“Jekyll & Hyde” has a long and distinguished history. A hit Broadway musical that originally opened at the Alley Theatre in Houston in 1990, it has the distinction of having its music recorded and finding fans before it got to Broadway in 1995.
Frank Wildhorn, a multi-Tony and Grammy nominee, is the genius behind the musical, which returns to the Providence Performing Arts Center January 1-6. Wildhorn has the distinction of being the first American composer in 22 years to have had three shows running on Broadway simultaneously (“Jeykll & Hyde,” “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and “The Civil War”).
“‘Jekyll & Hyde’ is the gift that keeps giving,” Wildhorn told me from his home in New York City. “It is currently having its rebirth around the country and in a number of international productions. We’re very big in Japan and South Korea.”
“The story transcends time and language, no matter what culture it is presented in,” he continued. “The dark story of a bipolar man was actually conceived when I was a student at USC back in 1978. Its first reading was done by John Houseman.”
Wildhorn explained the development of the “concept recording,” where the score was actually recorded before the show was brought to Broadway.
“Johnny Mathis, The Moody Blues, Sammy Davis Jr. and a number of other popular singers recorded many of the songs,” he said. “‘This is the Moment’ was played at the 2002 Winter Olympics and President Clinton’s inauguration. The combination of the theatre and recording industries, both traditionally with different mind-sets, is amazing. ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ closed the divide.”
Frank won’t be in Providence for the opening of the show, which is on its way back to Broadway, but two recognizable stars will be. American Idol star and Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis and Grammy Award nominee and R & B superstar Deborah Cox play the star-crossed lovers in the dark and dangerous adaptation of the classic tale.
“Jekyll & Hyde is at the Providence Performing Arts Center January 1-6. What a way to start the New Year. Call 421-ARTS for reservations.