...what the critics are saying about
DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE

Paper Mill Playhouse,
Millburn, NJ

November 4 - December 13, 1998

Home News Tribune
November 9, 1998

"Jekyll and Hyde" skillfully retold

When Richard White and Marc Kudisch take their bows at the Paper Mill Playhouse, they look like they've been through hell.

The image fits. The actors look that way because they've just finished portraying a titanic struggle between the title characters in the musical play, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" - the embodiments of good and evil.

The show, based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson, will be at the Paper Mill Playhouse through December 15. With a book and lyrics by David Levy and Leslie Eberhard and music by Phil Hall, the work is operatic in its use of literate songs of a semiclassical quality to advance the story.

And what a story it is, a skillfully embellished version of the familiar tale of a London physician whose experiment on himself unleashes a sinister side of his personality.

Stevenson's tale has been retold in a variety of ways since he wrote it in 1886; but this show departs from most film and theatrical attempts by using two actors to play the one person, and by having them appear on stage together.

Moreover, the creative team has discarded Stevenson's description of Hyde as a skulking, dwarfish monkey-man, and presents him instead as a brazen, strutting Adonis.

It all works. Far from confusing the audience, the device of having the two parts of the man wrestle for supremacy makes Stevenson's idea of a nature torn by its duality graphically and frighteningly clear. The scenes in which this contest between the two reaches its full intensity are daring and provocative.

The new view of Hyde makes plausible his abusive sexual relationship with a cheap dancer who does not appear in the original story. If anything, the imposing, glowering, sensual, explosive Kudisch is as scary an Edward Hyde as we're likely to see in any form.

White is equally effective as Jekyll--at first naive and then tortured--and both men bring well-established musical talents, rich and booming voices, to Hall's demanding score.

Judy McLane is captivating and sympathetic as the dancer Lily, who unknowingly encounters Jekyll in both of his manifestations. Besides her accomplished singing and dancing and her comic touches, McLane shows her dramatic acumen in this part--presenting Lily as a woman who lives in tawdry circumstances but maintains a native decency.

Glory Crampton is an elegant figure as Amanda Lanyon--a love interest invented by the writers of Jekyll--and her ringing voice is as much a thrill in this performance as in her previous musical successes in this theater.

The show has an elaborate set by Michael Anania, based on Greg Hill's concept for a recent production at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri. Eighteen scene changes are smoothly accomplished by members of the company who move the various pieces into place without interrupting the flow of the play.

The seamless character of this show, which is seemingly always in motion, is a compliment to the direction and choreography of Philip Wm. McKinley.

Anania's recreation of the atmosphere in 19th century London and Kirk Bookman's shadowy lighting design express very well the brooding nature of the story. The basis for Jekyll's experiments--his concern for the misery that afflicts so many people--is kept before the audience in a poignant way by motionless figures of weak and poor men and women who appear in the shadows of every scene.

Asbury Park Press
November 11, 1998

Rich voices impassion "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"

It is an awesome display of musical theatre voices.

Two men. Two women. One passionate story.

Director Philip McKinley brings many nice nuances to the show, such as the street people of London changing sets, then remaining in place during the scene reminding us of class distinction.

At the beginning of the musical, Jekyll comforts a rapist and murderer who dies in the street, admitting he is no good. At the end, Jekyll dies in the street. It's a reminder that we are all the same in the end.

McKinley's staging of the actors playing the two sides of Dr. Jekyll's personality provides some of the evening's best moments.

The smartest move on the part of Phil Hall, who wrote the music, and David Levy and Leslie Eberhard, who wrote the book and lyrics, was casting Jekyll and Hyde as two characters. (On Broadway, one actor plays both parts.)

Here the struggle between good and evil is much more concrete and dramatic. The use of a mirror, for instance, allows Jekyll to look at himself and see Hyde emerge from within. Another time the two personalities struggle on the street and in a swirl of their capes, one vanishes before our eyes.

Kudisch does a nice job of giving Hyde a more than one-dimensional personality, having him notice lamp posts and fabrics as if he were an infant discovering new things. As he grows stronger, Jekyll grows weaker. Less confident and unable to take charge, White conveys this demise nicely.

