The cast -- minus one important player -- of Broadway's Jekyll & Hyde got together Tuesday, July 29, at posh Ruth's Chris Steak House in New York's Rockefeller Center to celebrate the launch of the show's original cast album on Atlantic Theatre.
Earlier, J&H presented a special matinee for 1,079 high school students from New York's five boroughs, so the Tuesday night performance had been canceled weeks in advance.
In attendance to meet the media at the CD launch were Robert Cuccioli, who was Tony-nominated for his portrayal of dueling alter egos; Christiane Noll, Jekyll's love interest, Emma; Barrie Ingham, who plays her father, Sir Danvers (he came with his dog), and Robert Evan, who plays Jekyll/Hyde at Wednesday and Saturday matinees.
Missing was Linda Eder, the acclaimed singer who plays Hyde's love obsession, Lucy, who missed the special Tuesday matinee due to illness. Leslie Bricusse, who wrote J&H book and lyrics, was in France working on his stage adaptation of Doctor Dolittle, which will is scheduled to premiere in early 1998 at London's Apollo Theatre.
Gary Gunas, executive vice president of PACE Theatrical Group, co-producer of the musical, introduced composer Frank Wildhorn, who's currently at work on The Scarlet Pimpernel, which opens in the fall at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre. Gunas got a rousing bit of applause from the cast and crew when he referred to J&H as "the little musical that could, or in our case the big, noisy engine that could."
He announced plans for a national tour of the Broadway production for the 1998-99 tour season that would begin in October, 1998. J&H has toured extensively since its second Houston production at Theatre Under the Stars in January, 1995. J&H's world premiere was also in Houston, in May, 1990, at the Alley Theatre.
Discussions are underway, Gunas said, with potential producting partners for a London production in 1998.
In addition, Martha Ashton, a spokesperson for Wildhorn, told Playbill On-Line, there are several independent overseas productions in J&Hes future. The first production abroad will open in Antwerp, Belgium Sept. 18, 1997 at the Royal Ballet of Flanders theatre, where Linda LePomme is artistic director. J&H will open in Melbourne, Australia Oct. 25, 1997 at Her Majesty's Theatre, produced by Stewart and Patricia Macpherson.
Aston reported that in the winter or spring, 1998, J&H would open in Bremen, Germany iin a new theatre, specially constructed for the productioni by Neue Metropol Lizenzen und Projekte. The producers are Frank Buecheler and Lutz Jarosch. Further into 1998, the musical will open in Stockholm and Copenhagen.
Speaking of J&H's positive audience word of mouth, which he said has given it a comfortable niche on Broadway, Gunas got a laugh when he quoted a recent New York Post story in which Broadway producer Stewart Lane said, "Nobody likes Jekyll & Hyde but the audiences." Added Gunas, "And that's really what it's all about!"
Peter Galvin, vice president of product development for Atlantic, reported that since the debut of J&Hes cast CD on July 15, in excess of 5,000 copies have been sold in New York City outlets. He noted that Eder's high profile with media appearances in support of her Atlantic solo album "It's Time" and her New York City concert debut July 17 at the Supper Club boosted sales.
Part of Atlantic's media blitz to promote the show's cast album will be an EPK (electronic press kit with video clips) mailing to all news media with audio visual capability and special in-store posters. Atlantic is planning a CD signing at a major New York music retailer but a date has not been set.
According to a press representative on the musical, J&H has already benefited from a promotion with the Greater New York area A&P supermarkets. The show is currently in the midst of a promotion with New Jersey Transit ("Ride Free To See Jekyll & Hyde"). The J&H spokesman reported that surveys have show that a large portion of J&H's audience comes from New Jersey.