REVIEW: ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ a gritty look at two faces
In a bleak winter, “Jekyll & Hyde” takes the stage with a story we know of the two faces of a person – one good, one evil. Bound for Broadway in just a few months, the national tour is at the Durham Performing Arts Center through Sunday.
It’s a dark story in a dark season of real violence. The musical’s violence isn’t gratuitous, thankfully, rather a way to further the story of a doctor’s struggle with the killer unleashed by experiments designed to eliminate evil, not amplify it. It’s hard not to think of real tragedies off the stage, and when the musical comes to its tragic conclusion, the audience exits through doors that include a visual reminder with the Durham jail and new courthouse next to DPAC.
Often a Broadway show at DPAC ends with a colorful final dance number with standing ovation and energetic applause. “Jekyll & Hyde” receives the ovation not because of a happy energy it shares, but because of a full-throated performance both in song and feeling.
Constantine Maroulis stars as Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde, bringing a revamped rocker persona to the dual role. His great performance of “This is the Moment” shows audiences why his career has continued well beyond the “American Idol” stage, where he was once a finalist. He is convincing as Dr. Jekyll, the buttoned up betrothed scientist who wants to cure his father’s mental illness but is unable to convince the asylum board to let him conduct human experiments to extract evil. Instead he becomes his own subject and loses control. Maroulis as Hyde is equally convincing. As his role and the company’s rendition of “Façade” reminds the audience, it is difficult to absolutely know the true nature of a person.
Maroulis’ co-stars and love interests are his upper crust fiancé, Emma (Teal Wicks), and the prostitute looking for a way out, Lucy (Deborah Cox). Both women are standouts. Wicks has played Elphaba in “Wicked” productions on Broadway, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Cox is a Grammy Award-nominated singer and was the lead in Broadway’s “Aida.” Everyone in the production does his or her job very well. The set design takes the story to a steampunk, gritty and dark place in London, featuring large moving panels with light and images projected on them in a way to bring the audience into the world of “Jekyll & Hyde.”
WHAT: “Jekyll & Hyde”
WHEN: Through Jan. 13
WHERE: Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St., Durham