Thursday 5(+1): Callum Ammons, Alexius Frost and Mark David Williams from JEKYLL & HYDE

Thursday 5(+1): Callum Ammons, Alexius Frost and Mark David Williams from  JEKYLL & HYDE

Director Renee Robinson brings the Frank Wildhorn musical Jekyll & Hyde - based on Robert Louis Stevenson's iconic novella - to life at Murfreesboro's Center for the Arts, opening Friday, October 5 and continuing through October 21.

Starring Mark David Williams, Alexius Frost and Lindsay Wortham, Jekyll & Hyde is poised to open the Halloween season at CFTA in high style - and three cast members took time from tech week to tell us more about themselves and their creative processes and to suggest why you should be buying tickets to see the show in today's installment of Thursday 5(+1).

Thursday 5(+1): Callum Ammons, Alexius Frost and Mark David Williams from  JEKYLL & HYDECallum Ammons (Spider)

What was your first "live, onstage" taste of theater? The earliest memory of theatre that I can recall was seeing Annie, The Lion King, and The Nutcracker during a certain year in my adolescence. I didn't think as much of it at the time, nor did I realize the impact it would have nearly 20 years into my future.

What is your favorite pre-show ritual? Chugging tea/water, steaming, and some meditation to calm the nerves while gathering energy.

What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? During a run of Legally Blonde in 2017, I slipped and fell twice in a row on my way out of the dressing room, missed my cue twice, and finally made it on while they played my underscoring a third time!

What's your dream role? I haven't yet discovered one end all be all role that I'm dying to experience. Though there are many that I'm currently working towards or must wait until I am the appropriate age. I would say anything scored by Alan Menken is a dream role.

Who's your theatrical crush? I don't have as much of a physical attraction to professionals as I do with voice crushes. I definitely admire the lovely Disney Prince/Princess vocal style.

Why should people come see Jekyll & Hyde? The music and lyrics are incredible. The message is very profound. The vocals are stunning, and the direction/production/crew/cast care immensely about their craft.

Thursday 5(+1): Callum Ammons, Alexius Frost and Mark David Williams from  JEKYLL & HYDEAlexius Frost (Lucy Harris)

What was your first "live, onstage" taste of theater? I had always been involved in school plays, talent shows and church productions, but I hadn't seen a professional show until I was in middle school. A friend invited me to go with her to TPAC to see The Phantom of the Opera, and I was completely enamored. It was breathtaking and beautiful, and I will never forget it. I had always known I wanted to perform but seeing that really solidified it.

What is your favorite pre-show ritual? My personal pre-show ritual is to really make some alone-time for myself while I'm getting ready. I make character-inspired playlists for each character I play, and I have that going while I do my hair and makeup. If I'm playing opposite of someone, I try to make time to have a quiet moment with them as well. Authenticity is important to me, so I try to do whatever I can to get totally in that character's mindspace.

What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? I have had so many moments, it's hard to narrow it down to just one. Between my strapless bra coming undone onstage and falling out of my dress after a quick-change, to performing with a boot and cane after injuring my ankle, to accidentally smacking my Carrie's face really hard with a Bible while playing Margaret White...There are just too many to choose from.

What's your dream role? Lucy is definitely not only at the top of my bucket list, but she is also the entire bucket. I am currently living the dream by getting the chance to bring Lucy Harris to life. This is the most challenging role I have been in, physically, vocally and emotionally, and I have loved every minute of it.

Who's your theatrical crush? Christian Borle. With a goatee, specifically.

Why should people come see Jekyll & Hyde? This production is filled with phenomenal singers and actors who have been working so incredibly hard to do this show justice. (I could honestly listen to Mark sing his songs on a loop and never get tired of it.) The director and production staff have been so amazing to work with and have gone above and beyond to get everyone in character and ready to tell this story. I promise that you will be blown away from the talent in this show, both on and offstage. I know I am, every single day since we've started rehearsing.

Thursday 5(+1): Callum Ammons, Alexius Frost and Mark David Williams from  JEKYLL & HYDEMark David Williams (Dr. Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde)

What was your first "live, onstage" taste of theater? I was Prince Charming in my high school production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It was terrifying. I had to wear tights and have my first on stage kiss with seven "dwarves" staring at me. But I kept doing shows!

