Jekyll & Hyde

Westchester Broadway Theatre, Elmsford, NY

October 7, 2010

This production of the Broadway Musical was directed by Robert Cuccioli, the actor who played the lead on Broadway.  He has also starred in the WBT production of Phantom, and made his directorial debut in 2001 at WBT with a previous production of Jekyll and Hyde.

Xander Chauncey deserves kudos for his portrayal of the tortured split soul of the respectable, scientist/doctor and his inner demon which knows not of conscience or decency.  You can teach an angel to fly, but she must already have wings.  So it is with Jennifer Babiak as Emma Carew whose voice was made in heaven.  It even overcomes the challenged sound system of this theatre.  To be fair, it is a difficult venue to sound engineer, and whether the system could be improved or is not being used optimally, it is worth a look by those in charge.

For those who don’t know the story:  when the Board of Governors of St. Jude’s Hospital rejects Dr. Henry Jekyll’s research proposal to discover and control the inner demons which wrack us all, he strikes off on his own.   As you must know he doses himself with the chemical which will separate those two entities.  The increasingly uncontrollable Edward Hyde is euphoric as he goes about his mission of revenge and setting things right according to his own sense of justice;  one which we must all disagree with lest we become comparable monsters.

Westchester Broadway Theatre continues to provide high quality productions, which include very acceptable dinners at a very acceptable price.  There is a moment where co-star Michelle Dawson, playing Lucy – and by the way, there are no women in the original Robert Louis Stevenson novella – is magnetically attracted to the wicked Hyde.  Director Cuccioli well understands the attraction of women to bad boys.  It is reminiscent of Bess’s attraction to Crown in Porgy & Bess – more than fear, it is animal magnetism.  To be fair, men are also attracted to bad girls.  Let me not be unnecessarily sexist.  It is a moment, though…