One of the greatest notions about a revival coming to Broadway is generations of new theatergoers having the opportunity to view essential productions that have set and changed the paradigm for good theater. Another is the chance for diehard fans to discover something fresh that breathes new life into the show. For admirers of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical that breath comes courtesy of Deborah Cox.
Everybody knows the story of Jekyll and Hyde. It is the story about duality, one man’s sojourn to the dark side of human nature. The original production opened March 21, 1997 at the Plymouth Theatre, now called The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The original company starred Robert Cuccioli as Jekyll and Hyde and Linda Eder as Lucy Harris. The show played 1,543 regular performances and closed January 7, 2001 as the longest-running show in the history of the Plymouth Theatre.
The 21st century revival is playing at the Marquis Theatre and features Constantine Maroulis as the virtuous and deviant lead characters and Deborah Cox as Lucy Harris, the sensuous brothel worker that falls for Jekyll and tangles with Hyde. The role of Jekyll and Hyde can be compared to the story of Atlas carrying the heavens on his back. Indeed, the musical’s success or lack thereof rests squarely on the actor’s shoulders. Unfortunately, the role didn’t rest well in Maroulis’ possession. I was excited to see Maroulis back on Broadway; I thought he was perfect as Drew in Rock of Ages; however I saw too much rock and roll in his portrayal of Jekyll and Hyde. As Jekyll Maroulis wasn’t convincing, but fared much better as his bad boy alter ego. His fans will definitely enjoy his rendition of “Alive”.
Although Maroulis portrayal of Jekyll and Hyde may be as unbalanced as the characters themselves, there is no doubt that Cox steals this production. From the moment she saunters on stage, she commands the audience with her powerful, lush voice. She makes Lucy a force to be reckoned with and isn’t sparse with the sexy. Together she and Maroulis make a steamy pair. The Marquis Theatre may read Jekyll and Hyde the Musical on the bill, but once the curtain rises, it’s “The Lucy Show”.
There used to be a toy on the market called a Weeble. The catchphrase was “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.” This catchphrase could’ve encompassed the reinvented Jekyll and Hyde in its entirety. However, Deborah Cox’s presence created moments when this production actually stood tall and pushes Jekyll and Hyde the Musical from one star to two and a half stars.