The women do not have the same transformation to go through. Amanda's determination to get what she wants seems unusual for a well-brought-up Victorian lady, but Crampton makes her believable. McLane brings the same raw edge to Lily that she did to Eva Peron when she played the title role in "Evita" here.

Michael Anania's sets, Scott Lane's costumes and Kirk Bookman's lighting are very well done.

The Observer Tribune
November 19, 1998

Tis the season for Jekylls and Hydes, for a musical version of the classic story by Robert Louis Stevenson is now in its second year on Broadway and another musical rendering of the same story has just opened at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn.

"Jekyll and Hyde" is the name of the show on Broadway, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is at the Paper Mill, and the publicity coming out of Millburn makes the point emphatically that the show at the Paper Mill is not the Broadway musical.

Some people might be tempted to think that in being so up front about the two shows, the Paper Mill is showing an admirable sense of fairness.

Truth be told, however, a better reason for clarifying the difference is that the staging in Millburn is better.

Set in London near the turn of the century, the show chronicles the downfall of Dr. Henry Jekyll as he first uses drugs to unleash his repressed evil and then discovers he has lost control over his transformations.

Richard White, a favorite at the Paper Mill, brings a powerful voice to this role and also shows some impressive emotional range.

The woman in his life, the beautiful Amanda Lanyon, is well-bred but spunky. Glory Crampton displays a classy dignity in this role, and she, too, has an excellent voice.

Jekyll, however, has no experience with women, and in these Victorian times, even his laboratory assistant will not give him any how-to advice. When Jekyll becomes Hyde, the "evil" side is drawn to a woman of questionable virtue and enormous passion is soon unleashed.

Marc Kudisch portrays the monstrous Hyde, and there is a base, animal quality to his character that is in rich contrast to the polite Jekyll.

The duality is similarly reflected in Judy McLane's performance as Lily, the ill-bred music hall performer who is such a contrast to Amanda.

For this version of Stevenson's classic story, David Levy and Leslie Eberhard have provided the book and lyrics. It is Phil Hall's music that is most impressive, however, for here is a new musical with a tune that people actually were humming as they left the theatre. That song is "In Your Eyes," which we first hear in the first scene as a duet featuring Amanda and Jekyll.

Hyde has a moment to remember as well, as he sings the passionate and violent "I Am The Night" in Act I. "Jekyll's Soliloquy" in Act II, written to be a show-stopper and performed with much energy by Richard White, is clearly another highlight.

Judy McLane is a gifted performer, but unfortunately in this show too much of what she's given to do are light-weight Music Hall bits. The exception is her lovely duet with Amanda, "Love Treats Us All The Same."

Philip Wm. McKinley's direction and choreography are solid. Especially interesting is the way minor characters are used throughout the performance to dress the stage and move the set pieces.

Kirk Bookman's fascinating lighting, delineated throughout by a suggestion of smoke in the air, is as much of the scenery as Michael Anania's intriguing background of windows.

All sorts of contemporary ideas are at work in this musical, including the conflict between scientific research and religion, the pattern of abusive relationships, and the destructive characteristics of mind-altering drugs.

What audiences will appreciate most, however, are the excellent performances, the creative staging, and the powerful and passionate story. This "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is a winner.

Variety
December 5, 1998

Robert Louis Stevensonís classic tale of good vs. evil seems to hold a strange fascination for songwriters. Long before "Jekyll & Hyde," the Frank Wildhorn-Leslie Bricusse musical now in its second year on Broadway, Kirk Douglas, Alfred Drake and John Cullum respectively stalked Victorian London in three different tuners on television and stage. Now comes the latest retelling in song of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" at the Paper Mill Playhouse. Stylishly staged, the production looks absolutely grand and boasts some attractive performances.

A new spin on the old tale is the use of two actors as fictionís most familiar dual character, and the concept works reasonably well. Richard White is the established London physician, Dr. Jekyll, whose unorthodox theories and experimental substance abuse creates the malevolent Mr. Hyde (Marc Kudisch).

Coiling like a serpent behind Jekyllís back and peering over his shoulder, Hyde struggles to free himself as the good doctor disappears by descending into a floor trap. The transformation is a clever conceit.

