The producers of Broadway's long-running Jekyll & Hyde have informed the company there's a chance the gothic tuner may shutter in January 2001, a period when legit business traditionally slumps, if a star cannot be found for the bloody lead role(s).
TV actor and singing star David Hasselhoff joined the company of the gothic tuner Oct. 17, but his contract ends Jan. 7, 2001, the start of that chilly period when tourists don't like to brave the winter air of Manhattan.
Producers are "actively looking" for a name replacement that will lure folks to the Plymouth Theatre, according to a spokesman. Names such as Donny Osmond, Paul Stanley and David Bowie have been reported as being on the wish list of SFX Theatrical Group associate producer Heather Hamilton.
"The company has been told because they don't have anyone [signed] yet," said spokesman Richard Kornberg, "but they're still looking."
Osmond, coincidentally or not, recorded "This Is the Moment," the major anthem from Jekyll & Hyde, for his new Broadway album, expected in February 2001. According to the Oct. 26 issue of Time Out New York, Osmond is a dream candidate of SFX Theatrical Group associate producer Hamilton, who previously wooed soap star Jack Wagner and rocker Sebastian Bach to play the dual roles personifying good and evil.
The magazine reported Hamilton hopes for Osmond (late of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), rocker David Bowie and KISS singer Paul Stanley (late of Toronto's The Phantom of the Opera) to one day take the role in the show.
The Frank Wildhorn-Leslie Bricusse gothic horror tuner at the Plymouth Theatre welcomed Hasselhoff (of TV's "Baywatch" and "Knight Rider") Oct. 17 (with an opening night for him of Oct. 31). 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 (the Canadian director respected for his Stratford Festival productions and his reinvention of Aspects of Love for a Toronto run and subsequent tour) directed Jekyll & Hyde, 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, is wigged.
Hasselhoff is making his Broadway debut. He is 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." On Oct. 4, Rob Evan, a past favorite in the roles, returned to the show to play matinees.
The Plymouth Theatre is at 236 W. 45th St., between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. For ticket information, call (212) 239-6200.