Traveling down a long, foggy, icy Long Island road in the dead of winter to see “Jekyll & Hyde The Musical” seemed like an appropriate precursor for what was to come. On our way to see DDB Productions Inc.’s inaugural production at SUNY Old Westbury’s Maguire Theatre, the weather was just a sampling of the danger -- and delight -- that lay within.
Attracting a good crowd for such a nasty Saturday night, the well-advertised play about man’s struggle between good and evil boasts the parts of the original Broadway set and props, as well as the original costumes and a full orchestra. Cast with performers from New York City and regional theaters, this production is an innovative concept to bring private entrepreneurial financing and expertise to students at SUNY Old Westbury, and enables the school to have a theater program on campus. The goal is to have students from SUNY Old Westbury work with the professionals in the show to learn theater technology and backstage work.
David Yudell plays the dual title characters of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde superbly here. In the story, Jekyll is a respected London doctor who questions man’s nature of good and evil, drinks a potion of his own making and is transformed into the cruel, remorseless, lustful – and eventually murderous – Edward Hyde. The Hyde side eventually takes over, appearing at will, and doing all sorts of awful deeds – and what an awfully good time we had watching it all!
One danger of trying to duplicate a Broadway production is that people are expecting, well, a Broadway production. This was darn close, and for the location, the price and pure Long Island enjoyment, DDB’s Jekyll & Hyde was a guilty pleasure. Yudell’s duplicitous role was a challenge, and I was impressed with his transformation from the good-hearted doctor to the
evil Mr. Hyde. I wondered if the microphones were rigged with Auto-Tune when his clear baritone voice turned gravelly and, yes, he virtually spitted and spewed evil.
Allison Rerecich and Emily Nader were spot-on in their roles as Emma Carew and Lucy Harris (the good and ‘bad’ women in Jekyll’s life) and their beautiful rendition of “In His Eyes” elicited a well-deserved standing ovation. As a matter of fact, the entire cast was wonderful, and if you’re a fan of community theater, you’ll see more than a few familiar faces up on the stage, at their very best.
There’s still time to explore your devilish side. Go see Long Island’s “Jekyll & Hyde The Musical” -- you will have a murderously good time.
“Jekyll & Hyde The Musical” is based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, with book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, music by Frank Wildhorn. This production stars David Yudell as Jekyll/Hyde; Emily Nadler as Lucy Harris; Allison Rerecich as Emma Carew, and Anthony Edelman as John Utterson; executive producer, Beverly J. Bell, directed and choreographed by Jon Grodeski; musical director, Karen Yaleney; costumes, Geraldine Hackett; assistant choreographer, dance captain, Sal Canepa; stage manager, Stephen M. Germano; lighting by Donna Gagnon of InfoTainment Services, Inc.; sound by Joe Zaffuto,; with hair by Robert Siegfried.
‘Jekyll & Hyde The Musical’
Now through Feb. 20. At the Maguire Theater, SUNY College at Old Westbury,
Route 107, Old Westbury.
Tickets: $45; students and seniors, $35.
For more information, call (866) 811-4111 or visit
www.jekyllandhydelongisland.com for details.