White, Paper Millís resident matinee idol, who has captured the hearts of Millburnís audiences as Billy Bigelow, Gaylord Ravenal and the Red Shadow, among others, over the past decade has the more difficult role as the rather bland Dr. Jekyll, struggling with his monstrous alter-ego. His acting is intense.

An innately sensual Kudisch invests Hyde with a dark, brooding presence, which makes him the more interesting half of the character. There is no use of grotesque makeup. Equipped with an insidious, evil laugh, Kudisch creeps from the dark recesses of the stage like a preying panther.

The most appealing numbers are found in the gas lit streets and back alleys, where the tarts and vendors show "Two Sides of London," and the rowdy music hall sequences when the saucy Lily (Judy McLane) sharpens the pace with "Hot House Rose" and the invitational "Take What You Can Get."

McLane is grand as the lively and tragic Lily, and Glory Crampton is perfectly lovely as Jekyllís confused porcelain fiancee. Her rich soprano fills the stage. Televisionís American Movie Classic host, Bob Dorian, is on hand in the role of the skeptical medico, Dr. Lanyon.

Michael Ananiaís London set is appropriately gloomy and atmospheric. Scott A. Laneís beautiful period costumes are a pleasurable asset.

North Jersey Herald & News
Passaic, NJ
November 15, 1998

A new version of a great old theatrical idea has been spiffily and lavishly introduced here, as Paper Mill Playhouse favorites Richard White, Glory Crampton and Judy McLane appear in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."

This duo might qualify as a pair of first cousins to the musical now playing on Broadway, but they make up a very different show.

This is a really fun performance and it does all of the things Paper Mill does best. Thereís a deft, swift moving narrative of Victorian Englandís high and low life, with Dickensian flourishes, trap doors, chuffs of smoke, villainy, love and repression. And itís all tied up in glorious dance and musical numbers.

This version has a fine score by Phil Hall, and book and lyrics by David Levy and Leslie Eberhard. It was discovered by Robert Johanson, Paper Millís artistic director, at Bostonís Northshore Music Theater two years ago.

As in the case when Paper Mill produced the "Phantom" version by Arthur Kopit while Andrew Lloyd Webberís version was squeezing them in on Broadway, this "Jekyll" version gives us a chance to reassess a popular musical and enjoy a different treatment of key themes.

The difference in this "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is the other person on stage with Dr. Jekyll as he contends with his repressed, Victorian sobriety giving way to moral outrage and sexual derring-do as Mr. Hyde, his alter-ego, struggles to express his animal nature.

As the fine singer Richard White tries out his scientific experiment in order to further progress in mankindís social agenda, he makes himself the guinea pig.

Scenic designer Michael Anania, so gifted in grafting the needs of narrative to a utilitarian, but imaginative, stage set, has given us tiers of chemical outposts in Jekyllís darkened attic laboratory.

There are bright blues and greens spilling from vials of lethal potions devised by the repressed, but oh-so-handsome Victorian gentleman.

In one scene, all the glass is shattered to ominous crescendos of sound, as the lethal injection takes over the good doctorís spirit. Out of the shadows appears a virile, tempestuous devil of a fellow, sung wonderfully by Marc Kudisch, ready to play havoc with the doctorís soul.

Two Dr. Jekyllís make more the merrier in this fiendish romp through the back alleys and the glorious manor house parlors of Englandís have and have-not capital city.

Making the glitter of the social set on which Jekyll found himself on the fringe, is the pretty Glory Crampton as Amanda, whose faith in Jekyll never wavers. The seamy side of life is sexily embraced by a fabulous Judy McLane as the strumpet for whose favors the prim Jekyll so tightly represses himself.

This is a well cast, nicely moving gothic show that has great costumes by Scott A. Lane, fine orchestrations by Michael Gibson, adroit direction by Philip Wm. McKinley and first-rate singing the the cast led by McLane, White, Crampton, and Kudisch.

Go for a sinister romp through Victorian repression that will furnish a great theatrical trip.

