Musical horror isn’t a genre that’s often on stage in Edmonton, but thinking of the story of ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde‘, the idea of struggling to control one’s own actions, thoughts, feelings and emotions makes for the perfect high-stakes emotional story to transform into a musical.
In 1997, Frank Wildhorn, Leslie Bricusse, and Steve Cuden adapted The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to the stage in the musical Jekyll and Hyde, which was then later adapted to a concert version focusing on the emotion in the music and lyrics of the show. It’s been a long-time dream of Erika Noot and Joy van de Ligt, the duo behind One Voice Vocal Studio, to bring Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical in Concert to Edmonton – a dream that will come true October 27 and 28 at the theatre in the old Royal Alberta Museum.
Director April Killins says, “It’s a very honest script and score. Everything the music does coincides with what is going on with the character in that moment. It’s just such strong writing for the honesty of the characters, so we wanted to bring that to the forefront and … focus on the music, the story and the truth of the characters. They really all have a passion or an obsession for something and in the end, that’s what breaks them.”
For those unfamiliar with the story of Jekyll and Hyde, Dr Jekyll becomes obsessed with trying to cure his father’s mental illness by separating the “good” personality from the “evil” personality and inadvertently creates an evil alter-ego for himself, Mr Hyde. The two aspects of his personality battle each other, and Dr Jekyll must find a cure for what he’s done before Mr Hyde takes over for good.
April says that this concert version of Jekyll and Hyde allows the idea of being consumed by a passion to shine through in the distinctly pop-rock music, “I think in art we see that an artist will often let their passions consume them and take over their life. That’s really what this story is about… It’s a super relevant story because this is just something that people struggle with all the time. You get obsessed with something you really love and just like you eventually see in the play, you see the dark side of striving. He’s striving so hard for something he thinks he can do that he doesn’t listen to the advice of people telling him what he should be doing.”
With the focus on the music and lyrics, April says the emotion and motivations of the characters come through crystal-clear in the songs, “Because music is such an open form of communication, it really touches on those peaks and valleys of human experience. That’s what makes the songs so powerful and well-written. The music changes when the character’s intention changes without the actors having to speak, it’s very clear what is going on for the characters at any point. That’s really a testament to the writing and the power music has in telling a story.”
Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical in Concert features some of Edmonton’s top vocal talent such as Martin Galba (playing Jekyll/Hyde), Erika Noot (Lucy Harris), Joy van de Ligt (Emma Carew), Amanda Neufeld (Lady Beaconsfield), and Todd Hauck (Sir Danvers) and more accompanied by an eight-piece orchestra on stage.
In the spirit of the Halloween season, there will be a costume contest during intermission both nights of the production with the winner receiving dinner and a movie for them and a guest.
Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical in Concert is October 27 and 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Royal Alberta Museum Theatre (12845 102 Avenue). Tickets are $30 available through One Voice Vocal Studio.