Broadway tour of Jekyll & Hyde visits Erie

Broadway in Erie is a program that brings shows that have been performed on Broadway to the Warner Theater for a one-night performance.

This month “Jekyll and Hyde” will be making an appearance Tuesday.

This musical is a modern interpretation of the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, incorporating things such as a love interest, a complete musical score and unprecedented character depth.

This show has been described as “glamorous, sexy and deliciously wicked.”

The program as a whole is also greatly praised, allowing for a professional show to be brought in, rather than constructed from resources in the area.

While these shows are fun to watch, and possibly even more so to be involved in, it allows local theater-goers to have sort of a break from being involved in a show. Carol Hayes, an instructor in Gannon University’s English department, agrees.

“There’s a great sense of connection with Broadway,” Hayes said. “Broadway and the West End are the two centers for theater, and to be able to tap into that is wonderful.”

Hayes also said she believes that local actors benefit from seeing Broadway shows done so close to home.

“We have such great actors in our community for such a relatively small place,” she said. “I just think it’s exciting for them, and it elevates their status.”

The content of the show is also popular among theater fans. The Rev. Shawn Clerkin, an associate professor in the School of Communication and the Arts and director of theater, is a veteran of the show, and a big fan of some of the show’s subtext.

“This show, I believe, is an attempt to bring out the melodrama of the original,” Clerkin said. “It’s a study of good and evil, and it creates dramatic twist by introducing a love interest.”

However, despite the fact that the musical is based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, Clerkin believes there are differences between the two.

“It’s so far from Robert Louis Stevenson at this point,” Clerkin said. “It focuses more on the separation between good and evil as opposed to finding a balance between the two. Dr. Jekyll releases that dark side and silences the voice that says ‘I shouldn’t do this.’ That’s an interesting exploration.”

The soundtrack is also very dynamic, and very much aids in the story-telling onstage. Clerkin points out some specific examples of this.

There’s a duet between the two ladies, and they’re both singing about the same person.

They’re not in the same place, although they are in the same spiritual place.

Right before the line “In His Eyes,” Jekyll injects himself with the serum, and starts his transformation.

“That dramatic unit, for me, was by far the most interesting,” said Clerkin

There is some extra hidden information in the show.

“The other parts of the show, which are added to give it more life, are sometimes just unnecessary,” Clerkin said.

“You can kill a person off without having them there and giving them a song.”

On the whole, however, “Jekyll & Hyde” has been wonderfully received, and many Erie locals are excited to see this show.

You can find more information about the show, as well as ticket sales at www.eriebroadwayseries.com before the performance at the Warner Theatre Tuesday.

 

TOM BARTON

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