Dateline Journal
Clifton, NJ
November 25, 1998

The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has entertained and fascinated readers and audiences for many years, and the current production on Broadway is evidence of that. But a new musical version of the classic story has just taken the stage at the Paper Mill Playhouse and it gives audiences two actors for the price of one in the lead role.

The result is a must-see production, even if you have seen the Broadway show, which I saw over the summer and loved. Paper Millís version runs through December 13.

Set in London in 1893, the plot finds Dr. Jekyll experimenting with a drug that unlocks the secret of manís dual nature. His research results in the creation of his alter ego, Edward Hyde. The production, with two actors sharing the lead role, is a fascinating version of the original story. Richard White portrays Dr. Jekyll while while Marc Kudisch assumes the role of Jekyllís alter ego, Mr. Hyde. Both actors are brilliant in their roles and are supported by a large cast that makes "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" a thoroughly wonderful and dynamic production.

In a supporting role, Glory Crampton is excellent as Amanda who is in love with Dr. Jekyll. Also deserving mention is Judy McLane who plays Lily, the dance hall girl who finds Mr. Hyde to be fascinating despite his rough treatment of her.

Bob Dorian is well placed as Amandaís father, Dr. Gerald Lanyon, who attempts to keep Dr. Jekyll away from his daughter, and there are a number of others in the cast who help create a thrilling scenario for this electrifying musical.

The team responsible for the Paper Mill production includes David Levy and Leslie Eberhard for book and lyrics, and Phil Hall for music. Directing and choreography are deftly handled by Philip Wm. McKinley, while Jim Coleman deserves recognition for the productionís musical direction. Roy Miller is associate producer.

Also working behind the scenes are Michael Anania for outstanding set design; Scott A. Lane, costume design; Kirk Bookman, lighting; Craig Cassidy, sound; Sean Flaningan, hair design; and Eric Sprosty, stage manager. Orchestrations are by Michael Gibson and J. Allen Suddeth serves as fight director.

In Theater
New York, NY
December 11, 1998

Perhaps never in history has one theatrical property stood up so well in comparison to another as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, now playing at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, does to the alternate musical adaptation of the same Robert Louis Stevenson tale that has been darkening Broadway for some time now. That Frank Wildhorn/Leslie Bricusse concoction, Jekyll & Hyde, has somehow gained legions of fans although itís nothing but a hodgepodge of syrupy pop ballads and semi-literate, Star Search-style anthems only tangentially related to the Stevenson story. Far less insulting to oneís intelligence is the version now on view at Paper Mill; for while the Jersey Jekyll is no masterpiece, its authors have had the good sense to honor basic principles of musical theater writing; i.e., the action is clearly laid out, and the well-placed, period-specific songs serve to advance the plot and/or illuminate the characters.

David Levy and Leslie Eberhardís book offers a gripping, concise retelling of the tale of Dr. Jekyll who, in pursuit of scientific knowledge, makes a monster of himself. The authorís most inspired idea was to have Jekyll and Hyde played by different actors, rather than have one man fling his hair back and forth in Robert Cuccioli-like fashion to indicate the transformation between the good guy and the baddie. This two-hand method allows for all kinds of neat staging, as when Hyde literally seems to claw his way out of Jekyllís body—with no reliance on special effects, mind you. It also heightens the conflict between the split personalities; in one thrilling scene, the erotically charged Hyde flings the horrified Jekyll toward a bed where a wench waits to be ravished.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a magnificent showcase for Mark Kudisch. Somewhat pigeonholed until now as dim-witted bimbo types, Kudisch here offers an electrifying characterization of the sexually rapacious Hyde, and he displays a gorgeous, full, ringing baritone to boot. The Paper Mill audience was quite overwhelmed by his unbridled talent and charisma; in the wake of such a performance, one canít help thinking of Kudisch as the rightful heir to all those fabulous John Raitt/Alfred Drake roles. (Heíd be an amazing Billy Bigelow in Carousel.) Judy McLane is effective as good-time girl Lily, the other woman in Jekyll/Hydeís life.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has been given a meticulous production, with no expense spared on sets, lighting, costumes, or the orchestra. Though director Philip Wm. McKinley might have been more helpful to White, Crampton, and McLane, he keeps the show focused and well-paced.

