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Gold Coast Review – Jekyll & Hyde the Musical: A great Broadway adaptation of a classic story

By Douglas Kennedy

Todd Jesson as Dr Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde. Images by TTL Photography .

Jekyll & Hyde the Musical

Conceived for the stage by Steve Cuden and Frank Wildhorn

Book & Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse

Music by Frank Wildhorn

Licensed by Music Theatre International (Australia)

Directed by Stuart Morgan

Gold Coast Little Theatre production, Southport

Season 10 September – 1 October 2022. Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (with interval)

This Broadway musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Gothic tale of the conflict between good and evil in man has been a huge worldwide success.

Now for the first time it is playing on the Gold Coast.

The original novella was first published in 1886 and has been presented in many forms since, including several film versions.

In 1997 the production team, including composer Frank Wildhorn (who penned the Whitney Houston hit Where Do Broken Hearts Go) and lyricist Leslie Bricusse, who gave the world hit musicals, including Doctor Doolittle and Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, brought the musical to New York.

Jekyll & Hyde The Musical had its world premiere in Houston, Texas, in 1990, but since the final decade of the 20th century has toured nationally in the US and many countries around the world.

The first Australian stage production was at Sydney’s Hayes Theatre in July- August this year, but now GCLT president, Stuart Morgan, has brought the production to the Coast and secured his reputation as a first class director of large scale shows.

Last Saturday’s opening was a triumph for Morgan as director as well as the extensive ensemble and highly skilled back stage crew.

Morgan’s previous GCLT hits on this scale have included Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I and Green Day’s American Idiot, which both received a largely rapturous reception.

But this creative, who has been on the theatre scene for 16 years, since he got the bug as a backstage crew member in his home town, Wagga, at the age of 16, couldn’t have done it without a talented team.

The backstage credits go to Hayley Green (choreographer), Ann Sparks (musical director) and Ralph Lenton (stage manager) among others.

But it’s the on-stage performers, and the more than two dozen songs, which captures the audience’s imagination.

Artists such as Todd Jesson (Dr Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde), Chloe Smith (Emma Carrew) and Cat Deller (Lucy Harris).

Stripped to its basics Jekyll & Hyde is a story of love and hate expressed through this 19th century account of two women trapped in a battle for one man’s soul.

Meanwhile, the two male characters – the romantic gentle Dr Jekyll and the murderous Mr Hyde – have their own demons to fight.

All three of the principals were in Green Day’s American Idiot and brought something magical to the stage both then and now.

However, the ensemble cast play a potpourri of important roles as well as giving the large sound, which features in songs such as the touching This Is The Moment and the upbeat Bring on the Men.

To borrow an old theatrical and literary cliché this is a show which works on many levels, but probably the most important is a great night’s entertainment at the theatre.


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