Tuesday, January 25, 2022

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Center Stage

Classic twisted to fit the times


Center Stage 030713There’s a little bit of the devil in us all, but not quite to the extreme depicted in the classic story of “Jeckyll and Hyde.” The Broadway-bound musical has taken over the Civic Center Stage, offering Des Moines theatre-goers the opportunity to see the act before it hits the New York scene in April.                

“Jeckyll and Hyde The Musical” gained a fan following in the ’90s, so producers thought a 21st century “revisal” would be a fun way to remind folks that we all have a dark side crouched beneath the service of our well-mannered physiques.                

“It’s a tale of that inner morale we all have. We all have good and evil in us. The question is, where is the line, and how do we walk it?” said Teal Wicks (“Wicked”) who plays Dr. Jekyll’s fiancé in the show.                

In a desperate attempt to remedy his ailing father, Dr. Jekyll (Constantine Maroulis, “Rock of Ages,” “The Wedding Singer”) feverishly works to develop a serum in his lab. Fearing its unknown and possibly dangerous side-effects, the doctor decides to test the drug on himself, only to find the elixir unleashes an uncontrollable evil he embodies — an evil that personifies as Jeckyll’s mad alter-ego, Mr. Hyde. Fueled by lust, passion and darkness, Hyde takes a lead role in the poor doctor’s life.                

The story begins with the good doctor’s engagement to the lovely Emma Carew (Wicks). But after using himself as a human test subject for his experiment, Mr. Hyde emerges. Spellbound and driven by his no longer dormant carnal urges, Mr. Hyde finds himself in the arms of another woman, the hooker with a heart of gold, Lucy, seductively portrayed by multi-platinum R&B/pop recording artist Deborah Cox (“Aida”). Obsessed, Hyde visits his lady of the night like a ravenous fiend while Dr. Jeckyll struggles to remain true to his soon-to-be wife until the love triangle spins out of control.                


The musical is based on the novella, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” by Robert Louis Stevenson. But producers are calling it a “revisal” for good reason. Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse worked together to revise the original music and character. With a contemporary team of singing and dancing talents, they’ve brilliantly twisted the old story into a modern-day drama, using fresh, sexy renditions of the classic set of songs. The modernization of both the music and the design of this Victorian-set tale better suits the young talents on stage as well as the audience two decades after its original debut.            

“It’s really fun but very dark. I love dark musicals, so this role was right up my alley. But the music is really fantastic,” Wicks said. “It’s very intense and fun for the audience. It’s an indulgent night at the theatre where people can kick back, relax and go on a ride.”

The dark industrial, gothic love story has come to the Civic Center as part of a 30-city national tour and runs through March 10. CV

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