "Confrontation", best part of the original Broadway show was watching Mr. Cuccioli go back and forth which was amazing. ( robbed of Tony IMO)

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by bwayto 2012-11-18 13:23:32

I agree that reduced Orchestrations are sham...

The Jekyll and Hyde new orchs just sound empty. Like there is literally pieces missing during the show.

Same with the "revised/reduced" Beauty and the Beast orchestrations (available as an option from MTI/used for the last No-Equity tour). White they're not as bad as what happened to J/H they are still a huge disappointment none the less.

Orchestrators - stop committing crimes against humanity!

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by bwayto 2012-11-18 13:37:32

Ok So here is the original orchestration list: (17 players)

VIOLIN 1 & 2

This is what it looks like now (11 players)

BASS Acoustic/Electric
KEYBOARD 1 (Conductor)
VIOLIN 1 & 2

This production has significantly reduced the orchestra, and added pre-recorded tracks to the mix. It sounds awful, I heard it first hand. The producers should be ashamed.

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by philly03 2012-11-18 14:07:16

A few things re: orchestrations on the revival tour:
1) Kim Scharnbeg is a man, not a woman Cats .

2) The orchestrations are being adapted by Kim originally done by Billy Jay Stein (worked with Spider-man and Linda Eder) and Jason Howland (Wildhorn's usual conductor - who also worked on the original I believe and composer of "Little Women") based on the work from the album.

Kim is actually very good with limited orchestra personnel, which is suprising to hear people think it sounds thin.

3) There will be more members for the Broadway orchestra.

I like some of the new orchestrations over the old ones (on the concept - the show does sound thin when comparing to the live-event), such as "I Need to Know" and "In His Eyes," but Kim and Jeremy Roberts' original work is/was very good.

The show itself doesn't seem to have changed much, and with this much backlash from both fans, audience members and the critics (obviously), it is surprising they haven't made more changes.

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by CATSNYrevival 2012-11-18 14:11:15

bwayto, you're getting that list from MTI. MTI doesn't license the Broadway orchestrations. The playbill for the original Broadway production lists 14 musicians and not 17.

*** and Kim Scharnberg is a man? Seriously?!?

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by g.d.e.l.g.i. 2012-11-18 16:41:32

^ Signs point to yes.

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by My Oh My 2012-11-18 19:46:44

I can live with orchestral reduction and adaptation of the original orchs. The true loss and infuriating practice that must stop is this "new" orchestration bull that is only a recent trend, where they either completely redo the orchestration or throw in a bunch of things to distract people into thinking it's a whole new work, when the motive really lies in reducing the required number of musicians and reorchestrating as a way around that, or at least hoping that by reorchestrating they can't be accused of cutting and depriving musicians of jibs.

The new orchestration thing isn't a gift nor an update (much less a needed one) for fans. It's a roundabout way of cutting costs by cutting staff and resources and redoing the orchestration, which just HAPPENS to require less than half of the original requirement most of the time. A true gift to true fans would include an expanded version of the original orchs if you want to get demanding. I've always been happy with anything, even a solo piano, as long as it is adapted skillfully, retaining the original musical language and upholding the works integrity.

I probably got you all confused now. But it really has little to do with the strict number of musicians used. Of course, the larger an orchestra, the better, but as was the case with the 25th ann. concert of Les Mis, that orchestra could have been even bigger and I would not have cared, because the atmospheric magic and musical identity in John Cameron's original musical language was lost to a reedy, whiney mess that makes me shudder with how easily it has been accepted by just about everyone who claims to LOVE that musical. What did they like? The screechingly high notes, I guess, cause music can't possibly be a factor. There's no way.

This new J&H has no variety, sounds monotonous, and of course it's pretty, but that's not a compliment when that's all it sounds like, and offers no substance and no character.

It isn't all tragic though and the intro to "In His Eyes" held me for a while, but then let go as the female vocalists shone above even the horrendous mixing job. Brava to them!!

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by darquegk 2012-11-18 20:59:45

Not all orchestration rewrites are bad or wrong... the original "Little Me" was somewhat plagued by a too-orchestral sound, with the strings seeming especially syrupy and sentimental in a lot of the comic numbers. Some might prefer that, it's certainly a valid choice to be made, but I vastly preferred the Prince/Short revival's orchestrations that focused on nightclub jazz instead, adding in more horns and vibraphones to fill out the sound.

Jekyll Hyde Tour /w SPOILERS
Posted by My Oh My 2012-11-18 21:11:22

Never stated ALL rewrites are wrong or bad. I'd be stunningly close minded if I ever did.

But much like most revivals today, a great majority suck balls. And they suck balls because, unlike the originals which are almost always focused on the storytelling, the revisals are done to conceal the axing of musicians. This concealment is usually half-assed and half-hearted, and sometimes filled with ornamentation consisting of bombast and sound effects, designed the woo audiences and is actually not really orchestration. I can "spice" up any song by inserting random timpani and sleigh bells, and it might sound pretty and appealing, but my standards aren't limited to appeal and "pretty." I want to be swept away and these revisals fail to do that, and these days, fail at that so consistently.