Wednesday, October 14, 2015

[Jekyll and Hyde] AVM Blog Party -- Day Two


Day Two: A Musical You have a Love/Hate relationship with.

"There are two sides to each of us. Good and evil, compassion and hate..."

This is another musical that I've known for a really long time. My sisters were all into the whole Musical thing, so I heard a lot of different musicals growing up, at least bits and pieces of them. I don't think I heard Jekyll and Hyde all the way through until I was in high-school. But I'd heard songs from it before, like This is the Moment and Take Me as I am. 

Most of my love for this particular musical is because we own the Original Concept Recording (big shocker, right?) And Anthony Warlow plays Jekyll/Hyde. Anthony Warlow is one of my favorite Broadway Performers ever. He is a phenomenal actor and his voice is beautiful. The way he portrays both Jekyll and Hyde is absolutely perfect. Jekyll is reserved, logical, full of hope and ambition. Hyde on the other hand.... Hyde is twisted and horrible and his voice is terrifying.


The Musical itself is really dark. It's about the evil inside the human soul and what happens if that evil goes unchecked and is allowed to run wild. It is about a man who went too far, a man who tried to change nature, something only God can do. He had the best intentions but they backfired and everything came crashing down around him.

(Just so you know: For the most part, I don't know the actors in the images I use for this post. If the pictures look good I will put them up, but I probably won't know where they're from. )

Jekyll is a scientist wanted to help mankind. He created a serum that, in theory, could separate good and evil. He wanted to stop hatred, malice and cruelty. He wanted to bring beauty and peace into the world. If the evil could be taken out of man, no one would do wrong anymore. Earth would be a second paradise where men lived in harmony with each other. If he could take the 'madness' out of people, he could also help those who had been struck with mental illness, maybe even cure them. Or so he thought. None of these are bad things in themselves, but it is dangerous to play with good and evil and the very nature of things as God put them into place.

I know my fate is yours to choose
But if they win, the world would lose
I am on the brink of great success!

Jekyll's project was voted down, but he refused to give up on his dream. He was desperate for success and decided to test the theory on himself. He took the serum and he waited.

The serum went wrong and instead of taking away the evil, Jekyll was viciously split in half. One side of him was good - one side of him was still Jekyll. The other side however was a dark, twisted mirror of himself, a man called Mr. Hyde. The second Hyde is introduced everything starts to go wrong.

"Bad is Good and Good is Bad!"


I'll start with the things I don't like.

1.) The musical has some "ladies of the evening." They aren't a huge part of the story until after Hyde shows up, but they're still there. The songs they have are pretty sleazy. If I listen to the soundtrack I usually skip them, I don't know how the scenes are if they're done professionally, like, on Broadway. As far as I know, nothing actually happens but the scenes with the Ladies are very suggestive and seductive, and I don't like them. I've only seen two productions of Jekyll and Hyde live, one by a Community College and one by a High-school. Both were a filmed production and I skipped all the scenes with the Ladies. They're just awkward and when Hyde comes out they're worse, because Hyde is a pervert. He takes a special fancy to one particular girl and for the rest of the musical he doesn't leave her alone. They have a couple creepy songs together, and while nothing actually happens it is very seductive, and depending on who the Directs the production, the scene could be cleaner or dirtier.

2.) Hyde is a pervert and he freaks me out.

3.) There are swear words in the musical. The swearing includes blaspheme/cursing. (like the bad version of gosh-darn-it.)

4.) I am not wildly fond of Lucy. She is one of the Ladies.I feel bad for her but she had problems. She's the girl Hyde likes. I hated that too because Jekyll is engaged, and Hyde is doing his thing without Jekyll knowing, which makes it creepy and weird. Also, because of what Hyde does, Jekyll feels a strange pull toward Lucy and I didn't like that either.

5.) There is a Bishop who is a pervert. I've heard he wasn't like that in the Original Recording, but in the newer production he is and it's not good. He never does anything, but you get the idea.

6.) I really don't like the ending.

Things I like:

1.) Jekyll is a really good character. He sees beauty in everything and all he wants to do is highlight that beauty and make it perfect. He wants to stop evil, he wants to make the world a better place. He started this whole thing because his dad was mentally ill and he wanted to help him. His father is the motivation behind his work, and that is what drives him to think of others in the same position, people who just need help. He wants to save people who are lost, pull people away from sin. Essentially, he wants to save souls. I don't think he saw it as "Playing God." though many people warned him about that. He only saw it as helping humanity be better. In fact, he often prayed to God to aid him.

2.) I really like the faith aspect that comes into the story. I like how the story shows that there are some things that are best left to God and God alone. Humans don't have all the answers. We're not supposed to. The Nature of man's soul is something that shouldn't be toyed with and I really liked that moral, even though it hard to witness.


3.) Jekyll has a best friend, John, who is his confidante and support throughout the musical. I love John. John is an incredible person and the friendship he has with Jekyll hurts me so much. He is the first to see Jekyll losing himself in the darkness of Hyde and he is the first to step up and try to help him. He is there through it all and he does everything he can do aid Jekyll, even when Jekyll refuses to explain or help him understand what's really happening. (Hence the reason I hate the ending.)


4.) I really like Lisa. (she is Emma in the new version, but whatever.) Lisa is Jekyll's fiance. She is a good female character and I like how she is with Jekyll. She is loyal to him, even when she thinks he might be cheating on her. She stays true to him when he locks himself up with his work and won't come out for weeks. She is strong and brave and kind and I really like her. Their story is really sad too. Like, when things are at their worst Jekyll starts calling Lisa's name and it is like a knife in your chest because she is literally keeping him human. It hurts folks.

