Leading Australian theatre producer John Frost and Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini today announced they will present a new version of the acclaimed musical thriller Jekyll and Hyde in Australia commencing in late 2015, directed by Christopher Renshaw (The King and I, Legends!) and designed by Gabriela Tylesova (Cosi Fan Tutte, Love Never Dies).
Based on the novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Jekyll and Hyde was originally conceived for the stage by Frank Wildhorn and Steve Cuden, and features music by Wildhorn, a book by Leslie Bricusse and lyrics by Wildhorn, Bricusse and Cuden. Songs from the musical include Someone Like You, In His Eyes and the glorious anthem This is the Moment, which has been covered over 1,000 times by numerous artists from Anthony Warlow and Michael Ball, to a duet between Susan Boyle and Donny Osmond, and sung twice at the Olympics.
Leslie Bricusse has written such musical hits as Stop the World – I Want to Get Off, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd (all with Anthony Newley), Victor/Victoria (film with Henry Mancini as well as the 1995 Broadway adaptation) and Doctor Dolittle. Frank Wildhorn’s musical theatre credits include Cyrano de Bergerac, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Scarlett Pimpernel, and his compositions include the international number one hit song for Whitney Houston, Where Do Broken Hearts Go.
Following a world premiere run in Houston, Texas the musical embarked on a US national tour prior to its Broadway debut in 1997, where it played a massive 1500 performances. Jekyll and Hyde was nominated for four Tony Awards including Best Book of a Musical (Leslie Bricusse) and Best Actor in a Musical (Robert Cuccioli) as well as six Outer Critics Circle Awards, and won two Drama Desk Awards. Many international productions have been staged since.
“I am very excited to finally bring this wonderful musical to Australia for its first professional production,” said John Frost. “At a recent workshop in New York, this re-imagined version proved to be a powerful and moving experience for everyone present, and I know audiences are going to be enthralled by the classic story and the magnificent music.”
“Opera Australia has for many years been producing musicals alongside our established opera seasons. It is wonderful that we are able to add Jekyll and Hyde to our schedule next year, in addition to our five opera seasons in Sydney and Melbourne and on tour,” said Lyndon Terracini. “I love the epic sweep of this musical and am genuinely excited to share it with our audience. I really enjoy our collaboration with John Frost, and together we are producing musicals with the highest of values in production, stagecraft and performance. I can’t wait to audition and cast these thrilling roles. The role of Jekyll/Hyde is a tour-de-force for a performer.”
“After a meeting with John Frost and sparked by his enthusiasm for a reimagined Jekyll and Hyde, we agreed to take another look at our work,” said Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn. “John introduced us to the international director Christopher Renshaw and also to Lyndon Terracini from Opera Australia, and together we arrived at a new piece that got a private showing at a Broadway reading in January. On the strength of that showing we are thrilled that John and Lyndon are going to produce our new Jekyll and Hyde in Australia for the first time. With Christopher and designer Gabriela Tylesova at the helm we know we are in for exciting times and we can’t wait to get started.”
Auditions for the principal and ensemble cast will occur over the next few months, and dates and venues will be announced shortly. Waitlist at jekyllandhydemusical.com.au