Friday, October 26, 2012

More Hyde, less Jekyll

Review of the Broadway tour of Jekyll & Hyde, now at Straz.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 7:34 PM

The struggles of good and evil have been a steady theme in literature, film and theater since ... well, since the beginning of literature, film and theater.

And the most famous story of good and evil, that of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has been revamped and redone countless times. The newest U.S. tour of the musical Jekyll & Hyde, at Straz center until Sun., Oct 28, stars American Idol alum Constantine Maroulis and R&B singer Deborah Cox, which I enjoyed watching at Wednesday night’s performance.

Maroulis, though recognized mainly from his reality TV days, is actually a Tony-nominated and classically trained theater actor. (His American Idol season he finished in 6th place, Carrie Underwood winning. At least he didn't lose to Taylor Hicks who won the year prior.) Maroulis plays the lead roles of Dr. Jekyll and his murderous and lustful counterpart Mr. Hyde. As Dr. Jekyll he is a bit meek and nerdy with suspenders like Steve Urkel. When transformed into Mr. Hyde his '80s rock star (a la Rock of Ages) comes alive, his vocals became brazen and his sexuality oozed from out of his button-downed shirt. Though almost comically, the only physical difference between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a ponytail and occasionally a pair of glasses or a cape.

“How can these characters not see the Hyde is really Jekyll? All he did was let his hair down!” I cynically thought to myself throughout the show. The rock aspects of the show made me long to see when Sebastian Bach played the title role on Broadway.

Though Maroulis was good enough, I can imagine Bach’s glass-shattering vocals bringing chills to the audience. Meow.

The supporting cast, including Teal Wicks as Dr. Jeckyll’s loyal fiancée Emma and Laird Mackintosh as Dr. Jekyll’s right-hand man John Utterson, played their characters in a more classical musical theater style which contrasted flatly to the modern music of the rest of the show.

The night really came to life when Deborah Cox, as Lucy the prostitute with brains and heart, sang her first solo “No One Knows Who I Am.” Cox has a diva growl in her singing that is full of emotion and enjoyable to even non-theater folk.

The set design was impressive, using a lot of computer fancy work to show different textures and dimensions. The costumes were on the verge of steam punk and more fashion forward then a typical musical.

Overall the show was very entertaining but for all the double bass drumming and Vince Neil-esque squeals from Maroulis I wish it was much, much louder. If they wanted to music to play like a rock show, they need to turn the volume up. My ears weren’t ringing for hours after and never once did I feel like throwing my bra on stage.

Throughout the performance, I did get contemplative. I thought about my own angels and demons, for I’ve had a few in my life. My struggle wasn’t as hard as Dr. Jekyll’s for I figured out early on what makes my Hyde come out. Jagermeister.

Luckily, I have learned to stay away so my story won’t end in tragedy.

Fri., Oct. 26 at 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 27 at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct 28 at 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Straz Center, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, 813-229-7827

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