Last night marked the Fisher Theatre opening of the four-time Tony® Award nominated musical “Jekyll & Hyde” starring Constantine Maroulis in the dual title role of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde, performing with Grammy Nominee and R&B superstar Deborah Cox as Lucy.
The story, of course, comes from the Robert Louis Stevenson novel, which explores the dual nature of all people and the internal struggle between good and evil. This musical more closely borrows from the 1931 film of the same name. Conceived for the stage by Tony and Grammy Award® nominee Frank Wildhorn and Steve Cuden, the musical features a book and lyrics by two-time Oscar® winner, Emmy winner and four-time Tony Award Nominee Leslie Bricusse, with music by Frank Wildhorn. The show is directed and choreographed by Tony Award Nominee Jeff Calhoun.
In this version of the famous story, Dr. Jekyll is trying to help patients in a London insane asylum by isolating the evil part of their nature. His father is one of the tortured inmates. After the small minded and hypocritical members of the hospital Board of Directors refuse Dr. Jekyll permission to test his procedure on a patient, he tries the treatment on himself, unleashing his alter ego, Mr. Hyde. All too quickly, the kind-hearted Dr. Jekyll loses the ability to control or contain Mr. Hyde.
The story is an old favorite and allows for several thrilling scenes, including the well-staged murders of several people who really have it coming and one, sadly, who does not. Projected scenery (Daniel Brodie) and the clever use of modular set pieces (Tobin Ost), which flip and fold like a Transformer robot, add to the spectacle. But essentially, this show is all about the sweeping, soaring music, which was designed for big voices with plenty of range and an endless supply of soul. The Maroulis-Cox duo delivers.
Detroit fans who flocked to the Fisher two years ago to see Maroulis in “Rock of Ages” seemed to be out in full force for the opening show, and they were not disappointed. When performing as the gentle Dr. Henry Jekyll, Maroulis relied on the sweetness of his voice, especially in the delicate high register. And when transformed into the violent, malignant Edward Hyde, all of his rock-and-roll stamina comes through. It’s fascinating to watch Maroulis jump between the two personas, as if Michael Buble and Roger Daltry were fighting for the microphone. Fortunately, the creators of this show knew better than to require a mask or make-up change to distinguish between the two characters – Maroulis does it all with his voice, precise body language and spectacular hair.
Deborah Cox is a knock-out as Lucy, the “lady of the evening” that Dr. Jekyll wants to help but who becomes the object of Mr. Hyde’s lust. A multi-platinum selling R&B star, Cox is a Broadway natural. In addition to bringing the role of Lucy back to Broadway after this tour, she will be creating the role of Josephine Baker in a new musical in the works for 2014. (Can’t wait for that one!) In this show, Cox grabs hold of her big solos (“Someone Like You” and “A New Life”) and doesn’t let go until everyone in the audience is under her spell.
The wonderful ensemble cast features Teal Wicks as Emma Carew, Dr. Jekyll’s long-suffering fiancé, Laird Mackintosh as Jekyll’s friend John Utterson and Richard Wright as Emma’s father, Sir Danvers Carew. David Benoit, Brian Gallagher, Mel Johnson Jr., Aaron Ramey, Blair Ross, and Jason Wooten all have strong supporting roles. Other cast members include Jerry Christakos, Dana Costello, Wendy Fox, Sean Jenness, James Judy, Ashley Loren, Courtney Markowitz, Emmy Raver-Lampman and Doug Storm.
“Jekyll & Hyde” plays at the Fisher Theatre, located at 3011 W. Grand Blvd., in Detroit, through December 2, 2012. Performance times are: Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday matinee performances at 2 p.m.; and a Sunday evening performance at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, online at the Broadway in Detroit website, or at the Fisher Theatre box office. Ticket prices range from $39 – $79, which includes covered parking and facility fees.