Jekyll and Hyde

I first encountered the musical Jekyll and Hyde a few years ago when it came to Ball State. I’d never heard of it (aside from the original Robert Louis Stevenson book, of course) but I’ve always been drawn to demented tragedies so I went. I really really liked it. I liked its dark, twisted music and themes. I pulled out my soundtrack the other day and have been listening to it, and though the story is still quite compelling, I’m reminded of its definite flaws.

First, some of the lyrics are just ridiculously bad. Not all of them, mind you, but there are a several phrases that sacrifice flow for the sake of rhyme and end up sounding really awkward. And maybe it’s just the singers taking too much liberty with the tempo, but sometimes it sounds like there are just too many words for the number of notes allotted them. Plus, I would have liked the composer to have spent just a couple more months writing two or three more songs so “Facade” doesn’t have to be reprised four times. No, I’m not exaggerating.

But you know what makes it all worth it? Not the big numbers like “Good’n’Evil” or sensuous ballads like “In His Eyes” or even the one song people have actually heard, “This is the Moment.” No, it’s the second-to-last song in the entire show that gets me every time: “Confrontation.” Here, Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde finally talk to each other in a kind of duet…all sung by one man, of course. Through lighting tricks, music cues, and of course excellent acting, it almost seems like two men arguing instead of one wrestling with his inner demons. It’s a truly brilliant piece and makes me wish the rest of the show could have lived up to it.

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