What is your favorite pre-show ritual? I drink hot water and honey and eat Lay's potato chips. I actually do this throughout the show as well. It's very soothing to my voice.

What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? The one that comes to mind is last year when I played Hanratty in Catch Me If You Can - one of the scenes had a bed that broke onstage and kind of kept breaking throughout the "romantic" scene. I had to walk on after the scene and as the crew was taking the bed off there was all this noise from the pieces falling on the ground. The audience was chuckling and it was just something that I felt had to be addressed. So, when I walked on with my detectives to ask the doctor if he knew where Frank was I changed the line to "Doctor, we're looking for a bed that won't break." It worked and I was thankful - it was this huge elephant hanging in the room that needed to be addressed.

What's your dream role? JeanValjean in Les Miserables. And I'm so glad that he's a role I can play later in life! I love the arc of his character and the music is stunning.

Who's your theatrical crush? Kristin Chenoweth, because I love her range - from her belt to her operatic voice and from theater to television. I've just loved her in everything she has done.

Why should people come see Jekyll & Hyde? The music in this show is incredible and it is sung so well. I like to think of it as beautifully terrifying. As far as I know, it is not done all that often and it's a great, unique show and a great time of year to see it!

Thursday 5(+1): Callum Ammons, Alexius Frost and Mark David Williams from  JEKYLL & HYDEAbout Jekyll & Hyde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are stirring things up this October as they transform The Center for the Arts stage from October 5-21 in Frank Wildhorn's Jekyll & Hyde.

Director Renee Robinson brings the dark and mysterious play to life. Robinson has directed several shows at The Center for the Arts including The Addams Family, Young Frankenstein and a sold-out run of A Christmas Carol.

"My experience with Jekyll & Hyde started over twelve years ago, and it is a show I've been longing to be a part of ever since. Production work for this began over six months ago to solidify and find an authentic and meaningful avenue towards which to lead this show," she says.

"The desire for the show itself is to encourage the audience to really dig deeply and to realize that not everything is as it seems. There is a facade in front of everything. Some pure of intent. Some not so much. The purpose and will of this show is a strong message that the actors have worked incredibly hard for, and we are excited to showcase to our community."

This production features Mark David Williams, as Jekyll/Hyde, who is the artistic director at The Center for the Arts and has performed in many shows, including Pirates of Penzance, Catch Me If You Can and Hairspray along with most recently directing a sold out run of The Little Mermaid. Williams says that "it's an incredibly challenging role. I've never sung a duet with myself before. Hyde is exactly what Jekyll is trying to get rid of in the world. They couldn't be more different, yet they are the same person. It's kind of beautifully terrifying."

This show also features CFTA veteran Alexius Frost, who was in Young Frankenstein, Into the Woods and Carrie. Frost plays Lucy Harris, the main attraction at The Red Rat, and she becomes the pivotal character between Jekyll and Hyde as she believes Jekyll is the man she will never have and Hyde is the man she deserves. Another CFTA veteran, Lindsey Wortham, who was in Pirates of Penzance and The Music Man, and most recently played Aquata/Ariel Understudy in The Little Mermaid. Wortham plays the sweet and innocent Emma Carew who is engaged to Dr. Jekyll.

Jekyll & Hyde is loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson's novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was originally developed for the stage by Frank Wildhorn and Steve Cuden, with music by Wildhorn, a book by Leslie Bricusse and lyrics by Wildhorn, Bricusse and Cuden. After a world premiere run in Houston, Texas, the musical embarked on a national tour of the United States prior to its Broadway debut in 1997.

This dark musical takes place in London in the 1880s and tells the widely known tale of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde, the same person with two distinct personalities. In an attempt to cure his ailing father's mental illness by separating "good" from "evil" in the human personality, talented physician Dr. Jekyll inadvertently creates an alternate personality of pure evil, dubbed Mr. Hyde, who wreaks murderous havoc on the city of London. As his fiancée Emma grows increasingly fearful for her betrothed, a prostitute, Lucy, finds herself dangerously involved with both the doctor and his alter ego. Struggling to control Hyde before he takes over for good, Jekyll must race to find a cure for the demon he has created in his own mind.

Jekyll & Hyde runs October 5-21, with performances on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. For tickets, go to www.boroarts.org or call (615) 904-2787.

production photos by Ashleigh Eve Newnes

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From This Author Jeffrey Ellis

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