Home News IUN spring theater opens season with ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’

IUN spring theater opens season with ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’


IUN spring theater opens season with ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’

Once upon a time, just around a decade ago to be exact, I attended the Chicago pre-Broadway run of a new and reimaged musical stage spin titled “Jekyll & Hyde.”

That run from yesteryear was March 12 to 24 in 2013 presented by Broadway in Chicago at Cadillac Palace Theatre as a musical telling starring “American Idol” star and Tony Award nominee Constantine Maroulis in the title role and singer Deborah Cox as his London forbidden love.

It was dark humor mixed with rock musical moments with forced romance, all intended to be veiled in suspense and thrill. As I explained in my column, it’s not easy to accomplish all as stated and manage it in just two hours. Fast-forward to April 2013 when “Jekyll & Hyde” opened on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre and closed May 12 after just 29 regular performances and 15 previews.

An earlier incarnation of this production had run for four years on Broadway from 1997 to 2001 and headed overseas for more dates all from the efforts of creators Tony and Grammy Award nominee Frank Wildhorn and Oscar and Grammy winner Leslie Bricusse.

Closer to home and ready to face new audiences a decade later in April 2024, the Indiana University Northwest School of the Arts has its non-musical production of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” the play version as adapted by Jeffery Hatcher from the novella “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

In Hatcher’s version of the story, he pits the alter-egos Jekyll and Hyde against one another.

“I’m trying to have some fun with the notion that Jekyll and Hyde play a cat-and-mouse game with each other and with the question of just who we should be rooting for,” New York Playwright Hatcher has explained in interviews.

Associate Professor of Theatre Mark Baer brought this production to the Theatre Northwest stage after directing the same script at Commonweal Theatre Company in Minnesota last summer. I’m told directing the same script twice in one year is a first for Baer.

“This production benefits from the deep knowledge of the play I gained from the previous production,” Baer said.

“But it’s remarkable how different two productions of the same script can be with a new cast, design team and performance space. This will be a whole new show.”

For this production, Theater Northwest has partnered with Associate Professor of Theatre Jason Resler of IU South Bend, who serves as costume designer.

“This is a great collaboration between the two regional campuses,” Baer said.

“It is our hope that IU Northwest School of the Arts can forge an even deeper partnership with IU South Bend for future projects, as we have successfully done with other theaters, like Gary’s West Side Theatre Guild.”

The cast of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” includes a mix of students and community members. The evil Mr. Hyde is portrayed by various cast members assigned to dual roles. IU Northwest students include theater majors Gabriel Ashbach (Sir Danvers Carew/Inspector/Drunkard/Porter/Hyde) and Alexander Eddy (Poole/Sanderson/Old Woman/Hyde), as well as fine arts student Dashiana Bingham (Richard Enfield/Student 1/Maid/Hyde). Community members include: Grant Fitch (Dr. Henry Jekyll); Emily Dixon (Elizabeth Jelkes/Child/Student 2); Brandon Hearn (Gabriel Utterson/Hyde); and Rodney Thornton (H.K. Lanyon/Police Doctor/Hyde).

The performance run of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is at the Arts & Sciences Mainstage Theatre on the IU Northwest campus at 7 p.m. April 4 and 5, 3 p.m. April 6, 7 p.m. April 12 and 3 p.m. April 13. Admission is $5 for the general public and students are free. Note, I’m told “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” has “themes of violence and sexuality that are suited for mature audiences. Parental discretion is advised.”

For tickets, visit https://northwest.iu.edu/theatre/forms/ticket-reservations.html.

Philip Potempa is a journalist, published author and the director of marketing at Theatre at the Center. He can be reached at [email protected].

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