Stories about the struggle between good and evil is as old as humanity. The most widely known is either The Revelation of Jesus Christ or The Enemy Within (Good Kirk/Bad Kirk), but it’s hard to beat Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. I Still remember the effect it had on me when I first read it at about age eleven.
The musical headed to Broadway’s Marquis Theater in April for a limited engagement— a remake or revival or revision or whatever of the many previously done plays and the 1997 musical that ran for more than 1,500 shows—featuring Constantine Maroulis is a good study in the theme, even if it is not overly concerned with the actual storyline of Stevenson. We went to see it last night.
Maroulis, who finished sixth in the fourth season of American Idol, plays the dual role very well. His transitions between the two, often nothing more than a shrug and a loosening or tightening of the hair, are extremely effective. As a singer, he is often bombastic (his version of Bohemian Rhapsody on Idol is still one of my favorites of the six seasons of the show I watched), but does bring some nuance to the role. It felt a little like a young Meatloaf, whom Maroulis has some passing resemblance to, was singing.
Deborah Cox, a multi-platinum recording artist and Grammy nominee, plays a prostitute visited by both Jeckyl and Hyde. She may have the best voice in the production.
A small role was played by an actor I had seen before in Jerry Springer, the Opera in Boston. First time I have recognized a non headliner from a previous performance. (This is just an aside. His role was pretty small.)
The sets are incredible and the scene changes are smooth and not distracting. About the only thing lacking in the show is any sense of subtlety. It is the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster of musicals. But, it is effective and extremely entertaining. I don’t think a breath was taken by any audience member during the whole of the penultimate song.
This ain’t the Phantom, but it is well worth the admission price. If you can see it before it hits the Marquis—what is left is Denver, Los Angeles, Des Moines, Chicago and West Palm Beach—make the time. Personally, I would like to see it in NYC, but it doesn’t look to be in the cards unless they extend the 13-week planned staging.