Constantine Maroulis Takes the Two Faces of Jekyll and Hyde on the Road
By Sheryl Flatow
Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis found himself drawing on personal experience to approach the dual role in the revised revival of the Broadway-bound musical thriller Jekyll and Hyde.
For Constantine Maroulis, this could very well be the moment.
Maroulis, who shot to fame on "American Idol" and received a 2009 Tony Award nomination for his work in Rock of Ages, is portraying the title roles in the reconceived, Broadway-bound production of the musical Jekyll & Hyde.
And though this is his first time carrying a show, the supremely confident Maroulis is neither daunted by the responsibility or by the challenge of playing dual roles.
"I try not to think of one part as more difficult than the next," he said at the start of rehearsals late in the summer. "I know this is going to be a big role, or roles. But I feel you should approach every role with the passion and desire to find everything you need to find as an actor and artist. That's how I approached Rock of Ages, and that's how I'd approach Hamlet, which I'd love to do one day. I go about everything the same way."
Jekyll & Hyde, by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse, previews in La Mirada, CA, in September before kicking off its 25-week national tour in San Diego on Oct. 2. It's set to arrive on Broadway next spring. The musical co-stars Deborah Cox and is directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun. The original production opened on Broadway in 1997 and was critically disparaged, but developed a huge following and had a solid run of 1,543 performances.
The show has since become an international phenomenon, with more than 35 productions worldwide. This latest version features a revised script, a slightly different song list, new orchestrations and a new physical production.
"Any time you have a title with such history and recognition, it's important to take a fresh look at it," says Maroulis. "I'm a huge fan of Frank's music, but oddly enough I've never seen Jekyll & Hyde. Neither has Jeff. And I think that's a nice place to start. Because I've never seen anyone do the part before, and because we're taking such a fresh look at the material, I feel like I'm creating a new role. We feel we have a really lean and mean script. The cast is amazing, and Jeff is a very meticulous, detail-oriented director. Our approach is very grounded and very real, not over the top."
In the musical, Dr. Henry Jekyll tries to find a cure for his father's mental illness by conducting an experiment that he says will be able to isolate and separate the warring natures of good and evil present in every man. He uses himself as a test case, and in so doing unleashes his evil doppelgänger, Edward Hyde. Maroulis says he didn't have to look further than his own life to find a way into Jekyll's mind and heart.
"My father's been sick a long time," he says. "He's hanging in there, but he's not the same man he used to be. So I'm actually going through a lot of the same things that Henry Jekyll is going through. I'm someone who's had some success and I'm at a good place in my life, but I can't do anything to help my father. So this is quite personal to me. I go into it with one, simple objective: to save my father's life. The stakes are that high. For me it all starts in that earnest place, and grows from there.
"I feel like people are going to be very moved by the show," Maroulis continues. "I don't think there's been a definitive production anywhere in the world, and I feel this has the potential to be the one. Now it's up to me to deliver the goods."
(This feature appears in the September 2012 subscription issue of Playbill magazine.)
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