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  • ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ Is Back and Louder Than Ever

    The bill for stage smoke must be a big one over at the Marquis Theatre. The stuff billows forth in unrelenting profusion during director-choreographer Jeff Calhoun’s expressionistic, would-be steampunk revival of “Jekyll & Hyde,” composer Frank Wildhorn and book writer–lyricist Leslie Bricusse’s monumentally dumb 1997 Broadway musical adaptation of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novella. Unfortunately, it never achieves the critical mass necessary to obscure the proceedings.
    It’s hard to understand why Wildhorn chose loud rock music as his vocabulary for this show. It has no connection to time, place, and character, and it works actively against the depiction of severely repressed emotion, a hallmark of Victorian society and so necessary to the story. Rock does provide energy and the opportunity for extreme vocal pyrotechnics, and in light of Bricusse’s barely there book and soporific, simplistic lyrics this production smartly takes full advantage of both.
    Though the original ran a little more than three years and developed a devoted cadre of followers known as Jekkies, it failed to recoup its investment, which may be why the producers have headlined the current version with two

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