The soaring temps of summer are creeping up on us this week
Keep in mind that most theatres are air conditioned … and “you can beat the heat” by catching some live theater!
Jekyll & Hyde, the Musical
I caught this chillingly hypnotic production on the weekend … and to this moment, the images, eerie storyline, and powerful performances linger in my soul. Based on the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, the 1997 Broadway production ran for four years, and earned four Tony Award nominations. A big production with a huge cast, having seen this play at The Pantages years ago, I must applaud the effort here, in a smaller equity waiver theatre space … not an easy feat. The third offering in a series of six hit musicals being presented by Doma Theatre Troupe, under the heartfelt guidance of Dolf Ramos and Marco Gomez, this group works very hard. This is the dark and cerebral story of a dignified gentleman … Dr. Henry Jekyll, who goes into a lab in solitary confinement, chemically seeking a cure from the evils that haunt the world. In the maniacal process, he intermittently morphs into the dangerously despicable Edward Hyde, his own alter ego … in danger of losing himself forever. Dubbed a pop-rock extravaganza, the story-telling Book and Lyrics (by Leslie Bricusse) and Music (by Frank Wildhorn) are pulsatingly powerful! Under the passionate direction of Marco Gomez, the performances and vocal skills of this large cast are mindbendingly effective! The musical direction/arrangements created by 21-year-old prodigy Chris Raymond are beautiful! He states in part: “The overall musical style draws primarily from gothic choir, pop, and rock.
I’m approaching the score as a contemporary operetta.” For me, every song, while conveying its message in the storyline … had a chilling life of its own. Gorgeous! In the unthinkably challenging dual role of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Chris Kerrigan gives a gutwrenching performance, bursting with raw emotion. In the two leading female roles, as Emma, Jekyll’s refined and sweet fiancé (Amber Gildersleeve) and as Hyde’s prostitute Lucy (Cassandra Nuss), both were flawless, and had amazing singing voices! A totally worthy trio of performances, that should garner nods, come theatrical awards time. Benai Boyd as Nellie, a madam at the brothel, was also a sassy stand out! With a colorfully ambitious cast of 26 actors, singers, and dancers, I can’t possibly list them all … but there truly wasn’t a weak link in this solid chain. Technically impressive as well, in setting the macabre tone: Brandy Jacobs’ gorgeous period costumes and set design were inspiring, Angela Todaro’s choreography was dynamic, and Paul LaMarche’s hair and makeup were perfect. Mood setting lighting by Johnny Ryman and dramatic sound by David Crawford round out the technical magic. This is a compellingly entertaining production, which is sure to hold your interest and linger in your mind … long after curtain call. Do try to catch it! Running weekends through July 29 at The MET Theatre located at 1089 N. Oxford Ave. in Los Angeles. For seats call (323) 802-4990 or go to www.domatheatre.com.
Attention Theater Lovers:
I have two upcoming shows to tell you about. Both promise to be winners and both will run in NoHo at the beautiful El Portal Theatre … but only for four performances each. To catch either one, or both, you must book seats ASAP. To do so … call (818) 508-4200 or (866) 811-4111.
3 Faces of the King: An American Legend
Starring Cody Slaughter, hailed as one of America’s most dynamic “Elvis” performers, and Shawn Klush, in Presley’s later Las Vegasyears … this show celebrates the music, life, and legacy of “the King.” Backed by the Elvis Tribute Orchestra, featuring the Tennessee Horns, and the vocal stylings of The Sweet Inspirations … this should be a rockin’ and nostalgic thrill! Running July 12 thru’ 15 only.
Marilyn – Forever Blonde
Starring Sunny Thompson … she is said to be brilliant as the fragile femme fatale, who seduced the world in her early twenties. LA Weekly said of an earlier performance: “Pitch perfect Monroe.” This play, taking place in 1962, spotlights Marilyn at 36 during a photo shoot, as she ponders her career and her “image” in the minds of her fans … I am so looking forward to her performance! Running August 2 thru’ 5 only.
I’m all out of “theatah chat” for this week … As always more to talk about next time….