Doctor Henry John Albert Jekyll’s lawyer and best friend John Utterson is introduced, speaking of past events concerning Doctor Jekyll, followed by Jekyll’s future father-in-law, Sir Danvers Carew.
Jekyll is seen in an insane asylum singing over his comatose father (“Lost in the Darkness”). It is Jekyll’s belief that the evil in his father’s soul has caused his illness. Jekyll sings about his passion to find out why man is both good and evil and his attempts to separate the good from the evil (“I Need to Know”).
Leaving the hospital, the rich and poor of 19th century London describe how people act how they want others to see them, no matter who they really are inside (“Facade”). Afterward, Jekyll presents a research proposal to the Board of Governors of St. Jude’s Hospital.
In attendance are Sir Danvers (the chairman of the board), Rupert the 14th Bishop of Basingstoke, the Right Honorable Sir Archibald “Archie” Proops, Lord Theodore “Teddy” Savage, Lady Elizabeth “Bessie” Beaconsfield and General Lord Glossop as well as Simon Stride (the secretary).
All, with the exception of Danvers, are pompous, rich semi-hypocrites. They reject Jekyll’s proposal to experiment on a living human with cries of “blasphemy, heresy, and lunacy,” voting five to none with Sir Danvers’ one abstention (“Jekyll’s Plea”).
Utterson tries to calm Jekyll down, knowing that he was obsessed over his father’s conditions. Jekyll feels that he could “save” those who have fallen in the same darkness. Utterson urges his friend, if he feels he is right about his theory, that he should continue. (“Pursue The Truth”).
Later that night, the toast of society turns up at Sir Danvers’ home, where he is throwing an engagement party for his daughter Emma’s engagement to Dr. Jekyll (“Facade – Reprise 1″).
During the party, the guests, which include the Board of Governors and Stride, mention how worried they are about Emma being engaged to a “madman.” Stride speaks to Emma in private and tries to reason her out of her engagement, but she quickly turns him down (“Emma’s Reason”).
Jekyll — late as usual — arrives to the party just as everyone is leaving, and he and Emma share a moment (“Take Me as I Am”). Danvers returns as Jekyll leaves, and expresses to Emma that he likes Jekyll but finds it difficult to tolerate his behavior (“Letting Go”).
Jekyll and Utterson later go to a dingy pub known as theRed Rat for Jekyll’s bachelor party (“Facade – Reprise 2″). Lucy Harris, a bar worker and prostitute arrives late and is in for some trouble with the boss, known as “the Spider”, but she dismisses it for now.
Despite her position in life, she is seen to be kind-hearted and well-liked by her co-workers, but has moments of contemplation about her life (“No One Knows Who I Am”).
Guinevere, the German manageress of the Red Rat, then breaks Lucy’s reverie and then sends the former out onstage to do her number (“Bring on the Men” – replaced with “Good ‘n’ Evil” in the Broadway version), which captivates Jekyll.
After the show, Lucy begins to circulate among the clientèle. Spider approaches Lucy and strikes her hard across the face and demands to know why she was late. And even though Spider says that there will be dire consequences if it ever happens again.
Jekyll approaches Lucy after witnessing the Spider’s actions and intends to help her as Utterson is led away by another bar girl. Jekyll and Lucy are drawn to each other in a way that promises each of them a great friendship.
Jekyll admits Lucy’s song has helped him find the answer to his experiment. Utterson reemerges and Jekyll admits that he must be on his way. Before he goes, he gives Lucy his visiting card and asks her to see him should she ever need anything.
As Utterson and Jekyll return to the upper-class section of the city, Utterson notices that Jekyll is in a better mood. Jekyll informs him that he has found a subject for his experiments. Utterson recommends Jekyll to go straight to bed and leaves.
Jekyll asks his butler, Poole, about his father, and Poole replies that he was a very good man. After reacting happily to the kind remark, Jekyll dismisses him for the night.
Ignoring Utterson’s advice, Jekyll proceeds to his lab, excited that the moment has come to do his experiment (“This is the Moment”). Keeping tabs on the experiment in his journal, Jekyll mixes his chemicals to create his formula, HJ7, and injects it into the subject: himself.
After a minute of the potion’s side effects, he writhes in pain, transforming into an evil form of himself (“Transformation”). He goes out and roams the streets, taking in the sights and sounds of London, including an encounter with Lucy. He gives himself a name: Edward Hyde (“Alive”).
