PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Jekyll & Hyde and Orphans — Hyde and Seek

By Michael Gioia
19 Apr 2013

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Linda Eder and Deborah Cox
Photo by Monica Simoes
Spotted in the corner of the pressroom — following a slew of pictures with the revival's stars — were a chatty Linda Eder and Robert Cuccioli, who created the roles of Lucy and Dr. Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde, respectively, on Broadway in 1997. As a decked-out Deborah Cox posed for pictures, Eder and Cuccioli gushed to about Jekyll & Hyde.

How did it feel for Eder to sit in the audience? "Surreal," she said. "I was just talking to Bob about that. You know, I suppose there are people who have been lucky enough to be in shows that were great to the point where they were able to have a revival, so maybe that's something that they're used to, but obviously, for me, [sitting through a revival of a show I was in] was a first-time thing… The show is very different. It's its own animal, but when things pop out — where a dialogue pops out that we did — I suddenly remember, 'Oh, yeah… That line.' It's this weird juxtaposition of [remembering] myself in the show and yet it being a brand-new show. I really don't know what to feel."

Cuccioli, who currently stars in Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and couldn't attend the opening-night performance, added, "I will be back to see it on one of my nights off. [Jekyll & Hyde] was a huge show for both Linda and I…"

Eder jumped in: "Yeah! … There's a whole generation of young theatre kids that grew up — this was their show — and now you meet them at stage doors, and they say, 'Hey, that was my show. That's what got me [interested in theatre] and made me want to do this.' It should be back."

Jekyll & Hyde is back — with a new feel and new arrangements of Wildhorn classics. "It dawned on me right in the middle of 'Someone Like You' that [Linda Eder] was here. It's such an iconic song," said Cox. "I got her blessing. She really loved our version of the show. That means the world to me because there's nothing more of an honor than someone who you admire, and who is like a mentor, and who is extremely amazing as a vocalist in her own right, who says that you did a great job. I'm happy with that."

"[Wildhorn] really wanted [us] to make it our own," she continued. "He made sure that the orchestrations and the instrumentation suited our voices and suited what we do… I didn't want to copy her. She had her own style and her own version and has her own legacy from the show, and I was just trying to do my own thing as well."

The man of the hour, Maroulis, said, "I think that's what's great about theatre — you don't want to see the same old production. You want to bring new life into it, and we've very much enjoyed doing that for this… I think I'm the only person to ever do this show eight times a week, but I feel great. They sort of catered the show to a lot of [our] strengths, and I'm very connected to the material, so investing [in the character] every night has been really great for me."

"Bob [Cuccioli] has been always a dear friend," he added, "and I'm so happy he's here."

"I did not want to do a revival," admitted Wildhorn. "I'm too young to do a revival, but I will do a re-imagination of it, and so Jeff did that, and the Nederlanders let us do that, which is wonderful. And then, as Constantine and Deborah and Teal and the rest [of the cast] came into our lives, we framed it around their talents, and I think that's what it is."

Celebrating with the cast on their opening night were Ashley Fink, Steve Kazee, Megan Hilty, Aaron Tveit, Mark Sanchez, Austin Howard, Frankie Grande, Jay Manuel, Tommy Tune, Steve & Maureen Van Zandt, Sierra Boggess, Lenny Venito, Kara Lindsay, LaVon Fisher-Wilson, Orfeh, Maurice Hines, Andy Richardson, Joshua Colley and Jerry Mitchell.

( staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)