Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Briar Woods High School Jekyll & Hyde

By • Jan 13th, 2008 • Category: Cappies

The program reads, “It’s such a fine line between a good man and a bad.” This theme could not be better represented than by the musical Jekyll & Hyde, recently performed at Briar Woods High School. The Robert Louis Stevenson novel was adapted for the stage by Steve Cuden and Frank Wildhorn, with music by Wildhorn and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse.

The story of Jekyll & Hyde centers on Dr. Henry Jekyll, whose experimentation with mind-altering substances unleashes a murderous alter ego named Edward Hyde. This obviously complicates his friendships, engagement, and reputation–indeed his entire life gets pretty complicated.

Aaron Hess exhibited extraordinary energy and intensity with his portrayal of the mad Mr. Hyde. He truly let down his inhibitions, enabling himself to exude the insanity and terror that made him so enjoyable to watch.

Jekyll’s fiancĂ©e Emma was well played by Addie Schaffer. She drew sympathy from the audience, genuinely showed her concern for her love, and used a beautiful soprano voice to do it. Emma’s father, Sir Danvers Carew, was also depicted deftly by Adam White. White’s powerful and distinct voice drew most of the attention during big numbers.

Three ensemble members also stood out. Lauren Herrity and Laura Manzer both sang incredible descants and soprano harmonies that deserve much acclaim. Stephanie Lee also showed superior stage presence throughout her scenes.

The abstract, minimal set was a good additive to the production without seeming too bland. However, the rotating platform was incredibly distracting and used too often at somewhat inappropriate times. It was creatively used, though, during one instance of Jekyll’s transformation into Hyde. The stage crew was for the most part efficient and swift, and the lighting was also well controlled despite a few minor gaffs.

Jekyll & Hyde is a very difficult show for a high school to put on, and Briar Woods showed some great effort. This powerful production will also be performed on January 18th and 19th at 7:00 PM.

by Josh Simon of Winston Churchill.

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