Tale of good and evil takes Hilliard stage this weekend
By KEVIN CORVO
Published: Wednesday, July 9, 2008 2:08 PM EDT
The diabolical tale of the dual personalities of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde provide the script for the Hilliard Arts Council's summer musical.
Jekyll and Hyde will be performed Friday through Sunday, July 11-13, at the Performing Arts Center at Hilliard Davidson High School, 5100 Davidson Road.
It is the first time the community theater troupe has tackled the dark subject matter contained in the musical based on the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886, said director Robin Brenneman.
"It's very challenging, but (my husband) and I love the music," she said. "After The King and I, which is a wholesome story, we decided to do something a little edgier."
The Stevenson classic tells the story of a brilliant English physician whose father died from a mental illness. Convinced that a cure for mental illness lay in the separation of man's evil nature from his good nature, the doctor's experimentation unleashes his own murderous alter ego, Mr. Hyde, who induces panic and fear on the streets of 19th-century London.
"People who know the play love it," Brenneman said. "It is enormously popular in the theater community."
Brenneman said she and her husband, Ken, the musical director, broke a rule of thumb when selecting Jekyll and Hyde, as they had no idea who would play the lead role.
"Usually, you have an idea who you envision in the lead role," she said.
More than 70 people responded to a casting call for all the roles, and 25-year-old David Hammond of Gahanna was offered the complex lead role. It is his first production with the Hilliard Arts Council.
A native of Mansfield, Hammond came to Columbus to finish his senior year at Ohio State University.
Previously, he performed theater as an underclassman at Ohio State's Mansfield campus. He also has experience with Renaissance Theater and the Mansfield Playhouse.
The musical is "definitely a cautionary tale," said Hammond.
"(Jekyll) is trying to separate good from evil and prevent pain ... but in trying to do so, makes things even worse," he said.
One side of Dr. Jekyll's personality wants to save lives, but the other side is "sheer evil, greed and lust," Hammond said.
In a supporting role is 2005 Hilliard Davidson High School graduate Diana Zambrotta as Lucy, a "lady of the evening" whom both Jekyll and Hyde fancy.
"She is a prostitute, but doesn't want to be where she is and is fighting to move up," said Zambrotta, 20, a student at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, where she studies theater.
She has performed at the college and for the off-Broadway York Theater.
Zambrotta is home for the summer and available to participate in her fourth Hilliard Arts Council production. She most recently appeared in the cast of Evita.
Detroit native and Dublin resident Brooke Andres, 25, plays Emma, the fiancee of Dr. Jekyll.
"She is a very strong woman and even though he shuts her out, she stays by his side," said Andres.
Jekyll and Hyde is the first Hilliard Arts Council production for Andres, who learned about the opportunity while assisting her mother in The Pleasure Guild's performance of Annie at the Palace Theater.
Andres performs "Once Upon a Dream" and duets with Zambrotta on "In His Eyes," which are among the musical numbers in the lush, romantic pop score composed by Frank Wildhorn. Leslie Bricusse wrote the book and lyrics for Jekyll and Hyde.
Other supporting cast members in Jekyll and Hyde are Kurt Zielenbach of Hilliard as Sir Danvers, Emma's father; Kevin Doll of Upper Arlington as Jekyll's best friend, Utterson; and Jeff Meyers of Hilliard as Stride, Jekyll's rival for Emma's affections.
Scott Jones is the choreographer and Diana Vance is the technical director and set designer. Jan Woods and Sheila Hively are costume designers.
Jekyll and Hyde will be presented at 8 p.m. July 11 and 12, and at 3 p.m. July 13.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for senior citizens and students.
For further information, call 614-527-4407 or visit hillardartscouncil.org.
We also got a blurb in the Dispatch weekender!