Sitting in the small 99 seat Met Theatre waiting for the latest DOMA Theatre Company production to begin, became quite an event as the ushers tried to stuff well over 100 people into the hot, already crowded theater. 15 minutes after the posted start time, the show finally started and the stage quickly became just as crowded as the audience. The already immensely popular Jekyll and Hyde is a dark musical about a man’s struggle with his dreams and inner demons.
The musical itself calls for an ensemble, but the Director, Marco Gomez seemed to go a bit overboard with the number of cast members for the size of stage that they had to perform on. In fact, the size of the theater seemed to hinder this potentially amazing production in many ways.
The group dance numbers such as “Murder, Murder” seemed overwhelming by the number of people on the stage. The choreography by Angela Todaro seemed like it would be fun and catchy but it was lost in the overcrowded stage. The other downfall of the size of the theater was the sound system. The theater is obviously not big enough to house a full orchestra and I tried very hard to put aside my loathing of canned (pre-recorded) music for this production. However, the volume on both the soundtrack and microphones were up a little too loudly and it became very distracting and at times, painful. This was most noticeable for the songs sung by Cassandra Nuss, who was stunning in the role of Lucy. Nuss has a fabulous voice and at times she was mind blowing, especially in “Someone Like You”. However due to the size of the theater, Nuss’ belting into the microphone made my eardrums ache.
Aside from the sound flaws, the talents of the cast were obviously there. Though Chris Kerrigan (Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde) does not have the greatest of voices, he is a fantastic actor. He did an outstanding job of switching between his character’s alter egos of Jekyll and Hyde. In some scenes the switches were constant and he never messed up, he was in tune with both characters and it was fascinating to watch. Especially in the scene “Confrontation”, Kerrigan is captivating with his battle between good and evil, his desperation to conquer the evil Hyde is heart wrenching.
The acting skills of both Kerigan, Nuss as well as the other female lead Amber Gildersleeve, made me yearn for this production to fix its flaws. This was opening weekend of a four week run and though it is doubtful that they will get rid of some of the over sized cast, if they do turn down the sound system a few notches, this performance could be extremely powerful and enjoyable. Unfortunately, if the sound is always at that level, it may just leave you with a headache; forgetting about the incredible performances the production possesses.
*If you happen to go to a production of Jekyll and Hyde and they have fixed the sound system please let me know and I will write a note for future viewers.