Due to some bizarre contractual agreement, the Levy/Eberhard/Hall show must be billed now and forever as "Not the Broadway Musical.í The proviso apparently scotched a scheduled recording—an ironic state of affairs, since the disclaimer in question (perhaps with some italics and an exclamation point added, e.g., "Not the Broadway Musical!") would be considered a major selling point by those of us who abhor the Wildhorn/ Bricusse version. Though a great Jekyll and Hyde musical is yet to be written, the one at Paper Mill is a damn sight closer to the mark than the show thatís still packing them in on Broadway.

Daily Record
Morris County, NJ
November 13, 1998

Following a pair of bright, bouncy musicals that lifted the hearts and minds of theatergoers. the path to entertainment took a dark turn last weekend at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn.

Coming on the heels of "The Will Rogers Follies" and "Gypsy," "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is a mood-swinger, to say the least, and may be a tough sell with some patrons, although the folks who attended Sunday nightís performance seemed pleased enough. Competing with a completely different and firmly established Broadway version of the same story is yet another hurdle this flawed, but strangely compelling, production must clear.

Right from the beginning, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" has at least one thing going for it: Robert Louis Stevensonís classic tale is etched into most of our minds, and for good reason. Itís a thriller, packed with action, suspense and the conflict between good and evil presented in its purest form: that of the conflict within oneís self.

Of course, thereís also the Frankensteinish moral of messing with God and nature, along with keen observations on the distinction between vice and virtue that was so much a part of the Victorian era it represents. And it lends itself to the musical stage format just as well as another grim tale of its time, "The Phantom of the Opera."

At the Paper Mill, director and choreographer Philip Wm. McKinley complements this dark tale with dramatic, moody lighting and a series of flats that deftly spin around to create outdoor and indoor scenes of lamp-lit London. Beggars, thieves and other down-and-out denizens of the London street are employed to move the sets, and remain onstage as the story unfolds, serving as a constant reminder that this is not a happy place, nor is it a happy story. It works, though: "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is visually compelling.

The acting, too, is appealing, as is the score, although at times, the words are muddled by the cockney chorus and an orchestra that occasionally is too loud. Other songs come and go too quickly before you get a chance to appreciate them, especially in the first act, which suffers in general from uneven pacing.

Part of this may be because "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" invests its entire identity on the original notion of having two actors, instead of one, play the titular alter egos, and the director seems in a hurry to get Hyde, played with devilish glee by Paper Mill newcomer Marc Kudisch, on stage.

Once he does, the plot which up to that point moved along too fast to absorb, grinds to a halt as the story struggles to develop the characters. Here, Jekyll, played by Paper Mill favorite Richard White (who, coincidentally, played the title role in the Paper Millís "alternate" musical adaptation of "The Phantom of the Opera"), becomes a quivering, disheveled mess. And you begin to wonder why his fiancee, the proper-but-plucky Amanda (Glory Crampton, another familiar face to Paper Mill regulars), stays by his side.

Unlike the novel, you see, Mr. Hyde seems to have appropriated Jekyllís personality and charm along with all that other nasty stuff. In the beginning, itís easy to see why Lily, a dance-hall dolly, fell so hard for him: arrogant and violent, but handsome, full of swagger and brimming with sexuality, Hyde is the kind of fellow parents hope their daughters donít fall for, but too often do. And Lily, proud and tough as she may be, also is one of those women that Dr. Laura writes books about, so you can imagine how that relationship turns out.

The "Dark Shadows" aspect of the story is only occasionally interrupted by a few half-hearted attempts at humor and a couple of fairly successful production numbers. But things pick up in the second act where the classic story advances at a more even pace, and tender moments alternate nicely with action scenes and a satisfying climax. Even Jekyll regains sympathy with a moving soliloquy that is Whiteís finest moment of the evening.

This production offers a unique perspective on a classic tale that deserves attention, and will probably win over a majority of those who give it a try.

