Thursday, March 23, 2017

Applause! Applause! Review of Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical at The John W. Engeman Theater at Northport by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical at The John W. Engeman Theater at Northport was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 7 (2017) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical 
Based on the novel "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde"
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Conceived for the stage by Steve Cuden & Frank Wildhorn
Book & Lyrics by Leslie Bricuse
Music by Frank Wildhorn
Directed & Choreographed by Paul Stancato
The John W. Engeman Theater at Northport
250 Main Street
Northport, New York 11768
Reviewed 3/19/17

Some people who appear to be moral and upright have a dark side they don't reveal to others for fear of being shunned, condemned and/or ostracized. Secret thoughts, attractions, and fetishes are not often shared in public but are kept undisclosed behind a facade. The Bishop who visits prostitutes and the Priest who has a special relationship with his altar boys are not likely to announce their indiscretions to their congregations. Poor delusional Dr. Henry Jekyll thinks he may be able to chemically separate the good from the evil in human beings and discover how to banish all evil from the planet. He had hoped to experiment in a controlled setting but when the Board of Governors of St. Jude's Hospital turns him down, he decides to use himself as the so-called guinea pig. The potion of chemicals he ingests brings out a murderous side of Dr. Jekyll, who he calls Mr. Edward Hyde. That man, by his own admission, "walks with Satan" and is "more dangerous than any animal stalking his prey." Mr. Hyde increasingly becomes the dominant personality and even though the transformations are now taking place more often and without notice, Dr. Jekyll still believes with a slight adjustment in the chemical formulation of his potion, he will be able to control Mr. Hyde's murderous rampages. However, Mr. Hyde knows the truth. He tells Dr. Jekyll, "Can't you see, you are me! I'll  live inside you forever. They'll never be able to separate Jekyll from Hyde." Jekyll becomes increasing concerned Hyde might be right and says, "Have I lost my mind. Will I lose the day?" Jekyll fears he will disappear forever and instructs his attorney, in the case of his unexplained absence for three months, to give his entire estate to Edward Hyde. But even that is insufficient. After Jekyll realizes Hyde has killed Lucy Harris, an entertainment specialist and the main attraction at The Red Rat, he knows Hyde must be stopped at all costs, and in the last moments of his self-consciousness as Dr. Henry Jekyll, he releases his fiance, who Hyde had taken hostage, and begs his best friend, John Utterson, to take his life while he still can. 

Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical is based on Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde." It was first presented at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas, where it ran from May-July, 1990. After embarking on a national tour of North America, the show premiered on Broadway at the Plymouth Theatre on March 21, 1997 (previews) and officially opened on April 28, 1997. The musical played an almost four-year run and became the longest-running show in the history of the Plymouth Theatre, closing on January 7, 2001 after 1,543 regular performances. There was a Broadway revival of the musical at the Marquis Theatre, which opened on April 5, 2013 and closed on May 12, 2013 following 29 regular performances and 15 previews.  

This production is another huge success for The John W. Engeman Theater at Northport that maintains a reputation for putting on Broadway quality shows. Nathaniel Hackmann is superb as Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde. He carries off his alternative personalities with aplomb and uses his hair, voice, hand gestures and body language to signal the arrival of evil and the return of good. Caitlyn Caughell is extremely impressive and exhibits her extraordinary talent and singing ability in the role of Lucy Harris. I particularly liked her renditions of "Sympathy, Tenderness," "Someone Like You," "A New Life," and "In His Eyes," her duet with Emma Carew, Dr. Jekyll's fiance, played to perfection by Liana Hunt. Emma's duet with her father, "Letting Go," was emotionally moving and extremely well down. Jeff Williams had a hard task trying to remain supportive of his future son-in-law while looking out for the welfare of his daughter and maintaining his own reputation at the same time. I thought Mr. Williams handled that challenge well making Sir Danvers Carew a believable, real person. Also worthy of note is Tom Lucca, who played John Utterson, Dr. Jekyll's best friend and attorney. Jekyll deeply respects his friend and noted that even Hyde warned him of the danger when Utterson happened to come upon Hyde one day in Dr. Jekyll's laboratory. The remaining stellar cast was top-notch. I particularly enjoyed the entire ensemble when they sang the two big production numbers, "Facade" and "Murder, Murder." Lucy Harris and the Ensemble were amazing when singing "Bring On The Men." The funniest line in the musical was when Lucy said, "Triple sandwiches are my favorite ones. I'm also partial to buns."

Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical plays at The John W. Engeman Theater at Northport through April 30, 2017. Tickets are $76.00 on Saturday evenings and $71.00 all other shows. The performance schedule is as follows: Thursdays at 8:00 p.m., Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Some Wednesday and Sunday evenings are available. You can purchase tickets by calling 631-261-2900, going online at 

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