It is what it is, and it does that very well. It's a big, loud rock opera and makes no apologies for itself. Nor should it...The new version that opened Thursday at the Marquis Theatre - arriving 16 years after its debut - takes itself so seriously that it almost veers into camp, but it's a stunningly beautiful steampunk vision with great costumes, projections and sets. Plus, the three main vocalists who came along to sing these Frank Wildhorn songs will make your ears bleed: Constantine Maroulis, Deborah Cox and Teal Wicks. Who cares if there's way too much lightening and overacting?
JEKYLL & HYDE Broadway Reviews
Reviews of Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway. See what all the critics had to say and see all the ratings for Jekyll & Hyde including the New York Times and More...
Director-choreographer Jeff Calhoun has ratcheted up the show's gothic elements in his high-intensity staging, featuring extensive projections, a deafening sound design and a Grand Guignol-style presentation. But for all the production's excesses, it proves decidedly underwhelming, devoid of thrills or genuine emotion. Maroulis... fully unleashes his powerful pipes in the dual roles of the mild-mannered scientist and his rampaging, id-driven alter-ego. But his schematic portrayals...lack the complexity necessary to fully involve us in the melodramatic proceedings. Cox, too, displays a gorgeous voice as Lucy...Although her acting never quite hits the same heights, she delivers a more than respectable turn in the underwritten role.
Mr. Maroulis meets the throat-thrashing challenges of Mr. Wildhorn's score with aplomb, his high-reaching pop tenor evincing little strain when rising to the piercing climaxes. I was also impressed by Mr. Maroulis's quietly intense performance as the obsessive Dr. Jekyll...Statuesque and beautiful, Ms. Cox brings a suffering dignity to this cliché in corsets. More important for those who have come to hear a pop diva do what pop divas do best, her dark, lustrous voice does nice justice to her character's signature song...Unfortunately there's no way to digitally airbrush away the hokum that pervades the whole show, like the ample stage smoke puffing away throughout the proceedings, giving a most commendable featured performance as the fabled pea-soupy London fog.
Either way, "Jekyll & Hyde" is an over-the-top bloody hoot. At times, it's like a theme-park attraction, but it's got a saving grace. The show doesn't take itself too seriously as it power-ballads its way through Victorian-era London.
...now receiving an overamplified, dry ice-drenched Broadway revival following a national tour: It's good and - well, not evil, but head-scratchingly, laughably, even painfully bad. And one that you'll be constantly struggling to sit through. As the titular schizophrenic scientist, American Idol alum Constantine Maroulis...supplies hair-band-worthy locks and lungs of steel. His 'This Is the Moment'...is indeed momentous - a triumph of vocal pyrotechnics over clichéd phrases, misaccented lyrics, and throat-testing key changes...Unfortunately for Wicks, R&B songstress Deborah Cox wins the belting match without breaking a sweat. In fact, Cox - as Lucy, the hooker with the heart of gold and bustier of steel - is quite terrific throughout.
Director Jeff Calhoun stages and choreographs the musical with no-holds-barred bravado that results in a fiendishly entertaining show...Soberly wearing muttonchops and spectacles as a sweetly geeky Dr. Jekyll, Maroulis unleashes his pony-tail into the medusa-like mane of a believably fiendish Hyde. His rock tenor sounds bright as Jekyll and then darkens and turns a tad guttural as Hyde...Sounding a bit like Linda Eder, who created the role of Lucy, Deborah Cox powerfully sings with a velvety purr that compensates for her high school-style acting...Not my cup of blood, the lurid "Jekyll & Hyde" gives plenty of pleasure to others, and fans of the musical will find it rendered here with raging intensity.
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Or perhaps it was a castle in Transylvania, or the island of Monte Cristo, or a wormhole to Wonderland, or some other place known to us from classic novels with presold stories and no copyright protection...No matter; the techno thrums and swoopy electronica of the overture made it clear we were in Wildhornia, that land of dark roiling clouds, where actors scream, all the time, and no one alive-or, especially, dead-is safe from predation.
