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BWW Review: Arizona Regional Theatre Presents JEKYLL AND HYDE

BWW Review: Arizona Regional Theatre Presents JEKYLL AND HYDE

With the launch of their new company, Arizona Regional Theatre, co-directors Kayla Etheridge and Kimberly Sheperd have aimed high and hit their mark with a commanding production of JEKYLL AND HYDE, THE MUSICAL.

Directed by Ms. Etheridge, with choreography by Ms. Sheperd (this dynamic duo is responsible as well for a diverse and colorful array of period costumes), the adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic throbs with the energy and tension of a drama that pits good against evil.

Backed by Lincoln Wright's music direction, Cheryl Briley's sets, and Jordan Daniels' lighting, all effects conspire to give Matravius Avent's journey into Henry Jekyll's demonic experiment ample mood and tone. Avent morphs effectively from the aspiring scientist who wishes to eradicate evil to the murderous agent of London's streets.

Joining Avent in a production populated by a cast of accomplished actors is Elizabeth Grace, poised and proper as Jekyll's fiancé, Emma; Nicholas Hambruch (following up superb performances in Hale Centre Theatre's BIG FISH and SISTER ACT) as Simon Stride, embittered by his unrequited affection for Emma; and Jackie Brecker in a totally enchanting and sensuous turn as Lucy the prostitute to whom Edward Hyde is attracted.

As the scenes progress to the inevitably tragic and fatal end of Jekyll's journey into the heart of darkness, the pacing of the musical remain constant and riveting.

For a fledgling company with big ambition, this production is a declaration that there's a new kid on the theatre block with lots of promise for things to come. Next up is SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD (November 30th through December 9th). I can hardly wait.

NOTE: JEKYLL AND HYDE was originally conceived for the stage by Frank Wildhorn and Steve Cuden, with music by Wildhorn and lyrics by Wildhorn, Leslie Bricusse, and Cuden.

JEKYLL AND HYDE runs through October 7th at the Third Street Theatre at the Phoenix Center for the Arts.

Photo credit to Arizona Regional Theatre

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