Arts and Entertainment
November 19, 1998

A winning musical production, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"—not to be compared with the Broadway musical, "Jekyll and Hyde"—has Paper Mill Playhouse audiences sitting on the edge of their seats throughout the two acts. Unquestionably, this version of Robert Louis Stevensonís "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is stunning its audiences with thoroughly dramatic performances, fine musical numbers and the dark, foggy, gloomy sets of London in 1893, with the homeless people surrounding an exquisitely rich hall, rich people and all the fineries, ingeniously created by Michael Anania, set designer.

Most effective of all, however, is the unique idea of two characters portraying the two alter egos of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde. This has never been done before, and theatergoers may have wondered if two men playing the two different characters would work—and, believe this reviewer, it works!

Of course, thanks to such exceptionally talented actors as Richard White, a kind, gentle man, with a soft, musical voice and equally soft, perfect features, who plays Dr. Jekyll, a scientist and doctor who attempts to reveal manís dual nature, and in whose experimentations the monstrous Mr. Hyde, fiercely darkly played by Mark Kudisch, is created. When the two are on stage together, trying to release oneís personality from the other, the audience responds in a state of terror. Their interaction is incredibly good, and notwithstanding their encompassing struggle for good and evil in one soul, proves the actors are both unbelievably complementary to each other. On Broadway, In "Jekyll and Hyde," Robert Cuccioli alone transfers good and evil successfully. Spencer Tracy did it in the movie many years ago, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." But, then the movies can do the most unusual with camera tricks. What White and Kudisch do, as one, is exacting and extremely fascinating. Their interchanges are worth the price of admission.

For centuries, man has been fighting his alter ego. Even in the Talmud, which speaks of two sides of a personís personality, there are Yatzer Tov, with an inclination to do good, and Yatzer Rah, with an inclination to do bad, both having to balance the two personalities. Even Sigmund Freud has written volumes about ego and the superego.

So, when the Paper Mill brought forth this new musical—itís incredible enough to believe that this kind of story can be made into a musical—or two—with book and lyrics by David Levy and Leslie Eberhard and music by Phil Hall, one must shake oneís head in wonder. Additionally, it offers some of the theaterís finest performers, with some of the finest operatic voices—and Paper Mill favorites—in addition to White and Kudisch, Glory Crampton, who plays Amanda Lanyon, Dr. Jekyllís fiancee, and Judy McLane, who plays Lily Cummins, a music hall performer, who is extremely receptive to the wild and uncontrollable Mr. Hyde. There also is Bob Dorian, known to moviegoers as the host to American Movie Classics on cable, who is perfect in the role of Gerald Lanyon, Amandaís father.

Philip Wm. McKinley, who serves as director-choreographer, is familiar with "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," and worked on the premiere production at the Kansas City Starlight Theater and the North Shore Music Theater. In this production, he does some wondrous directing, particularly when the two alter egos clash, up and down dangerous steps, on stage itself, and the clever way he has of having the actors move the sets around without taking anything away from the drama of the moment.

The musical numbers set the atmosphere of the London of 1893, when in the first act, the company sings "Two Sides of London;" Jekyll and company sing "Under The Skin" in the Lanyon drawing room; the very emotionally effective "Rest Now, My Friend," sung by Jekyll, the Dying Man and Amanda, and the love shown between Amanda and Jekyll when they sing "In Your Eyes." When the scene changes, showing Jekyllís laboratory, the front door of Jekyllís home and Lanyonís study, Jekyll, Amanda and Lanyon sing, "Pushing Back the Sky."

McLaneís rendition of "Hot House Rose," and her dual number with White of "Stranger," are especially well done. The other numbers, "Speak My Heart," beautifully sung by Crampton; the frightening "Another Man," offered by White and Kudsich; "Life at the Bottom of the Glass," "Love Treats Us All The Same" and "Jekyllís Discovery," all tell the fascinating story in music. One of the outstanding songs in the first act is Kudischís melodic rendition of "I Am the Night."

The audience is swept up in the drama of the play, particularly in the second act, when the apprehension is evident in what is to come of the entire situation. Musical numbers continue to tell the story—such as "the Waltz Montage," "Once More," "Take What You Can Get," "A Fatherís Song," surprisingly well done by Dorian; "Tell Me itís Not True," "Jekyllís Soliloquy," and the two, scrambling personalities, Jekyll and Hyde, trying to be one, screaming "Voices Rushing Through My Head," are entirely dramatic.

