Music: Frank Wildhorn
Lyrics: Leslie Bricusse
Reviewer: Lizzie Yoxall
With 25 years since the original launch of Jekyll and Hyde, this 2012 concept recording of the well know musical is the 5th U.S. version to be recorded since 1999. Although it would be easy to dismiss it as a show CD that musical theatre fans already own, it is worth noting that this particular album was recorded before the April opening of the 2013 Broadway production and showcases the new orchestration developed particularly for this revival.
Although this is a concept recording the first thing that any fan of Jekyll and Hyde may note is the number of songs that are missing when compared with the original Broadway cast recording from 1997. Although the number of songs has been cut, famous favorites such as ‘This is the Moment’, ‘In His Eyes’ and ‘Take Me As I Am’ have been included and still shine as the strong points of the album. Constantine Maroulis as ‘Jekyll/Hyde’, Teal Wicks as ‘Emma’ and Deborah Cox as ‘Lucy’ perform them with confidence, feeling and to a standard that any fan of this show would be happy with. The three voices equally matched in power and skill, compliment each other throughout the and are well suited to the characters in this more modern style.
Another change to the original is the introduction of the 3 newer songs which were later added for the touring productions of the show, although not written specifically for this revival. Of note among these is Cox’s rendition of ‘Bring On The Men’ which manages to be upbeat yet with an undercurrent of darkness and melancholy at the same time, conjuring the stage scene for the listener at home.
Through out the CD the original feel of the show is maintained particularly in the most recognsable songs but overall the orchestration is harder and sexier with tougher rock edge, a change that prevents the overall score from becoming dated. The modern feeling and style particularly come out in songs such as ‘Dangerous Game’ and ‘Confrontation’ in which Maroulis’ rock vocal ability really come to the forefront. ‘Girls of the Night’ also adds to the modern feel although this time as a pop style ballad which although very different in tone does not appear out of place and adds a softness and depth.
As with all shows with such a long history the creative team behind it have taken a risk updating the music, but in this incarnation have done a great job, treading the fine line between leaving the strongest of songs while bringing other arrangements up to date for a complete modern and current recording that will please original fans as much as those new to the show.