Riverwalk Theatre seems to relish the challenge of producing large-scale musicals in its modest space. The current production of “Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical” is no exception.
Director Tom Ferris assembled a top-notch production team to wedge the Broadway spectacle into the theater, beginning with musical director extraordinaire John Dale Smith.
Ashley Hampton’s elaborate and lush costumes are a nice juxtaposition to Ferris’ own minimal set.
Ferris also casts talented vocalists, including recent Michigan transplant Kameron Going as Jekyll and Hyde. Going has the perfect look for the era, as well as the pipes and stamina to carry him through the long show. Kelley Lofton, as Jeckyll's fiancé, and Sally Hecksel, as doomed prostitute Lucy, show off their vocal prowess throughout, but reach a pinnacle in their duet “In His Eyes.”
Although the cast and crew do their best to present a quality production, the script is flawed. The show tries to work in too many themes during its bloated running time, scattering its attention between themes of hypocrisy, ethics, the nature of mankind and love. The horrific nature of the source material has been too heavily altered to focus on a love triangle that defies credibility.
It is worth the price of admission to see Hecksel and the ensemble celebrate hedonism during “Bring on the Men.” Utilizing every inch of her commanding stature, Laura Croff is magnetic as the Madame Nellie, embracing the carnality of her role with gusto.
While the play is not quite as scary as previous adaptations of the story, the final scene between Hyde and Lucy tops any upcoming Halloween house of horror experience.
“Jekyll & Hyde” Sept. 13-16
Thursday, 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday 2 p.m. Riverwalk Theatre 228 Museum Drive, Lansing $24 for adults, $20 for seniors, military, and students, $12 for children (517) 482-5700 www.riverwalktheatre.com