A week later, no one has heard anything from Jekyll. Emma, Sir Danvers and Utterson ask Poole where he is, but Emma decides to leave and believes Jekyll will come for her after his work is finished. After Emma and Sir Danvers leave, Poole tells Utterson that Jekyll has been locked in his lab all this time and that he has heard strange sounds from the lab.
Jekyll, who seems distraught, emerges and sends Poole fetch some chemicals for him. Utterson confronts him asking him what he’s been up to, but Jekyll does not fully answer.
He gives Utterson three letters: one for Emma, another for her father, and one for Utterson himself should Jekyll become ill or disappear. Utterson tells Jekyll to not let his work take over (“His Work and Nothing More”).
Visiting card in hand, Lucy arrives at Jekyll’s house with a nasty bruise on her back. As Jekyll treats it, she tells him a man named Hyde did it. Jekyll is stunned by this revelation but hides it.
Obviously in love with him, Lucy kisses Jekyll (“Sympathy, Tenderness”). Disturbed by his own actions, Jekyll leaves Lucy, who sings about her love for him (“Someone Like You”).
Later, the Bishop of Basingstoke is seen with Guinevere after having a meeting with one of her attendants, who is a minor. He pays Guinevere and says he would like to see the attendant again on Wednesday.
When Guinevere and the attendant leave, Hyde appears holding a swordstick with a heavy pewter knob. After insulting the Bishop, Hyde proceeds to beat and stab the former to death with the swordstick before gleefully setting the body aflame (“Alive — Reprise”).
Utterson and Sir Danvers once more speak of past events with Jekyll: Utterson begins to feel he was not able to help his poor client and friend, while Danvers senses that something is horribly wrong with his work, as he has not been seen or heard from for weeks.
The people of London gossip about the Bishop’s murder in the newspaper headlines. The Carews, the four remaining Governors, Stride and Utterson attend the Bishop’s funeral at St. Paul’s Cathedral, unaware that Hyde is also present. After the funeral, General Glossop and Lord Savage leave St. Paul’s, mourning over their deceased colleague. Hyde corners Glossop and stabs the latter through the mouth with the swordstick while Teddy watches, petrified in horror. Stride quickly enters, just in time to see Hyde escape. As Londoners discuss the second murder, Jekyll is seen accosting the apothecary, Bisset, for the chemicals that Poole ordered. All but two are present, leaving Jekyll to wait until tomorrow night. Later one night, Teddy is seen leaving the Mayfair Club with Sir Proops and Lady Beaconsfield, joking about Archie not receiving a decent claret. Hyde emerges from the shadows and after recognizing him, Teddy attempts to get Bessie back inside. Hyde then comments on “how you hypocrites hang together.” Archie foolishly walks up to Hyde and demands that he leave. However, the former pulls out a dagger and stabs Archie in the side before snapping Bessie’s neck with her own diamond necklace. Teddy, after being forced to watch, escapes to report the events to the police. As the city reacts to the third and fourth murders, the Carews find a frantic Teddy at Victoria Station and learn that he is fleeing to Aberdeen. The Carews wish him a safe journey and return home. Hyde then appears, breaking Teddy’s neck and kicking his corpse onto the train tracks. By now, all five Governors who rejected Jekyll’s proposal are dead (“Murder, Murder”).
Emma lets herself into Jekyll’s laboratory. She finds his journal open and reads one of his entries. Jekyll enters and immediately closes the journal, preventing her from learning what he has become. Emma can see he is distraught. She professes her love for him and begs him to confide in her (“Once Upon a Dream”). He tells her nothing of his work, but says he still loves her.
After Emma leaves, Jekyll writes in his journal that Hyde has taken a heavy toll on him and those around him, and that the transformations are occurring without his taking the potion. His entry is interrupted when Utterson arrives at the lab, seeking to find out who Jekyll’s sole heir is, Edward Hyde, as referred to in Jekyll’s letter.
Jekyll only tells him that Hyde is a “colleague” involved in the experiment. Utterson can see that his friend and client is desperately ill and agrees to obtain the rest of the chemicals Jekyll requires. Jekyll, once again alone, begins to face the fact that Hyde is a part of him (“Obsession”). Lucy and Emma then wonder about their love for the same man (“In His Eyes”).