Much credit for the success of this production must be given to Jim Coleman, musical director; costume designer, Scott A. Lane, and lighting designer, Kirk Bookman.

Still, more credit must go to the performers, particularly White and Kudisch, whose voices are absolutely remarkable, and their physicality on stage, as they nearly tear each other apart, is astounding. And speaking of physicality, McLane gets tossed about through the play, and comes away smelling of roses.

In fact, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," which could never have been made into a musical, was indeed made and made well—and miraculously comes away smelling of roses.

"The Item" of Millburn and Short Hills
November 12, 1998

"...Philip Wm. McKinley has directed and choreographed with pace and style. Michael Anania's staircased, platformed sets, based on a concept designed originally for the production of the show in Kansas City's Starlight Theatre and subtly lit here by Kirk Bookman, work wonderfully."

Worrall Newspaper
November 19, 1998

The chemistry works in 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'

A winning musical production, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"--not to be confused with the Broadway musical, "Jekyll and Hyde"--has Paper Mill Playhouse audiences sitting on the edge of their seats throughout the two acts. Unquestionably, this version of Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is stunning its audiences with thoroughly dramatic performances, fine musical numbers and the dark, foggy, gloomy sets of London in 1893, with the homeless people surrounding an exquisitely rich hall, rich people and all the fineries, ingeniously created by Michael Anania, set designer.

Most effective of all, however, is the unique idea of two characters portraying the two alter egos of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde. This has never been done before, and theatre-goers may have wondered if two men playing the two different characters would work--and believe this reviewer, it works!

Of course, thanks to such exceptionally talented actors as Richard White, a kind, gentle man, with a soft musical voice and equally soft, perfect features, who plays Dr. Jekyll, a scientist and doctor who attempts to reveal man's dual nature, and in whose experimentations, the monstrous Mr. Hyde--fiercely and darkly played by Marc Kudisch--is created. When the two are on stage together, trying to release one's personality from the other, the audience responds in a state of terror. Their interaction is incredibly good, and notwithstanding their encompassing struggle for good and evil in one soul, proves the actors are both unbelievably complementary to each other. What White and Kudisch do, as one, is exacting and extremely fascinating. Their interchanges are worth the price of admission.

For centuries, man has been fighting his alter ego. Even in the Talmud, which speaks of two sides to a person's personality, there are Yatzer Tov, with an inclination to do good, and Yatzer Rah, with an inclination to do bad, both having to balance the two personalities. Even Sigmund Freud has written volumes about ego and the superego.

So, when the Paper Mill brought forth this new musical--it's incredible enough to believe that this kind of story can be made into a musical--or two--with book and lyrics by David Levy and Leslie Eberhard and music by Phil Hall, one must shake one's head in wonder. Additionally, it offers some of the theater's finest performers, with some of the finest operatic voices--and Paper Mill favorites--in addition to White and Kudisch, Glory Crampton, who plays Amanda Lanyon, Dr. Jekyll's fiancee, and Judy McLane, who plays Lily Cummins, a music hall performer, who is extremely receptive to the wild and uncontrollable Mr. Hyde. There also is Bob Dorian, known to movie-goers as the host to American Movie Classics on cable, who is perfect in the role of Gerald Lanyon, Amanda's father.

Philip Wm. McKinley, who serves as director-choreographer, is familiar with "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," and worked on the premiere production at the Kansas City Starlight Theater and the North Shore Music Theatre. In this production, he does some wondrous directing, particularly when the two alter egos clash, up and down dangerous steps, on stage itself, and the clever way he has of having the actors move the sets around without taking anything away from the drama of the moment.

The musical numbers set the atmosphere of the London of 1893, when, in the first act, the company sings "Two Sides of London;" Jekyll and company sing "Under the Skin" in the Lanyon drawing room; the very emotionally effective "Rest Now, My Friend," sung by Jekyll, the Dying Man and Amanda, and the love shown between Amanda and Jekyll when they sing "In Your Eyes."

