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DiverseWorks

4102 Fannin St., Suite 200
Houston, TX 77004

Category: Community Venues

Region: Third Ward

Obsidian Art Space

3522 White Oak Drive
Houston, TX 77007

Category: Theaters

Region: Heights

Frenetic Theater

5102 Navigation
Houston, TX 77011

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: East End

Zilkha Hall

800 Bagby
Houston, TX 77002

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: Downtown/ Midtown

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Jekyll and Hyde Robert Lewis Stevenson wrote his classic novel about the duality of man — the good Dr. Jekyll experiments upon himself and transforms into the beast Mr. Hyde — two years before Jack the Ripper's autumn reign of terror in 1888 London. The monsters share surprising similarities. In Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusses's monster-cult musical adaptation from 1990, there's not nearly enough Stevenson and way too much Wildhorn and Bricusse. In its time, Wildhorn's show, his most consistently entertaining and melodic (up to a point), had the kind of devoted quasi-religious veneration that now envelopes Wicked. There's grand sweep to the story and enough pop anthems to fill an entire season of American Idol; the scenes move crisply, and the stage is constantly full of Victorian London low-lifes and hypocritical high ones. It's a huge songfest, which is the problem, because Wildhorn's soaring music always sounds the same, except when it samples Cabaret ("Bring on the Men") or Stephen Sondheim ("Murder, Murder"). It comes as no surprise that veteran Masquerade Theatre stars Luther Chakurian (Jekyll/Hyde) and Kristina Sullivan (prostitute Lucy) belt their lungs out — radiantly, by the way — and deliver definitive performances. Michelle Macicek, as Jekyll's fiancée Emma, is heavenly; and grand trooper Michael Ross takes a nothing role like Jekyll's trusty friend John and spins it into gold. Kendrick Mitchell turns pimp Spider into a creepy lithograph straight from the East End's Police News; and Tyler Berry Lewis, in his Masquerade debut as prig Simon Stride, disappears from the musical much too soon but fills the house with robust singing. The costumes and settings are a grab bag of second-tier Victoriana without much thought to grand design — Lucy would never, even as the lowest of the low, show so much leg in public. She'd have been arrested for exposure, not soliciting. If you stall out because of those atrocious Bricusse lyrics — he clobbers you with rhyme until you want him to be Hyde's next victim — Wildhorn's power ballads will propel you into the next scene. While Jekyll and Hyde may not please every Broadway baby, Masquerade knows how to wrap it up vocally and make it sing. Through May 29. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, 713-861-7045. — DLG

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