Hats Off to JEKYLL & HYDE at Footlighters

by Lisa Panzer

Hauntingly beautiful music (Frank Wildhorn) sets the mood for JEKYLL & HYDE, the dark and stirring stage adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novella, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.  Dr. Henry Jekyll (brought to life by Allen Puy) has embarked, for strong personal reasons, on a disturbing experimental quest to ferret out evil from good in mankind. In his passionate effort to separate the two, Jekyll’s chemical explorations eventually pit him against his own lust-filled, bloodthirsty alter ego, Mr. Hyde (tasteful performance by Allen Puy). Jekyll’s elegant fiancé Emma Carew (charming grace and crystalline voice by Kellianne Quirk) exercises loving patience as he drifts further away from her, increasingly losing himself to Hyde, who is partial to Lucy Harris (given a sultry voice by Jennifer Roman), a prostitute (Love quadrangle? Hmm…). Meanwhile, the number of victims in Victorian London mount…

Members of the cast of JEKYLL & HYDE THE MUSICAL, running at Footlighters Theater in Berwyn, PA thru November 9.

Members of the cast of JEKYLL & HYDE THE MUSICAL, running at Footlighters Theater in Berwyn, PA thru November 9.

Allen Puy, via well-executed manipulations in voice and mannerism, convincingly carries both the transformation of Jekyll to Hyde and back splendidly, particularly in the confrontation scene between Jekyll and Hyde. His singing remained strong while projecting the multiple emotions his split being undergoes on stage. Gabriel John Utterson, Jekyll’s lawyer and best friend, is played with authenticity, distinction and handsome voice by Patrick J. Ruegsegger. Peter Rolston delivers the role of the dapper Sir Danvers with aplomb, adding a nice touch of humor, as does Robert (Rib) Klein in his role as Lord Savage. Joe Fortunato as General Lord Glossop and Basil Kershner as Bishop of Basingstoke, do well as quite distinguished gentleman, and Chaz Meyers lends terrific tenor to Simon Stride. Lady Beaconsfield is played austerely by Ginny Swann, who also plays the role of Nellie quite cutely, and Wes Heywood is genuine as Jekyll’s manservant, Poole. Christopher Moran excels in his roles as Bisset, the Apothecary and the Minister, and David Richman also gives his strong voice and energetic ‘all’ in multiple roles, especially that of Spider (a pimp). Vinny Ali plays a dashing Sir Archibald Proops, and also brings vivacity to the stage. The excellent ensemble includes Becky Ginther, Nikki Gleason, Sarah Kirk, Jessica Poulton, Elizabeth Powell, Don Roman, Josh Yannuzzi, and Danielle Ziemba. Though the ensemble may be small in number, the musical numbers are enormously well done!

The pit orchestra (whose names and instruments I would like to list here, but are not available in the program; musical numbers not listed there either) deserves the abundant applause given by the audience for their wonderful performance. As directed by the indefatigable Dolores Ciavola, the music wraps each scene in an aural aura, transcending mood; so haunting that it will stay in your mind long after leaving the theater.

The set, particularly for the lab scene, is creatively conceived (Kirk Paul), and it is a treat to see Victorian garb (Jennifer Roman) worn on the stage. The dance numbers (Danielle Ziemba) are suited to the size of the stage, visually dynamic without being overmuch, and fun! Lighting is cleverly designed and used to advantage (David Bastarache, Carmen Rossi, and Carl Lotz).

Is it true that “Man is not one but two…”? Explore this classic argument from the relative safety of your seat at Footlighters Theater while being entertained by enjoyable song, dance, and story…

Music by Frank Wildhorn
Lyrics by Frank Wildhorn, Leslie Bricusse and Steve Cuden
Book by Leslie Bricusse
Based on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Director, Tony Filipone
Musical Director, Dolores Ciavola
October 18 – November 9, 2013
Footlighters Theater
58 Main Avenue
Berwyn, PA 19018-3709
(610) 296-9254


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1 comment

Sue November 7, 2013 - 2:07 pm

While it is well-written review, I would find it more unbiased if Ms. Panzer didn’t work extensively with Footlighters


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