A revival of Jekyll & Hyde brings Constantine Maroulis & Deborah Cox together on stage in Toronto
Let me start off by saying that I have never seen any show or movie that followed the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but I don’t live under a rock so I am familiar with the basic premise of the story. For those of you who may have also missed the many renditions of this tale, it is a fairly simple story about good versus evil and how human beings can house both of these dichotomous forces within their nature.
Jekyll & Hyde is not the most original production in the world as this story has been told and re-told by many, but the big draw for this production are the singing sensations Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox. The two singers have quite the vocal range and their voices are mesmerizing to listen to.
When I told friends I was going to see Jekyll & Hyde all everyone could talk about was Maroulis and how dreamy the former American Idol is. I don’t watch that show and had never even heard of him, even though I now know that he was in The Rock of Ages musical as well. My reason for wanting to see the show? Ms. Deborah Cox, as I remembered her from her R&B days and couldn’t wait to hear her belt out just about anything, which she did exceptionally well.
Anyhow, I thought the show itself left a lot to be desired. I was there with my managing editor, Wayne Leung, who felt very much the same way. There was nothing fresh or exciting about this show for us. The staging was okay, the set boring at times, the acting by the leads felt forced at best and at times bordered on distracting for me. I think Mr. Leung said it best when he described the show as a flimsy frame trying to hold together the singing talents of Maroulis and Cox. And there is no doubt that they have phenomenal voices but I think there are probably better avenues to showcase that.
For me maybe this experience was tainted by the fact that the last two shows I have seen at Mirvish have blown me away, I mean this was no Mary Poppins or Sister Act and maybe my expectations were just a little too high. I still think that the singing talent in this show is definitely worth seeing, but for me I would have rather have watched them in a concert instead of a theatre show.
The rest of the cast was great and the one standout performance of the evening was Teal Wicks (of Wicked fame) in the role of Emma, Jekyll’s fiance. Her voice will blow your mind and the best part is that she’s quite the actor. You could feel the emotion that came through her and there was a moment on stage where we caught tears in her eyes.
If you want the opportunity to see Maroulis, Cox and Wicks belt their hearts out before the show heads to Broadway you have till November 18th to catch them in Toronto.
– Jekyll & Hyde is playing at the Ed Mirvish Theatre (244 Victoria St) until November 18, 2012
– Performances run nightly at 7:30pm with additional matinees at 1:30pm on Nov 15, 17 & 18
– Tickets range from $29 to $150
– Tickets can be purchased online, by calling (416) 872-1212 or in person at the box office.
Photo of Constantine Maroulis as Hyde and Deborah Cox as Lucy by Chris Bennion.
3 thoughts on “Review: Jekyll & Hyde (Mirvish)”
My theatre companion & I saw it on the 14th, and found J & H disappointing as well. Maroulis seems miscast and over his head, turning Dr. Jekyll into a whiny bookworm type. I was rooting for Hyde to take over and rid us of his simpering. Their confrontation scene (Dr. J vs Mr. H) is high camp/garish, like something out of Rocky Horror Show.
Deborah Cox, of course, is sexy, sultry and can sing up a storm and Teal Wicks is a lovely soprano. Their duet is a refreshing break from this over-the-top production.
The musical is horrendously bad, and this production is completely outrageous. So why did I like it so much? I think that if you go in with low expectations and just try to have fun, you may be surprised. Calhoun’s concept is so camp and ridiculous that I found myself submitting to the sheer lunacy rather than trying to fight it. It makes for a decent night of entertainment (although some alcohol would have helped). Also, I had tickets for the rear mezzanine but when I arrived at the threatre, I discovered that they had moved me and my date up to row GG of the orchestra. I am guessing this was done due to low ticket sales as entire sections of the orchestra where completely empty.
SO bad. I went with lowered expectations, knowing what the ‘new take’ was probably going to mean. But they went over the top with musical changes, and trying waaay too hard. Like an out of control roller coaster, the music never stopped, singers were either incessantly back phrasing or skipping ahead like crazy (the two ‘stars’ that is) so you couldn’t relax and enjoy a number. Man is Cox ever wooden, and that’s not a pun. So disconnected with her body, that is was laughable. Shame, really, especially for ‘bring on the men’. Teal kept the focus on her for ‘in his eyes’ showing what it is to act a song. Sigh. I don’t see how this will last more than a few months on b’way, even with the names. Ensemble great though. It’s just too bad a new American production chose this route – check out YouTube for major German productions that brought in wicked technological/production upgrades, while not sacrificing all musical integrity.
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