(Disclaimer – I was provided two complimentary tickets to Jekyll & Hyde by Des Moines Performing Arts)
What if you could remove the evil from every person? Would you do it?
That’s the question that haunts Dr. Henry Jekyll, played by Tony-nominated Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis in the soon-to-be Broadway show Jekyll & Hyde, which had it’s Des Moines premiere last night. Jekyll is close to a scientific breakthrough that would allow the evil that resides in every person to be separated and removed, creating a happier world, without anger and war. Jekyll’s work is stifled by a lack of support from his peers, forcing him to use himself as a test subject when no others can be found.
Jekyll meets Lucy, played by the Grammy-nominated R&B singer Deborah Cox, while out for his bachelor party at a gentleman’s club. Jekyll shows Lucy a side of humanity that she is not used to seeing, so she is instantly drawn to him. Meanwhile, Jekyll is preparing for his wedding to Emma, played beautifully by Teal Wicks.
We see the transformation from Dr. Jekyll to the murderous Edward Hyde as Jekyll’s experiments on himself take an unexpected turn. While the obsessed Jekyll tries to keep his relationship together with Emma, Lucy is forced to deal with the unpredictable and dangerous Hyde.
The real star of the show is the vocal ability of the stars. We all knew that Constantine was a great singer after his previous appearances in Rent and the hugely popular Rock of Ages. Deborah Cox is well known for her 90s mega hit “Nobody is Supposed to Be Here.” Not only is she still beautiful, but Cox still sings flawlessly. This show would be a vocal powerhouse with just the two main stars, but a great surprise is found in Teal Wicks’ performance as Emma. Having previously played Elphaba in Wicked, it should come as no surprise that Wicks’ is also one of the best singers in the production.
Jekyll & Hyde is certainly a dark show. It deals with obsession, lust, and murder throughout. It’s not a show from which you should be expecting a tidy, happy ending. In the end, Jekyll & Hyde is a very tragic story about a man who so wanted to help the world, but ended up destroying everything he cared for instead. Dark, sinister, and one of the best vocal performances you’ll see at the Des Moines Civic Center this season.
Jekyll & Hyde runs through Sunday at the Des Moines Civic Center, part of the Des Moines Performing Arts