Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical is loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde written in 1886. The show premiered in Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas in 1990 and went to Broadway in 1997.
The characters, Lucy Harris, a prostitute from the dark side of London, and Emma Carew, Henry Jekyll’s intended bride, were not in Stevenson’s book but were added to the musical.
In the musical Edward Hyde is portrayed as an avenger who kills the venal members of the board of directors who have rejected Jekyll’s proposal of a scientific experiment that could cause good to triumph over evil in all individuals.
Hyde murders all of the board members one at a time and finally Lucy, who loves both Jekyll and Hyde. Emma, dressed in white, represents the good side of humanity while Lucy, dressed in red and black, shows what happens to those who are trodden down by life.
The company, which represents the dark side of London, sings three reprises of the song “Façade,” which refers to the superficial good that masks the evil in mankind.
For Hyde: The Musical to succeed, the character of Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde, played in CenterStage’s production by Mike Fryman, must have versatility and a strong singing presence. Fryman pulls this off with panache and the aid of superb lighting. When he transforms from Jekyll to Hyde his voice gets deeper and gruff, he becomes physically larger and he represents the personification of evil.
When he is Jekyll he has a naïve goodness, but is unable to stand up to the evil Hyde. Near the end, at the ceremony where he is to marry Emma, he doubles over in pain, switching constantly from Jekyll to Hyde and back, from lightness to darkness, until finally he defeats Hyde the only way he can, by taking his own life.
Jessica Adamson, as Lucy, and Margo Wooldridge, as Emma, convey poignancy with their strong nuanced voices especially when they sing “In His Eyes” together in Act II, Scene Two. Jason Cooper should be commended in his debut as director at CenterStage.
Jekyll & Hyde runs through November 5. Next up is Driving Miss Daisy, from January 11 to 21, 2018