Photo by Beth Behner

Opening at Carrollwood Players Theatre on February 23, Director Derek Baxter has given the musical Jekyll & Hyde a makeover. He is confident that it will be something the audience has not experienced before.

Loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson's thriller, Jekyll & Hyde tells the tale of a brilliant mind gone mad, set to a powerful pop-rock score by Frank Wildhorn with book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse.

Dr. Jekyll wants to separate "good" from "evil" in the human personality. Unfortunately, by being his own subject of experimental treatments, he inadvertently releases his inner demons and an alternate evil personality, Mr. Hyde. While Dr. Jekyll's fiancée Emma is increasingly frightened for her fiancé, a prostitute, Lucy finds herself dangerously involved with both the doctor and his alter personality.

Murder and chaos are pitted against love and virtue in this sweeping gothic musical. The struggle between good and evil comes brilliantly to life as Jekyll must race to find a cure to eradicate the wickedness he created in his own mind - before Mr. Hyde takes over permanently.

Derek has a unique vision for the macabre musical.

"The concept is a traveling Victorian Punk theatre company has squatted in an empty theatre and is putting on a production of Jekyll & Hyde. This has informed the set design and production design by delivering a simplified but visually creative look to the show," said Derek. "The costuming is all Victorian Punk."

With stage design by Cheslie Camaro Smith and costuming by Deb Lastinger, Derek is confident his version has elements completely exclusive to this production.

He said, "I love the challenge of taking a musical that has been done in the area recently but making sure the audience gets a brand-new experience. They will recognize the music and the plot, but it is a whole new spin on the presentation."

Jekyll & Hyde's cast of 20 features regulars to the Carrollwood Players stage, as well as several new faces.

Newcomers Erich Krzyzak, Danea Barrett and Karli Gundersen star in the featured roles of Dr/ Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Emma and Lucy.

Drew Eberhard, Catherine Harp, Crystal Valdez, David Fraga, Chris McDermott, MaryBeth Wells, Craig Ruska, Alicia Spiegel, Patrick Colliano, Brian McCreight, Georgia Kosloski, Israel Rivera, Elizabeth Crawley, Aleah Hoggatt, Arielle Imhoff, Bethani Imhoff, and Kimberly Schwartz round out the powerhouse cast.

"There is not a single weak link in this production and they are all creating a new and powerful vision of these characters truly showing their ability to make each role their own," Derek said. "This production is going to be fresh and powerful. You have to come see it."

Carrollwood Players is located at 4333 Gunn Highway, Tampa. Jekyll & Hyde run from February 23 - March 17, 2018 Fridays and Saturdays - 8pm | Sundays - 3pm. Tickets are available online at the box office:

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From This Author Deborah Bostock-Kelley

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