By Kenneth Jones
09 Nov 2000
The production, which opened April 28, 1997, will have played 1,543 performances and 44 previews. It is the longest-running show ever at the Plymouth.
In recent days, the cast was told about the possibility of a Jan. 7 closing (which is the date current star David Hasselhoff's contract expires) but a spokesman told Playbill On-Line Nov. 9 producers were "actively seeking" a star to continue with the show into the traditionally slow January-February months. Producers in general have trouble selling long-running shows — indeed, many shows — in the harsh winter.
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.
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. By the afternoon of Nov. 9, no star had been found, and the official closing announcement was made.
The year 2001 is the first year since 1997 that there is no Wildhorn show announced for Broadway. During the run of Jekyll & Hyde, Wildhorn's The Civil War and The Scarlet Pimpernel opened and closed on Broadway. He is working on a number of new shows, including Havana, a vehicle for his wife, Linda Eder.
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 she is hoping 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.
Jekyll & Hyde also stars Coleen Sexton as Lucy, Andrea Rivette as Emma, George Merritt as Mr. Utterson and Barrie Ingham as Sir Danvers. The roles of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are played at Wednesday and Saturday matinees by Robert Evan. The production features Martin Van Treuren and Rebecca Spencer, with Whitney Allen, Juan Betancur, David Chaney, Sheri Cowart, Bill E. Dietrich, John Treacy Egan, Robert Jensen, Peter Johl, Douglas Ladnier, Stuart Marland, Brandi Chavonne Massey, Corinne Melancon, Kelli O'Hara, Brad Oscar, Joel Robertson, John Schiappa, Bonnie Schon, Craig Schulman, Jodi Stevens, Russell B. Warfield and Carmen Yurich.
Produced by SFX Theatrical Group and FOX Theatricals in association with Jerry Frankel and The Landmark Entertainment Group, Jekyll & Hyde was conceived for the stage by Steve Cuden and Frank Wildhorn. Designers are Robin Phillips with James Noone (scenic), Ann Curtis (costume), Beverly Emmons (lighting), Christina Poddubiuk (props and set dressing), Karl Richardson (sound). Choreography is by Joey Pizzi. Orchestrations are by Kim Scharnberg, musical supervision by Jeremy Roberts, musical direction by Jason Howland, vocal arrangements by Jason Howland and Ron Melrose and music coordination by John Miller. Jekyll & Hyde's special effects are by Gregory Meeh. Gary Gunas of SFX Theatrical Group is executive producer.
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). The show has yet to recoup its $7 million investment, but is nearing the goal, according to insiders, and remains an audience favorite.
Director Phillips is the Canadian director respected for his Stratford Festival productions and his reinvention of Aspects of Love for a Toronto run and subsequent tour. The Jekyll & Hyde national tour was not staged by Phillips.
Beyond being known for the standout tune, "This Is the Moment," Jekyll & Hyde 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 the weekend of Oct. 13, after drawing in a new, less traditional audience — hard-rock fans.
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.