As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
This past Sunday, the 2 Year Musical Journey took us to State College, PA – to The State Theatre, to be exact – for a community production of Jekyll & Hyde. I have to give Gracie’s friend Rylie credit for finding out and telling us about this show (and theater) and encouraging us to contact them about our project. Unfortunately, she was not able to attend with us (again). Thankfully for us, though, we have lots of friends who share our love of music and musical theater, and Gracie’s friend Margaret was happy to step in and spend the afternoon with us.
About the Show
Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic thriller, Jekyll & Hyde is the gripping tale of a brilliant mind gone horrifically awry, set to a powerful pop-rock score by Frank Wildhorn with book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. In an attempt to cure his ailing father’s mental illness by separating “good” from “evil” in the human personality, talented physician Dr. Jekyll inadvertently creates an alternate personality of pure evil, dubbed Mr. Hyde, who wreaks murderous havoc on the city of London. As his fiancée Emma grows increasingly fearful for her betrothed, a prostitute, Lucy, finds herself dangerously involved with both the doctor and his alter ego. Struggling to control Hyde before he takes over for good, Jekyll must race to find a cure for the demon he has created in his own mind.
Heidi Says . . .
The State Theatre is a lovely little theater right in the heart of State College, right along College Avenue, across from the main campus. Because we had tickets for a Sunday afternoon, we were able to park in a nearby parking garage, within nice walking distance from the theater, for free. When we entered the theater, we were immediately greeted by the staff who were passing out the Will Call tickets. When I said my name, the Box Office Manager overheard and immediately introduced himself (we had previously communicated via phone and e-mail). It was a nice extra perk to be greeted by name. You can tell there is a closeness at the theater and that those involved really enjoy what they do.
I went into this show with a totally fresh outlook as I had no clue that there even was a Jekyll & Hyde musical until Rylie mentioned it. I purposely didn’t look it up or do any pre-show research because I didn’t want my opinion to be tainted in any way with preconceived notions. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting a really dark plot – and it was dark, in parts – but much of the show was refreshing and really made you think about your own inner self and the whole light/dark, good vs. evil theme.
Despite a few issues with microphones (which it sounds like the theater is making attempts to replace), we were really pleased with the production. The main character, played by Steve Travis, was really convincing. I cannot imagine attempting to play two very unique roles in one show. At the end, when he sang “Confrontation” as both Jekyll and Hyde, I was really impressed.
Speaking of music, I was really surprised by some of the beautiful songs in this show. “Take Me As I Am” is lovely and could almost be used as a wedding song, I think. Mr. Travis and Lauren Ritter (who played Emma) did a great job with it. (If you’d like to hear it, I found a YouTube clip from the Broadway production.) “Once Upon a Dream” (not to be confused with the one from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty), sung by Emma, is also beautiful (clip here).
On the way home, we all got to talking about the costuming and how impressed we were by that as well.
We were really pleased with the show and hope for the opportunity to go back for more!
You can learn more about The State Theatre and State College Community Theater by visiting their website.
The Musical Journey
I would classify Jekyll & Hyde into a fantasy genre, which is going to be a supplemental section of our 2-year course, in addition to American and World History. (We’ll also have a supplemental section devoted to Disney musicals, of course.)
Really, though, rather than trying to tie this musical into a certain historical time period, I think that it ties in more with a study of health and the body and mind. Further research into split personalities, schizophrenia, etc. would be in order. Normally, we think of people with these issues taking medication to remedy the situation; yet, in this story, that happens in reverse – the medication actually causes the problems. It brings to mind how my family always discusses commercials for medication and all the many side effects associated with them. More research into medications and their adverse effects could also be interesting.
And Gracie would love to tie this into science and attempt to recreate those bubbling tubes of color that were used on set! Really, we could go so many different directions as a follow-up study to this musical.
More About the 2 Year Musical Journey
- Our Musical Journey Begins
- Seize the Day (Newsies)
- From Oklahoma to the South Pacific
- How Sweet the Sound
- Good Morning, Baltimore!