Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Quick Hit Theater Review: Jekyll & Hyde

Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox. Photo: Chris Bennion
Jekyll & Hyde
Music by Frank Wildhorn
Book and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
Directed and Choreographed by Jeff Calhoun

What's It All About?
The revival of that adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's tale about Doctor Henry Jekyll ("American Idol" finalist Constantie Maroulis) who uses himself as a guinea pig to find a cure for the dark side of human nature. Victorian society scoffs at his attempts to help those they would rather hide in asylums, so Jekyll becomes the test case for his own experiments. His potions unleash his alter-self, the cruel Edward Hyde who preys on prostitutes and fights with Henry to win control of his body. The laboratory is colorful, but ridiculous in nature. Tobin Cost designs it and the rest of the fractured looking sets that reflect the shattered nature of Henry's soul and designs the costumes as well. Unaware of the split personality overtaking Jekyll are his fiancee, Emma Carew (Teal Wicks) and Lucy Harris (Deborah Cox), the prostitute kind Henry befriends after she is forced to endure brutality by his Hyde self.

What are the Highlights?
What a treat to hear the lovely Wildhorn score on stage again. It birthed a number of classic tunes like "This is the Moment," "Take Me As I Am," and the show-stopping "A New Life." Anyone who has listened to the original Broadway cast recordings or the two concept albums that preceded it a few thousand times and are wondering whether anyone but Linda Eder can do Lucy's songs justice stop worrying. Cox, a Grammy nominated R&B artist, does them wonderfully. "Someone Like You" is truly beautiful. David Benoit stands out in the minor role of Spider, the repulsive owner of the dive where Lucy and the other girls of the night make their living.


What are the Lowlights?
Calhoun doesn't seem to urge Maroulis beyond singing for his old television competition crowd. Every song is delivered to evoke applause. Portraying the characters of Jekyll and Hyde (he does a better job with this one) gets put on a back burner. For the song "Confrontation," usually performed by the actor morphing back and forth between his good and bad selves, the task gets eliminated completely. . In a big let down, Jekyll simply sings a duet with a projected image of Hyde (Daniel Brodie does the projection design -- loved the image he creates for Hyde Park, by the way). Also disappointing is Wicks as Emma. She comes off as uppity and is much too harsh. We almost understand Henry's desire to yield to the dark side. And what's up with the sound (Ken Travis, design). It's way too loud and the mix is off.

More information:
Jekyll & Hyde runs through June 30 at the Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway, NYC. Tickets and info: http://www.jekyllandhydemusical.com/.

Christians might also like to know:
-- Violence
-- Sexual actions
-- The show doesn't post a Mature Advisory, but I would suggest it should have one. It's dark, mature material.

No comments:

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

Copyright

All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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