Friday, December 28, 2012
The Forrest Theatre Host Jekyll and Hyde
This week at this Forrest Theatre Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde visit the city of Brotherly Love. The book and lyrics of Jekyll and Hyde is by Leslie Briccusse. Music and Co-conceiver Frank Wildhorn and Co-conceiver Stever Cuden characters attack the stage at the Forrest bringing the duality of Jekyll and Hyde to Philadelphia audiences.
The good doctor is played by Constantine Maroulis, best known to the majority of Americans as a finalist on American Idol, but he is also a Broadway veteran of shows like Rock of Ages and The Wedding Singer. Female leads are played by Emmy Award winner Deborah Cox as Lucy and Teal Wicks as Emma, the doctor's fiancée. Cox first appeared on Broadway in the lead role in Elton John and Tim Rice's musical, Aida. She is also a Grammy nominated and multi-platinum recording artist and film and television actress. Wicks is best known for her role in Wicked, where she played Elphaba in the Los Angeles Company of that show.
Should you invest in tickets for Jekyll and Hyde? Fans of Maroulis will buy tickets just to see his performance. And Cox (as well as her understudy Emmy Raver-Lampman who was playing the role the night we were there) are well worth the ticket price. Raver-Lampman as Lucy owned the stage, stealing the show from Maroulis, and showing the audience just how good a 'bad girl' can be. She steals Teal Wicks' thunder as Jekyll/Hyde's fiancée, although when the two sing together they can't be beat. This show is owned by the women in the cast. (Sorry Constantine, loved you in American Idol, but the ladies own the stage in J&H.)
The show was directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun who recently staged Disney's Newsies and he brings the same look and feel to J&H. Lighting by Jeff Croiter and Sound by Ken Travis are also reminiscent of Newsies. Anyone who has seen Newsies will recognize the work of these three as J&H progresses. (Not that this is a bad thing.)
The show is on it's way to Broadway, and hopefully they'll tighten up on the road. They missed a few opportunities to connect with their audience when a humorous line fell flat, but it's worth the ticket price just to hear Cox or River-Lampman as well as Teal Wicks sing. Some songs could use some work especially early in the show. Also of note, the chorus is Broadway ready, giving a tight and enjoyable performance every time they take the stage.
Fans of Cox/Raver-Lampman, Teal Wicks, and Maroulis will enjoy the show. Maroulis' fans will think he's been robbed by the ladies in the cast but it's worth it to see his transformation from Jekyll to Hyde.
**The author was provided with tickets as compensation for posting about Jekyll and Hyde's performances in Philadelphia. Any opinions are her own and have not been changed by the provision of tickets.