Taking a grand musical theater piece and placing it into an intimate space can be a daunting task. While shows in the past have done this to nice effect (Chess, The Color Purple), it is not always an easy feat to manage. This summer the DOMA Theatre Company has chosen to attempt this sort of undertaking by mounting the 20-year-old musical Jekyll & Hyde on a stage that is more suited for intimate dramas than big production numbers. As impressive and honorable as this effort is, it frequently threatens to burst at the seams.
With music by Frank Wildhorn and book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, Jekyll and Hyde began as a concept piece in the late '80s. When it finally had its debut in the early '90s, it did so to mixed reviews, although it was still Tony-nominated. While the show certainly has memorable songs, the book is where its problems lay.
Opening with Jekyll (Chris Kerrigan) trying to understand the madness that inflicts his father, he faces a Board of Governors asking to take a patient at the mental asylum in hopes of using a potion he’s developed that will separate the madness from the man. He is (of course) denied this request and his dreams are shattered. Meanwhile, he is engaged to be married to one of the board members' daughters, Emma Carew (Amber Gildersleeve), and soon enough he is at his own engagement party. Having tunnel vision, Jekyll heads off to what can only be assumed is some sort of bachelor party at the local whorehouse. There he meets Lucy Harris (Cassandra Nuss), a sexy sinner with a heart of gold whom he takes a fancy to.