"You know who I am. Take me as I am..."


5.) The music is absolutely fabulous. I love it when musicals have those epic numbers where like, everyone starts singing at the same time, and there are all these different harmonies and lyrics going on, and the music crescendos and grows, and it's just beautiful and thrilling.... I love that. Those are the parts in a musical that hook me. Ensemble Numbers are the greatest! And Jekyll and Hyde has a lot of good Ensamble Numbers. Fascade, Murder, Murder! His Work and Nothing More... They have incredible harmonies and they are sooooo much fun to sing with!

6.) I love all the actors who sing in the Original Concept Recording. Even Lisa is pretty good, which is a big thing since female singers tend to be kind of annoying. John is fabulous. As for Jekyll/Hyde, Anthony Warlow sings him so of course he is fabulous! He does this amazing thing with his voice when he switches between the Good and Evil and it is the most terrifying, fascinating thing you will ever hear. He is gentle and light and suddenly his voice shifts and turns thick and gravelly, and now he is Hyde and he sounds evil. ITS SO COOL! Just listen to him....

The Transformation: (When he first tries the serum...)



The Confrontation: (when Jekyll realizes what he's done and confronts Hyde.)




Do you hear how fabulous this man is? It is like he is two different people, it is so freakin' cool. He's a very talented person to pull that off, I tell ya'. Not many people can do something like that.

Basically I listen to the musical for Anthony Warlow.  I haven't really watched a production that is more slanted toward the newer score. I've heard the Concept is a lot better though, and Anthony Warlow is the best Jekyll/Hyde. I love him and I wish they had put him on Broadway. When the Musical actually hit the stage they re-cast it, and I did not like the new Jekyll/Hyde. His name was David Hasselhoff and he was so not Anthony Warlow. He was just...no.

Actually, I've heard that they changed a lot about Jekyll and Hyde since the Anthony Warlow played in it. I heard it was tweaked so now the music and the story isn't all that good. It's a lot more sleazy and dark and dirty. This makes me sad because, despite it's flaws, Jekyll and Hyde is one of my favorite musicals, at least in it's original form. It would have been my second favorite after Phantom of the Opera if the ending had been better. But the end is depressing, *spoilers ahead.*

Jekyll spends the second half of the musical trying to get red of the Insane Mr. Hyde. He finally got a serum that will work against him and put his good and evil back together. Basically, it will fix him so there will be no more Hyde, just Jekyll. The stupid serum doesn't work though, and on Jekyll's Wedding Day Hyde surfaces. He goes nuts at the reception and attacks a bunch of the guests, then grabs Lisa around the throat. Lisa tells Jekyll that she knows he is in there and she knows he can fight this. Her voice breaks through Hyde's mad frenzy and for a moment Jekyll gets control again. He turns to John and begs his best friend to shoot him before it's too late. Earlier in the musical he had made John promise to stop "Hyde" if it was ever necessary and now he begs him to hold up that promise. Kill Hyde before he gets control again! In the Original Recording John can't make himself pull the trigger. Jekyll asks him to forgive him, and runs forward, forcing John to shoot. In the newer production John had a sword which Jekyll throws himself on. Either way, it is horrible and painful and I hate it. And then Lisa holds him in her arms as he dies, and he whispers her name "Lisa..." first as Hyde, then, softly, as Jekyll. He died himself.

IT. HURT. Anthony Warlow tears your heart out and stomps on it.

*End spoilers*

Anyhoosel, that is my post for the day. Have you ever heard Jekyll and Hyde? What are your thoughts on it? Do you like Anthony Warlow? (If you don't I am worried about you.) What is a Musical that you have a love/hate relationship with?


*swings around cape and leaps off stage*




Bella

5 comments:

  1. Slight bias here because Anthony is Australian like me.. but he's just SO incredible!! I love him in J&H too although it's a very very sad ending *sniffs* but for me the point when I sob after listening to him is the "Christine I loooove youu" in Phantom..Oh man that was so sad! Have you heard him in The Secret-oh wait I rememebr you mentioned that in your previous post. xD We have to study J&H in class and I had to resist everything from going "Thissss ISSSSSSSSSS the MOMENT!" Hehe Great post! I'll get my first one up this weekend somtime?
    ~Ev

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    1. Anthony Warlow is just brilliant! I listened to him in "Secret Garden," and I was like "HE IS SUCH A SAD ARCHIE!!!!!!" He just has a *thing* you don't get with performers very often. He's very special.

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  2. I'm listening to the soundtrack of Jekyll and Hyde right now, and I have mixed feelings about it (after I said in my post that mixed feelings about musicals are rare, haha). The music is amazing, and I love how it mirrors the tone of the story, it has a dark feel to it, though not overwhelmingly so. It really is tragic how Jekyll was trying to do the right thing but went about it the wrong way. That said, I wonder if some of those songs had to be so explicit? I didn't even finish some of them. :-/ But there is a lot of food for thought in this musical, and I always like that.

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    1. Jekyll and Hyde is definitely a hard sort of musical to listen to. I love it but I also kind of hate it, and when I recommend it I'm like "Oh yeah, here are th songs to skip... actually, just listen to it with me. It's better like that." I love Anthony Warlow as Jekyll/Hyde though, so I listen to it when I feel like I am have those kind of FEELS. It's very compelling.

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    2. Anthony Warlow is *fabulous* on the soundtrack!

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