By April Pressel Robert Viagas
29 May 1996
Robin Phillips has been chosen as director of Jekyll & Hyde the musical that toured the U.S. in 1995-96 and is now scheduled to come to Broadway in spring 1997, producer Gary Gunas has told Playbill On-Line.
A native of the U.K. and a longtime Canada resident, Phillips has staged shows in New York, Canada, Britain and on the road in the U.S. Some of his best-known shows include a well-reviewed Canadian-based national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Aspects of Love
Gunas, executive producer of PACE Theatrical Group told Playbill On-Line that Phillips will restage Jekyll & Hyde for Broadway. The production now is scheduled to go into rehearsal in January of 1997 with Linda Eder and Robert Cuccioli returning in the leads. Gunas said the show may play a tryout engagement at the Ordway Theatre in St. Paul, near Eder's home town of Minneapolis, though contracts have not yet been signed. The show would then open on Broadway in spring 1997 at a theatre to be announced.
The news will cheer fans of the Frank Wildhorn/Leslie Bricusse mega-musical, which toured the U.S. during 1995-96, but which gave its last scheduled performance at the Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore April 7.
The show had been scheduled to go directly from Baltimore to New York previews, but a spring booking jam left no suitable theatre available on Broadway.
The show, based on the Robert Louis Stevenson novel about the gentle, humane Dr. Jekyll whose evil side emerges in the person of Mr. Hyde when he drinks a secret potion.
Phillips is the former artistic director of the Stratford Festival in Canada (1974-1980), and was one of six celebrity associate directors (along with Woody Allen, Edward Albee and others) who tried to get Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre back on its feet in the late 1970s.
Phillips was the second of three directors at the helm of a 1988 pre-Broadway tryout tour of Macbeth with Christopher Plummer and Glenda Jackson. He succeeded Kenneth Frankel and was eventually replaced by Zoe Caldwell.
Phillips replaces director Gregory Boyd, who resigned Feb. 20. Boyd, who is artistic director of Houston's Alley Theatre, said he needed to devote more time to the Alley, which is preparing for its 50th anniversary season. Boyd has restaged the musical three times during its development process, and said "I'm pretty happy with the show," but acknowledged that it would have to be restaged yet again for Broadway.