David Hasselhoff, the singing star and hairy hunk from TV's "Baywatch," will be both harrowing and hairy when he steps into the title roles in Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway, beginning Oct. 17.
This will mark the Broadway debut of the 48-year-old actor producer internationally known for the syndicated eye-candy lifeguard series, "Baywatch" and "Baywatch Nights," and the action series, "Knight Rider." Hasselhoff's pop singing is a sensation in Europe, where his fans clamor for his concerts. Hasselhoff told talk show host Rosie O'Donnell (Oct. 19) that his interest in acting was sparked as a young child by seeing a live production of "Rumpelstiltskin."
Rocker Sebastian Bach shed the good-and-evil characters in the Frank Wildhorn-Leslie Bricusse tuner at the Plymouth Theatre the weekend of Oct. 13, after drawing in a new, less traditional audience — hard-rock fans. The rest of the cast are expected to continue in their roles through the fall.
The casting of Hasselhoff had been rumored for months. Pop singer and soap actor Jack Wagner was the previous star of the bloody show, which has a faithful legion of fans known as "Jekkies." After opening in 1997, the pulpy musical by lyricist librettist Bricusse and composer Wildhorn has yet to recoup its $7 million investment, but is nearing the goal, according to insiders, and remains an audience favorite. Robin Phillips directed the production, although its subsequent national tour was slightly retooled by others.
Beyond being known for the standout tune, "This Is the Moment," Jekyll & Hyde — drawn from the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson — is remembered for its much-parodied transformation of Dr. Jekyll to evil Mr. Hyde, which requires the actor to shake out a long mane of hair to suggest the character's chaotic nature. Wagner was wigged, Bach was not, Hasselhoff, who has curly hair, will be wigged. Oct. 31 has been marked as the official opening for Hasselhoff. On Oct. 4, Rob Evan, a past favorite in the roles, returned to the show to play matinees.
Hasselhoff appeared at the Plymouth Theatre box office Sept. 25 from noon to 2 PM in a promotional opportunity at which he mingled with fans and media.
The Plymouth Theatre is at 236 W. 45th St., between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. For ticket information, call (212) 239-6200.