This is not a test. This is a full-fledged "Jekkie" alert!
The most rabid fans of "Jekyll and Hyde," who followed the musical from its lengthy pre-Broadway tour to its four-year Broadway run, and the Equity and non-Equity road companies, are dubbed "Jekkies." And now with the much-anticipated Broadway revival opening next week, "Jekkies" everywhere are rejoicing.
With book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and music by Frank Wildhorn, "Jekyll and Hyde" is the classic retelling of the battle between good and evil, based upon Robert Louis Stevenson's novella. The familiar tale has a devoted doctor, while chemically experimenting on himself, who unleashes inner demons as his split personality runs amok.
“Jekyll and Hyde” is playing at the Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway, New York, N.Y. Tickets are on sale and may be bought online at http://ppc.broad way.com/shows/jekyll-hyde.
According to "The Wildhorn Side" newsletter, to qualify as a "Jekkie," one must have seen the show at least 10 times, own one of the three concept albums, and own at least one official "Jekyll and Hyde" souvenir. I do not qualify as a "Jekkie," although I've seen this dark musical eight times, including its pre-Broadway tour, ranging from Pittsburgh's Heinz Hall, Baltimore's Morris Mechanic Theatre the Hershey Theatre. During its four-year run on Broadway, I saw "Jekyll and Hyde" twice with Robert Cuccioli in the dual roles as Jekyll-Hyde, and Linda Eder (then Mrs. Frank Wildhorn) as Lucy.
Following its closing in 2000, after over 1,500 performances, tours criss-crossed the country and I saw the Equity tour in Philadelphia's Merriam Theatre and the non-Equity production locally at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
My attendance scorecard doesn't include seeing "Jekyll and Hyde" at the Community Theatre, 100 W. Third St., three or four times. CTL's 2005 production, popularly and critically acclaimed, featured Jason Moyer as the passionate scientist Henry Jekyll and the sadistic Edward Hyde, with Tess Bower Gist as Lucy, the prostitute seeking redemption.
"Jekkies" and other rabid fans certainly welcomed news of the revival, opening on April 3 for a limited run of 13 weeks at New York's Marquis Theatre. But the announcement of the cast likely raised a few eyebrows, including mine.
Heading the cast in the dual roles is Constantine Maroulis, who I only remember as a fuzzy-haired folk and pop singer finalist on "American Idol" a few years ago, although I learned that Maroulis got a Tony nomination for "Rock of Ages" (But Maroulis, even in his worst voice, should trump David Hasselhoff). Pop and R&B singer Deborah Cox, a Grammy Award nominee, is cast as Lucy, who gets to belt out some of the dark musical's powerful tunes.
In addition to the casting, some "Jekkies" may have concerns with the marketing that this musical is "remarkably re-interpreted to suit the contemporary vocal styles."
Sounds like the director Jeff Calhoun is giving this Gothic musical a rock edge and modern twist.
Billed as "Two red hot stars and one cold blooded thriller," "Jekyll and Hyde" should stir up the Great White Way and in the process maybe nab some Tony award nominations.
But despite who is playing the lead roles, the stirring score is what draws many patrons to return a second and third time - and maybe even 10 or more times.
"This Is the Moment," the show's signature tune, "A New Life," "Alive" and "Someone Like You" are among the audiences' favorites.
Coincidentally, the original "Jekyll and Hyde," the magnificent-voiced Robert Cuccioli, will be doing battle against a different kind of evil figuratively right down the street once
the revival opens. But the evil he's currently up against is Miss Hannigan, as Cuccoil is playing Daddy Warbucks in the revival of "Annie."