Alas, a few glimpses of unfettered emotion cannot sustain a two-hour-plus parade of shrill melodrama. But if the latter is more your thing anyway, you're in luck.
The revival has been restaged and rechoreographed with imaginative low-budget economy by Jeff Calhoun, who also did both the hit "Newsies" and "Bonnie & Clyde," Wildhorn's most mature (but still short-lived) show. Tobin Ost's functionally minimal sets -- mostly five hanging panels -- have a cutdown theatricality that must be useful on the road. His costumes for the fancy maids reveal at least as much cleavage as Jekyll/Hyde sees at his late-night visits to the brothel.
The bill for stage smoke must be a big one over at the Marquis Theatre. The stuff billows forth in unrelenting profusion during director-choreographer Jeff Calhoun's expressionistic, would-be steampunk revival of "Jekyll & Hyde"...Unfortunately, it never achieves the critical mass necessary to obscure the proceedings...Neither Maroulis, as Dr. Henry Jekyll and his evil twin Edward Hyde, nor Cox, as London prostitute Lucy Harris, is a stranger to the Broadway stage, which shows in their committed performances. That they are one-note performances is the fault of the writing, not the stars. Both struggle with uncomfortable-sounding English accents, which they happily divest themselves of when singing-and boy can they sing.
A trouper, Maroulis sings more than a dozen songs. He and the rest of the cast, as directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun ("Newsies"), have survived 25 weeks on tour. With two of the show's catchier numbers ("Someone Like You" and "A New Life") Deborah Cox is a lovely, nuanced singer. She rises above her part as a prostitute who loves Jekyll and enjoys being tied up by Hyde.
"Where is that fine line where sanity melts?" Jekyll sings. Some theatergoers, bored out of their minds, may well answer: at the Marquis.
No matter who's doing it or where it's being done, "Jekyll & Hyde" is still tuneless and tiresome, a musical for those who prefer power ballads to show tunes but find "The Phantom of the Opera" too challenging. Moreover, this production has the extra-special disadvantage of starring Constantine Maroulis, lately of "American Idol" and "Rock of Ages." Mr. Maroulis has absolutely no business playing a romantic lead in a Broadway musical. His singing is whiny and insipid, while his acting recalls what Somerset Maugham is supposed to have said when he visited the set of the 1941 film version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and saw Spencer Tracy thrashing through a scene: "Which one is he now?" The rest of the cast is dull, and the production, staged by Jeff Calhoun, looks as though it had been built to travel (hence the absence of stage blood, which keeps laundry bills low).
There are lots of ballads, and the singers - besides J&H, the only significant character is a prostitute (played by pop performer Deborah Cox) - increase their intensity as they go along until they're shouting at us full blast. It's like being trapped at an audition for "American Idol" (on which Maroulis, who grew up in Wyckoff, appeared in 2004). I've seen a few worse shows than "Jekyll & Hyde," but none as dispiriting.
Has any musical so essentially ridiculous been graced with a revival? Yet Wildhorn, the Stephen Sondheim of Bizarro World, continues to be produced despite a string of flops, and Jekyll & Hyde has accrued a following. So here it is again, in a form that will satisfy few. Director Jeff Calhoun and his cast struggle bravely and pitiably in the straitjacket...Accenting Jekyll & Hyde's best asset-Wildhorn's rousing melodies-and hitting the rest at off angles whenever possible, Calhoun and his crew excise much of the original production's most ostentatious terribleness, leaving mere very-badness in its place.
Unbelievably enough, it is actually easier to watch YouTube clips of Hasselhoff than Jeff Calhoun's re-conceived, garish and extremely unnecessary revival with "American Idol" alumnus Constantine Maroulis and R&B singer Deborah Cox, which is playing a short run on Broadway following a national tour. Calhoun makes many unfortunate choices, including over-stressing the score's rock elements and using both nauseating video graphics and violent sexual imagery...Maroulis...uneasily alternates between being a geeky Jekyll and a vulgar Hyde. Cox sings well enough but hardly acts at all in the role of the prostitute Lucy, which may be for the better. No stars.