How the Musical Jekyll & Hyde Went Steampunk
Chris Bennion Photo
*New theater reviews, including our take on Jekyll & Hyde
*Photos of last year's Edwardian Ball
Jekyll & Hyde opened at Hollywood's Pantages Theater last week as part of a national tour preceding the musical's return to Broadway this April. Directed by Jeff Calhoun and starring Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox, this latest incarnation of Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse's musical comes with a new look, one that is as modern as it is vintage.
Indeed, this reinterpretation of the Robert Louis Stevenson tale bears some resemblance to what we've seen at major nightclub events in Los Angeles over the past few years. Like such gatherings as Edwardian Ball (coming up this weekend) and Labyrinth of Jareth, Jekyll & Hyde visually fuses together the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the present day. It's a stage filled with corsets that are more special-occasion goth than prim Victorian, and laboratory scenes trimmed with steampunk details.
Jekyll & Hyde gets its visual appeal courtesy of Tobin Ost, scenic and costume designer, and Daniel Brodie, projection designer. Ost has worked with director Calhoun previously on Broadway projects like Newsies and Bonnie & Clyde. Brodie has worked on a number of theatrical productions, as well as with Kanye West and music festival Bonnaroo. Together they thrust the audience into a world of decaying urban facades and nefarious altar egos.
Chris Bennion Photo
Ost says his research began with Victorian era. After all, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was released in 1886 and set in London. "We only use that as a springboard," he clarifies. "Anybody who sees the show, who knows the period, will know that we're certainly pushing it into different areas and simplifying a lot of the look." He notes that where the Victorian period is often seen as "fussy and frilly," they wanted something "raw and animalistic."
On the costume front, he was influenced by a number of modern fashion designers, lending to costumes that are probably a bit more sultry than one might find in a proper period piece.