If the Olmsted Performing Arts production of “Jekyll & Hyde, the Musical” is any indication, I am pleased to announce that OPA is all grown up and ready to take its place among the many fine regional theaters of the Northeast Ohio area. The production boasts two Actors’ Equity members as well as a superb cast of principals who are in fine voice through the entire show.
Along with this is a great set that is in a constant stage of nearly seamless evolution and change, very well wrought costuming and props, extremely well balanced sound (with everyone properly miked) and superb lighting. Fact is, the only thing missing is you…the audience. Although it was a dark and stormy day (as opposed to the infamous “dark and stormy night”) and a 2:00 p.m. matinee, there was plenty of room for more to enjoy this well done musical.
The show (taken from the novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson) tells the story of Dr. Jekyll who while doing research for a cure for his mentally disturbed father, stumbles across a serum. Having been refused permission to experiment on patients of the asylum he decides to use himself as the guinea pig. What results is his dark and murderous side comes forth as he goes on a rampage against the board of directors of the asylum.
The show is a truly ambitions undertaking for OPA and I might add quite a successful one. Michael Padgett* stars as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde (so named after Hyde Park where the murders take place). It is on his shoulders that the show rests and he carries it with style. He is a true professional in spite of some problems with props (getting in and out of clothes, hats falling off wall hooks, an errant cane top coming loose during a murder scene). His fine tenor voice fills the hall and there is no doubt when he is Dr. Jekyll and when the change to Mr. Hyde is made. Other notables are Natalie Green as Lucy who is the singing prostitute at “The Red Rat” bar who really knows how to belt out a robust song as well as softly sing a romantic number, Rachel Anderson as Emma Carew as Jekyll’s finance who unleashes tremendous power in her solos and Josh Rhett Noble* as John Utterson (Jekyll’s lawyer and friend) who presents himself well for his solo. All of the principles gave 110% of themselves in their acting parts giving profoundly believable performances.
Prude Alert: This is grim subject matter that involves murder, insanity and prostitution. There is some mild profanity sprinkled about. If you feel sensitive to such then this is one to sit out.
Beefs and Flubs: My only complaint is with the ensemble. Throughout the show (seven times in fact) they are called upon to sing as a group. In shows of this nature, the ensemble needs to fill the theater with sound from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. This group seemed to be hiding behind each other and not anxious to be heard. They need to all really cut loose in their group numbers and blow the audience out of their seats.
Shooting From The Lip (In My Opinion): It is time for Cleveland to take notice of “this gem in the glen” and take the long and winding road downhill to the Olmsted Performing Arts Center in Olmsted Falls. There you will find a superb performance of a very demanding musical, but hurry, there are only a few performances left.
Josh Rhett Noble*, John Utterson; Jeffrey Braun, Sr. Danvers Carew; Michael Padgett*, Dr. Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde; Mitch Kozub, Mr. Simon Stride; Paul Josell, Rupert, Bishop of Basingstoke; Raymond Cosma, The Right Honourable Archibald Proops; Kevin Myers, Lord Savage; Beth Rene Bamberger, Lady Beaconsfield; Bob Foraker, General Lord Glossop; Rachel Anderson, Emma Carew; George Keller, First Gentleman; Rebecca Riffle, Nelie; Natalie Green, Lucy; Michael Vitovich, The Spider; Josh Landis, Poole; David Falcone and Mr. Bissett.
Chelsea Falatic, Megan Hyde, Jake Ingrassia, Henry Foraker, Muna Al-Nimer, Bridget Mahoney, Gabriella Radak, Josh Landis, Michelle Unger, Kayla Heichel, Jon Ferrell, Nikolas Bailey and Janet Stukely.
David W. Coxe, Director and keyboard 1; Kristen Johnson, Keyboard 2; Laura Lazarites and Heather Vercillo, Woodwinds; John Slike, Trumpet; Bruce Amsel, Bass and Even Mitchell, Percussion.
Directed by Angela Boehm and Christina Haviland, Costume Design by Jane Christyson and Amy Lence; Stage management by Meghan Cvetic; Technical Direction by Bob Foraker; Properties by Eric Hustak; Instrumental Musical Direction by David W. Coxe; Vocal Musical Direction by Judy Crandall; Lighting Design by Gary Holsopple; Choreography by Josh Landis and Fight Choreography by Jeffrey Braun.
The OPA production features a large cast and stellar set with direction by Angela Boehm and Christina Haviland and choreography by Josh Landis and at $13 - $18 per ticket this is a great way to see outstanding classical musical theater without breaking the bank.
The OPA production of “Jekyll & Hyde” is supported by a grant from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.
“Jekyll & Hyde” will be performed at the Olmsted Performing Arts Center - 6941 Columbia Rd, Olmsted Falls, OH –Aug. 2 at 7:00 p.m., Aug. 3 at 2:00 p.m., Aug. 8 at 7:00 p.m., Aug. 9 at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. and Aug. 10 at 2:00 p.m.
Childcare will be available at the Aug. 3 2:00 p.m. show.
“Jekyll & Hyde” was conceived for the stage by Steve Cuden and Frank Wildhom, the book and lyrics ar by Leslie Bricusse, the music is by Frank Wildhom and the musical is based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Tickets to “Jekyll & Hyde” are $13 - $18 and available now online at http://www.olmstedperformingarts.com or by calling (440) 235-6722.
Olmsted Performing Arts: Building Character Onstage and Off
Since its beginning, in 2003, OPA has grown to attract more than 100 youth at each audition, a staff of over 40, a crew of wonderful volunteers, and a growing audience. The OPA mission is to instruct, develop, and advance acting, music, dance, and gymnastics skills, to edify and positively affect all individuals involved in our organization, and to motivate staff, students, and volunteers to work at their best ability. For more information e-mail Olmsted Performing Arts Center at firstname.lastname@example.org