TVRT Haunting production of
a Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic is superb.
Dr. Jekyll takes stage in Tri Valley Reps classic production of Robert Louis Stevenson's story. Jekyll & Hyde open the 32nd season of this Repertory company and it is the perfect fall musical to celebrate the Halloween spirit. Based on the novel "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Stevenson, Jekyll and Hyde was originally conceived for the stage by Frank Wildhorn and Steve Cuden, and features music by Wildhorn, a book by Leslie Bricusse and lyrics by Wildhorn, Bricusse and Cuden. The playwright, also wrote the film version for "Mr. Holmes" starring Ian McKellan, and has a dark skill in telling this classic tale. Directed and Choreographed by Scott Maraj who brings a talented company to the Bankhead stage for this sterling production.
The classic thriller Jekyll and Hyde is set in Victorian London. Dr Jekyll thinks it is possible to separate good from the evil that is deep within all of us. During a span of about seven years, Jekyll develops a drug which he believes will cure his father and other victims from the madness that has captured them in the horrors of Victorian imprisonment. Hyde is mad, and a maniac, Jekyll’s alter ego Mr Hyde is presented as a ruthless psychopath. This dramatic story tale is very successfull exploring the more psychological arc of the story. Director Maraj skillfully keeps the Gothic horror throughout the musical, and avoids creating camp or over the top death scenes.
A powerful Christopher Sanders plays the good doctor Henry Jekyll, and transforms to the evil alter ego Hyde, that Jekyll has repressed. The musical really comes alive at the end of the first act when Hyde makes his first kill and sings “Alive”. The cast shines all have great voices to pull off this operatic format. The talented Morgan Breedveld plays Lucy Harris, and her solo “Someone Like You” is impressive. Marcel Saunders is excellent as Utterson and the number “Pursue the Truth” that he sings with Jekyll is superb. As Jekyll’s fishy experiments turn to a mysterious drug, Saunders becomes more dramatic and emotional. Paul Vega’s lighting design is dark at times and full of shadows that seems like the perfect web of light to box in the ill-fated Jekyll.
Music Director Jo Anne Fosselman has an eerie sounding pit of skilled musicians and she has her cast in perfect tone and the ensemble is strong and moving. The show was costumed by Kathleen Breedveld and Sierra Dee, and the capes and gowns all fit the intensity of the dread needed for both the female cast and men. The company are all very professional and prove some fine talent. The musical numbers ‘Façade ‘, ‘Board of Governors’ and ‘the Engagement Party’ set the tone. ‘Bring on the Men’ is a great banner song with Lucy (Morgan Breedveld) and the prostitutes. Breedveld is one actor to watch out for, she gives a strong performance with beautiful voice. Emma (Rebecca Davis) the fiancée of Jekyll also has a dazzling, haunting voice.
Accomplished supporting roles include Luca deAyora as Spider, the obnoxious pimp. Lady Beaconsfield (Ali Lane) brings humour to the story and nice comic timing to her role, as did the Bishop of Basingstoke (Ron Houk ). Jennifer Stark as Nellie and Mike Freeman as Sir Danvers both shine along with Joe Saam as Proops. The lyrics tell the passion of the story and echo throughout the two and half hour show. Act Two brings suspense and the excitement of the TVRT company is haunting, they have created an evening of classic horror and is perfect for this Halloween season. Jekyll and Hyde is recommended and they hold down the haunt at the Bankhead stage through November 8th.
Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre Presents
"JEKYLL & HYDE The Musical"
by Frank Wildhorn and Steve Cuden, music by Wildhorn
Directed and Choreographed by Scott Maraj
Music Director Jo Anne Fosselman
October 24th through November 8th, 2015, Rated PG-13
Performances are Sat & Sun, 8pm and 2pm - (Sat 10/24, 11/7 at 8pm, Sat 10/31, 11/7 at 2pm and Sun 10/25, 11/1, 11/8 at 2pm)
Bankhead Theater, 2400 First Street in Livermore, CA.
For tickets - visit online:
For more information, visit the TVRT website:www.trivalleyrep.org.
Photos by Robert Sholty and DC Scarpelli.