At the Red Rat, Guinevere and Lucy sing about their profession and why they keep doing it (“Girls of the Night”). Lucy is visited by Hyde, who tells her that he is going away for a while. He then warns her to never leave him — “ever”.
Lucy is terrified, but seems to be held under a sexual, animalistic control by Hyde (“Dangerous Game”). As they leave together, Spider addresses the Red Rat attendants, warning them to always be aware of what dangers lie ahead (“Facade – Reprise 3″).
Utterson comes to Jekyll’s lab with the rest of the chemicals and discovers Hyde, who informs him that the doctor is “not available” tonight. Utterson refuses to leave the package with anyone but his friend and demands to know where he is. Hyde replies that even if he told him, Utterson wouldn’t believe him.
When Utterson threatens him with his swordstick, Hyde injects the formula into himself, roaring with laughter as he transforms back into Jekyll in front of an appalled Utterson. Jekyll tells Utterson that Hyde must be destroyed, whatever the cost.
He then begs Utterson to deliver money for Lucy so she can escape to safety. As Utterson leaves, Jekyll mixes in chemicals and injects the new formula, praying that he can restore his former life (“The Way Back”).
Utterson visits Lucy at the Red Rat with the money, along with a letter from Jekyll that entreats her to leave town and start a new life elsewhere. After Utterson leaves, Lucy sings about the possibilities ahead (“A New Life”).
Just then, Hyde returns. Seeing the letter from Jekyll, he tells Lucy that he and the doctor are “very close.” As he holds Lucy softly so that she doesn’t suspect it, he slowly and savagely kills her (“Sympathy, Tenderness” – Reprise).
The vile murderer runs off laughing, just as the Red Rat attendants find Lucy’s stabbed form and carry her out on a stretcher.
Covered in blood from stabbing Lucy, Jekyll returns to his laboratory and faces off with Hyde in a final battle for control (“Confrontation”).
As Lucy’s corpse is being taken away, Utterson says that Jekyll has given up his task of “finding the truth,” condemning his father to the darkness. Yet, as Sir Danvers would put it, the doctor had returned at the sound of wedding bells (“Facade – Reprise 4″).
Several weeks later, Jekyll seems to have won as he and Emma stand before the priest at their wedding in St. Anne’s Church (“The Wedding” aka “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”). As Jekyll is about to say “I do,” Hyde emerges, kills Stride, and takes Emma hostage.
At the sound of Emma’s pleading voice, Jekyll is able to regain momentary control. He begs Utterson to kill him, but Utterson cannot bring himself to harm his friend.
Desperate, Jekyll impales himself on Utterson’s swordstick. Emma weeps softly as Jekyll dies (“Finale”).
A friend of mine introduced me to the music of this musical a few months back by letting me listen to “In His Eyes”. Since then, I’ve been curious as to what this production actually looks like. Tonight, I had the chance to at get some idea.
Let me preface this by saying that this is a stage production of the musical and not some film version. I belive they are on Broadway, but don’t quote me.
The good…the music is actually not half bad. I enjoyed it for the most part, with the exception of the oversaturation of “Facade”. David Hasslehoff surprised me. I know he’s big in Germany with his singing career, but here in the US, we’re not very familiar with it, and as a matter of fact, he’s the butt of jokes when it comes to such things. Having said that, hearing him belt out some of these songs floored me. The pacing of this thing is just right. What I mean by that is they don’t spend too long dragging out a scene or changing a set, but rather kep it going. Today’s audiences have too short an attention span to sit through a 4 hour musical the way they used to, as sad a fact as that is.
The bad…the sets could have been a bit more detailed and not looked like they were just a skeleton version of something yet to be finished. I don’t know if that was part of what they intended, but to me they seemed unfinished. Hasslehoff does a really good job, as I mentioned before, but his facial movements and poses often take away from the moment and tone of the songs he’s singing.
As far as musicals go, this one isn’t up there with the greats, but it is still pretty good. Sure, there are some things that could use some tweaking, but the same could be said of any and all musicals. Would I watch this again? Yes, if for nothing else that to get a definite, solid opinion about it. Do I recommend it to anyone? Sure, its a good watch, but if you’re not really into musicals, you’re not going to like it.
3 out of 5 stars