Jekyll & Hyde Come to Lucille Ball Little Theatre

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The Jekyll & Hyde pit orchestra. (L to R) Michelle Battaglia, pit orchestra conductor; Meghan Shay (viola); Basil Getz (percussion); Sadie Anderson (violin); John Cross (clarinet and saxophone); Amy Cross (flute); Lisa Rodriguez (trumpet). (Not shown) Tim Przybelinski; Amanda Andrews (cello), Nancy Larson (French horn); Curtis Barnes (c larinet and saxophone); Peter Cohen (bass); Jenny Cross (flute); Mateo Mendez (oboe).
The Jekyll & Hyde pit orchestra. (L to R) Michelle Battaglia, pit orchestra conductor; Meghan Shay (viola); Basil Getz  (percussion); Sadie Anderson (violin); John Cross  (clarinet and saxophone); Amy Cross (flute); Lisa Rodriguez  (trumpet). (Not shown) Tim Przybelinski; Amanda Andrews (cello), Nancy Larson (French horn); Curtis Barnes (c larinet and saxophone); Peter Cohen (bass); Jenny Cross (flute); Mateo Mendez (oboe).
The Jekyll & Hyde pit orchestra. (L to R) Michelle Battaglia, pit orchestra conductor; Meghan Shay (viola); Basil Getz (percussion); Sadie Anderson (violin); John Cross (clarinet and saxophone); Amy Cross (flute); Lisa Rodriguez (trumpet). (Not shown) Tim Przybelinski; Amanda Andrews (cello), Nancy Larson (French horn); Curtis Barnes (c larinet and saxophone); Peter Cohen (bass); Jenny Cross (flute); Mateo Mendez (oboe).

Article Contributed by
Walt Pickut

Billed as a Gothic musical, Jekyll & Hyde made its debut on Broadway in 1997. Directors and actors all agree that filled Theatre seats are the best critical reviews. This musical horror-drama played a nearly-four-year run, the longest-running show ever staged in the history of Broadway’s Plymouth Theatre, tallying 1,543 regular performances.

Jekyll & Hyde comes to Jamestown’s Lucille Ball Little Theatre for six performances on the weekends of October 7 to 9 and 14 to 16. A cast of 15 becomes 16 characters in the strange and frightening transformation of the romantic and kind Dr. Jekyll into the mad and wild-eyed Mr. Hyde.

The Action
Come and see the tormented Dr. Jekyll burst into flames right on center stage, literally consumed before the audience’s eyes by the flames of his own passions – spectacularly unleashed. “The special effects are truly remarkable throughout this musical,” Director Helen Merrill promised.

The original novella that inspired the musical was titled “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” It was published by the Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson, in 1886, “…but we are not really that far removed from it today,” Merrill said, “when you see what is really going on in the world around us.”

jekyll-n-hyde

Consumed by his well-meaning drive to solve mankind’s greatest medical challenges, the benevolent but driven Dr. Jekyll makes himself the experimental subject of his own, supposedly miraculous, life-giving potions. Tragically, he unleashes his inner demons instead, releasing the raging and murderous Mr. Hyde on his once well-ordered world.

“We’re offering the City of Jamestown the opportunity to see really fine, local talent,” Director Merrill said. Many seasoned veterans of the Little Theatre stage will be returning for this performance, along with some new, outstanding young talent. The key to the success of a dark musical drama like Jekyll & Hyde is actors who can both act and sing. ‘We’ve certainly got the right cast for this show,” Merrill said.

“This is a real showcase of music extremely well done by all the cast, accompanied by a truly outstanding orchestra,” Merrill added. The music is so good it can even draw you in to see past the evil where we really need to.”

Good people can make bad things happen when driven too far by unchecked passions, a truth as timely today as in 1886. See it happen in Jekyll & Hyde at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre.

little-theatreThe Music
“What I like about this musical is that we have an outstanding cast to work with,” said Michelle Battaglia, the pit orchestra conductor for Jekyll & Hyde. “That makes our job a pleasure. It is all just beautiful music, lots of beautiful and energetic melodies, yet there are also wonderful songs and music for the dark side of this musical.”

“We have extremely talented musicians this year, both professional and amateur, and we’re delighted to have Lucy Miller back at Little Theatre as our pianist,” Battaglia said.

Battaglia serves as the middle and high school band director at Falconer Central School. Before teaching locally, she performed (trumpet) worldwide for many years in the Navy Band and in the Army National Guard. She continues to perform with many local musical groups.

The Pit orchestra has been practicing since the end of August for the mid-October run of Jekyll & Hyde. “But it isn’t like work,” Battaglia said. “When you make beautiful music you’re having a lot of fun.”

Cast of Jekyll & Hyde

Chris Switala, Jekyll and Hyde
Damon Holland, Gabriel John Utterson
Holly Jones Weston, Emma Carew
Joann Liffner, Lucy Harris
Jim Foley, Sir Danvers Carew
Derek DeViteger, Simon Stride
Anne Eklund, Lady Beacondfield
Peter Larson, Bishop of Basingstoke
John Pickett, Lord Savage
Skip Anderson, Gen. Lord Gossop
John Linza, Sir Archibald Proops
Gavin Card, Spider
Danica Olson Walter, Nellie
Scott Cummings, Poole

Supporting actors, ensemble and orchestra

For ticket sales and season tickets, and to learn more about The Lucille Ball Little Theatre, call (716) 483-1095, visit the box office at 18 E 2nd Street in downtown Jamestown, or log on to http://www.lucilleballlittletheatre.org/.

 

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.