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Review: Jekyll & Hyde

At the Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles audiences get a chance to preview Jekyll & Hyde, starring Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox, before it heads to Broadway.

As a New Yorker, I grew up attending Broadway musical theater productions. I loved visiting the beautiful theaters and watching top-notch performers take the stage. When I moved to Los Angeles, I found only one place that makes me feel like I’m back on Broadway, the Pantages Theatre.

When I heard that the musical Jekyll & Hyde was coming to the Pantages, I was intrigued. After listening to one of its famous songs, “This is the Moment,” I wanted to see it. I was even more excited to learn that, after the show leaves Los Angeles, it is traveling, with the same stars, to Broadway!

Jekyll & Hyde is based on the novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. The show ran on Broadway from 1997 to 2001 and has been contemporized for its 2013 Broadway run. It tells the story of a young London doctor, Henry Jekyll, who cares so much about his mentally ill father that he devotes himself to attempting to find a cure. His experiments, however, go horribly wrong and end up putting his life and the lives of everyone around him in grave danger. There is a love story as well—actually, a love triangle.

I knew only the basic story and had heard just one of the musical numbers, when I entered the gorgeous Pantages Theatre auditorium to see Jekyll & Hyde on opening night. The show started, and Constantine Maroulis took the stage as Dr. Henry Jekyll. Maroulis is a former American Idol finalist and Tony Award nominee (for Broadway’s Rock of Ages), but, since I hadn’t watched season four of American Idol or seen his prior stage performances, it was my first chance to see him perform. The show began with songs that told the story but weren’t that pleasant to my ear, but that would soon change.

When Maroulis sang the pivotal song, “This is the Moment,” both he and the show hooked me and never let go. I can’t imagine anyone singing that song more perfectly than Maroulis did. And when he “transformed” again and again from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde and back again, I felt like I was watching two different people.

Deborah Cox likewise did not disappoint in the role of Lucy Harris, a prostitute who Dr. Jekyll befriends and Mr. Hyde abuses. As a Grammy Award nominee, I imagined that Cox’s singing would be excellent, but she is much more than just a exceptionally talented singer, she is an entralling actress as well. I watched her fall in love with Dr. Jekyll as she sang “Sympathy, Tenderness.” And when Cox performed “Someone Like You” and “A New Life,” she completely took over the theater with her voice and filled the stage with her presence.

Another standout was Teal Wicks in the role of Emma Carew, Jekyll’s fiancé. She has a lovely voice and her character’s deep love for Jekyll was easily felt. Her duet with Cox, “In His Eyes,” was captivating.

Jekyll & Hyde is not a “feel good musical.” And with songs like "Bring on the Men" and “Murder,” as you might expect, the show is not appropriate for young children. There is a bit of mild violence, for example, stabbings and stranglings, however this was handled just about as tastefully as stabbings and stranglings could be. There are some suggestive sexual scenes as well. The Pantages Theatre’s official website recommends the show for people ages 13 and up.

I highly recommend Jekyll & Hyde, especially with Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox in the lead roles. Judging by the extremely enthusiastic applause and standing ovation at the end, the Pantages' opening night audience thoroughly agrees with me. I left the Pantages Theatre thrilled with the experience, and with some new songs to add to the playlist of my iPod.

Jen (California,USA)*
 

The pre-Broadway engagement of Jekyll & Hyde ran at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles from February 12th through March 3rd, 2013.

Tickets to current and upcoming shows at the Pantages Theatre are available:

Online: HollywoodPantages.com or Ticketmaster.com
By Phone: 1-800-982-2787
In Person: Pantages Box Office, 6233 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (opens daily at 10am, except for holidays) and Ticketmaster Outlets




* Jen attended a performance of Jekyll & Hyde as a member of the press.