There are three things you should know going into “Jekyll & Hyde” produced by the DOMA Theatre Company at the MET Theatre:
- That the musical by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse is as bloated a piece of theatre as can be, which managed to run on Broadway for 1,543 performances and still lose money.
- That the intimate stage of the MET Theatre is a terrible venue for this show.
- And that you can completely ignore the first two statements I made because this production stands as testament that “Creativity can solve anything!”
Since it was first published in 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” has been filmed more than 200 times including by Jerry Lewis in 1963 as The Nutty Professor. There have been about two dozen adaptations for TV including one which starred Jack Palance, and a 1973 musical version by Lionel Bart, composer of “Oliver”, which featured a singing and tap dancing Kirk Douglas as Jekyll/Hyde.
There have also been stage versions beyond reckoning. And after sitting through a performance of this play a few years back, featuring David Hasselhoff in the title role, it felt like I had just sat through every single last one of them. But with this mounting, Director Marco Gomez and Musical Director Chris Raymond have done a masterful job of staging a production that’s by far superior to the material they were given to work with.
Key to the success of this undertaking is the casting of four powerhouses who serve as pillars in supporting the overall production. Chris Kerrigan, who we remember fondly from Domo’s recent production of ”Tommy”, may grapple with the straitlaced Dr. Jekyll, but he goes into hyper drive as the grotesque Hyde, managing to darken the stage with his presence while filling the rafters with his voice.
As his harried fiancée Emma, Amber Gildersleeve, fills the bill to perfection.
The doomed Lucy is portrayed by Cassandra Nuss with a heartbreaking vulnerability, and in the role of Nellie, the madam of the house, Benai Boyd is a presence to be dealt with. The pair of them brings to the stage talents, both acting and vocal, of the highest caliber; and their duet of “The Girls of the Night” (arguably the best song in the show) is not only enough to bring the house down, but to flatten a good portion of Santa Monica Blvd.
These four could support the show alone if all the rest of the roles were cast using cans of cream corn. But the DOMA Company has been grooming its supporting cast and seems to have a sharp eye for talent. So from top to bottom individuals shine forth: Michelle Homes, Scott Strauss, Edgar Edgerly, Victor A. Mercado, and Brittany Rodin just to pick out a few from an overall superb cast. Oh, and Mookie Johnson too. Not just for adding some solid comic relief, but for having such a great name.
Brandy Jacobs’ contribution as costume and scenic designer cannot be overlooked or undervalued. But special praise must go to choreographer Angela Todaro who manages to work as many as 20 cast members into numbers without once having them appear stacked or shuffling in the venue’s confined space. The Act II opening of “Murder, Murder” was an outstanding blending of economy and energy.
All in all I don’t think you’ll ever come across a better production of this show than the one now playing at the MET.
Jekyll & Hyde, the Musical
DOMA Theatre Co. @ The MET Theatre
1089 N. Oxford Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90029
Fridays @ 8 pm: July 20, 27
Saturdays @ 8 pm: July 21, 28
Sundays @ 3 pm: July 22, 29
General Admission: $30
VIP: $34.99 (includes preferred seating plus one snack and one drink)
Seniors and students with ID: $10
Secure, on-site parking: $5
(at Earl Scheib Paint and Auto Body, 5416 Santa Monica Blvd.)