McLane's rendition of "Hot House Rose," and her dual number with White of "Stranger," are especially well-done. The other numbers, "Speak My Heart," beautifully sing by Crampton; the frightening "Another Man," offered by White and Kudisch, "Life at the Bottom of the Glass," "Love Treats Us All the Same, " and "Jekyll's Discovery," all tell the fascinating story in music. One of the outstanding songs in the first act is Kudisch's melodic rendition of "I Am the Night."

The audience is swept up in the drama of the play, particularly in the second act, when the apprehension is evident in what is to come of the entire situation. Musical numbers continue to tell the story - such as "Once More," "Take What You Can Get," "A Father's Song," surprisingly well-done by Dorian; "Tell Me It's Not True," "Jekyll's Soliloquy," and the two scrambling personalities, Jekyll and Hyde, trying to be one, screaming "Voices Rushing Through My Head," are entirely dramatic.

Much credit for the success of this production must be given to Jim Coleman, musical director; costume designer Scott A. Lane; and lighting designer Kirk Bookman.

Still, more credit must go to the performers, particularly White and Kudisch, whose voices are absolutely remarkable, and their physicality on stage, as they nearly tear each other apart, is astounding. And speaking of physicality, McLane gets tossed about throughout the play, and comes away smelling of roses.

In fact, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," which could never had been made into a musical, was indeed made and made well - and miraculously comes away smelling of roses.

Suburban News
November 18, 1998

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"--the David Levy, Leslie Eberhard and Phil Hall musical version of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson horror story is receiving high praise at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn through December 13. This interpretation shows a bit more color with a London Music Hall scene and does not have Hyde killing off the Hospital Board of Directors in a fit of revenge.

Dr. Jekyll pursues a theory that there are two sides to every personality--good and noble, dark and evil--as he sets out to probe with a chemical that evil exists in everybody. The mild-mannered Jekyll injects himself to become the manic Hyde pursuing and maiming Lily, a teasing songstress of the Music Hall. Director Philip Wm. McKinley has a large and wonderful cast to explore this 1893 shocking (although with a romantic feeling) episode that leads to the well-meaning doctor's demise. A magnificent and most-effective Michael Anania set has a clutter of seedy-twitchy characters to steer the scene changes. Give applause also to lovely period costuming by Scott C. Lane, surprising special effects, and Jim Coleman's musical direction.

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" has Richard White as the bespectacled Dr. Henry Jekyll and Marc Kudisch playing the alter-ego of rough Edward Hyde. Having two performers with exceptional singing voices play the characters provides an in-depth theatrical study. Richard White, a Paper Mill regular, is the gentle Jekyll adding many strong vocals. A bare-chested Marc Kudisch, making a Millburn debut enacts a menacing Hyde in an impressive manner, capturing the audience singing "I Am The Night." The interchange illusion of the dual personality is very effective with several scenes where the pair sing together.

Glory Crampton, as Jekyll's love interest Amanda, and Judy McLane, playing Lily (attracted to Hyde) reflect two sides of woman. Both display marvellous voices and an attractive appearance.

There have been many "Jekyll and Hyde" versions. A 1941 film had Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner. This edition at the Paper Mill is truly entertaining and rates an extended run.

The Citizen, Bugle, Lake Land News
November 11, 1998

"While not a show that conjures up the holiday season, it is different, well-done, and has a superb cast."

The Times
November 15, 1998

"...a magnificent production and an impressive cast. Sets by Michael Anania, lush costumes by Scott A. Lane, and lighting by Kirk Bookman are all first-rate."

Daily Record
November 13, 1998

"...It's a thriller, packed with action, suspense and the conflict between good and evil presented in its purest form: that of the conflict within one's self. At the Paper Mill, director and choreographer Philip Wm. McKinley complements this dark tale with dramatic, moody lighting and a series of flats that deftly spin around to create outdoor and indoor scenes of lamp-lit London. Beggars, thieves and other down-and-out denizens of the London streets are employed to move the sets, and remain onstage as the story unfolds, serving as a constant reminder that this is not a happy place, not is it a happy story. It works, though: "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is visually compelling. The acting, too, is appealing, as is the score...Jekyll regains sympathy with a moving soliloquy that is White's finest moment of the evening. This production offers a unique persepective on a classic tale that deserves attention.

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