Snapshots from Green Victoria (tedwords) wrote,
Snapshots from Green Victoria
tedwords

My rant about Jekyll and Hyde

Tonight I had a production meeting about Jekyll and Hyde, with my conductor Tony and the group's president. Oh, and the President's brother. He comes from a large family, and they're all involved in this theater.

These are the things that I kept to myself tonight. It's based on four months of listening to this show every day, even watching David Hasselholff trying to emote more times than I care to recall. (back to therapy we go!)

Now, don't get me wrong, Jekyll and Hyde has some good moments, but it also has some terribly derivative moments, and also, it has a plot structure that's about as stable as the Hindenburg.

The biggest problem I have is that I've now read four different versions, and there are things that I like from each. And things I don't like. I wish I could grab a bit from each and reshape it into something better, but there's really not enough time.

This musical suffered from "Chess syndrome"...that of one play searching for its ultimate vision, something akin to Six Characters searching for their author, only worse, because at least in that case, those six characters had a fully formed story to tell. This musical simply could not stand to stay still, and there are major differences in each different draft, with songs coming and going (first Bring On the Men's Gone--and as Tony pointed out tonight, it really is simply a variation of "Those were the days, my friend, we'd thought they'd never end..."--to be replaced by the god awful "Good and Evil," then it's back in), to changes in how Jekyll becomes Hyde (in one version, by injection, in another by potion), even in terms of how Jekyll gets it in the end (in one version, he's shot, in later versions, he's killed by a sword). And of course, most of it has very little to do with the original story upon which its supposedly based.

As I mentioned, Jekyll and Hyde is extremely derivative-even its back history is simply a rehash of the Chess fiasco (although at least Jekyll and Hyde received more of a chance than Chess. Pity that.) Its songs are Andrew Lloyd Webber-inspired popera (not rock opera, not hardly), for the most part, although "In His Eyes" is a reworked "I Know Him So Well." Tony claims "This is the Moment" is simply a reworking "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," but I don't know if I can see that one.

And some of the characterization is awfully thin. Emma has a nothing role that they try to bolster but introducing a subplot about her father having trouble letting go of his little girl. In one of the pre-Broadway albums, there are not one, but two duets between daughter and father about this subject. Godfrey, it almost borders on the incestuous. I was starting to be reminded of that infamous Saturday Night Live routine where Gumby hosts a Christmas special and invites Donny and Marie on as his guests.

The version I am to use is stripped of much of the dialogue, and they've cut probably the best song in the show "Who I Am." That baby's going back in but fast.

Still. There are moments. I like "If Someone Like You." I like "Who I Am." I like "Dangerous Game." I do like "Bring on the Men" (it's the story of my life, after all). Pete says he wished "Angels of the Evening" were still in it. I almost passed out.

That said, I'm actually looking forward to taking on the project. I know, it probably sounds hard to believe from all this. But it should be a nice little challenge.
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