By Jef With One F
By Pete Vonder Haar
By Abby Koenig
By Olivia Flores Alvarez
By Jef With One F
By Christina Uticone
By Angelica Leicht
By Altamese Osborne
Neither does Vincent Mountain's set of steel girders and scaffolding, sort of an erector-set bridge that rotates into other things. Abstractions don't help a text that labors to pinpoint the hypocrisies of Victorian society. Even though scenery is sometimes flown to suggest definite locales, there's no unity of design. Howell Binkley's lighting is basically a bunch of funneled spots. Even in the production numbers, Barry McNabb doesn't choreograph much.
Robert Cuccioli's Jekyll lacks intellectual passion, therefore hampering more than half the show. He's better at Hyde; the physical transformation -- no makeup -- works to a large degree through his robust, demonic confidence. As Lucy, Linda Eder, reprising the role in which she made her theatrical debut, sings up a storm. Indeed, she stops the show with "Someone Like You," belting it out with technical precision, just like the 12-time winner of Star Search she is. Which is exactly the problem. Bustier aside, she's not slinky; ballads aside, she's not touching. She gives a concert, not a portrayal. In fact, she gets shown up during the show's best moment, a duet, "In His Eyes," with Christiane Noll (as Lisa). Not only does Noll sing particularly virtuously, but she does so as a musical theater actress. Thus, the duet is glorious -- and telling -- because Noll matches Eder note for note but passes her in dimension. Noll is a rising star, finely imbuing her underwritten role. Her considerable talent is wasted here.
A pre-cast concept album was recorded for this version of Jekyll & Hyde, too. On it, Jekyll rails, "Seems vision is a word they've never heard!" The sad irony is, except for the marketing department, the censure applies to almost everyone connected with this musical.
Jekyll & Hyde plays through February 19 at The Music Hall, 810 Bagby, 1-800-766-6048.