'Jekyll & Hyde' leads Mechanic into season filled with personality HTC

April 04, 1995|By J. Wynn Rousuck | J. Wynn Rousuck,Sun Theater Critic

"Jekyll & Hyde," a Broadway-bound musical based on the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novel, will headline the 20th anniversary season of the Baltimore Center for the Performing Arts.

The 1995-1996 season will also include Edward Albee's 1994 Pulitzer Prize winner, "Three Tall Women"; the 1994 Tony Award-winning revival of "An Inspector Calls"; and another pre-Broadway production -- the first stage version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1945 movie musical, "State Fair," general manager Steve Goldstein announced.

Two yet-to-be-selected shows will complete the lineup. The subscription series is being reduced to six plays from the current seven in an attempt to deal with rising costs and "to keep the total subscription price within a reasonable range," Goldstein said.

The 1993-1994 subscription season was also a six-show series.

"Jekyll & Hyde," scheduled to play the Lyric Opera House from March 26 to April 7, 1996, was created by composer Frank Wildhorn and librettist Leslie Bricusse. It debuted in Houston in 1990. Goldstein, who saw an enlarged, restaged version there in February, describes the show as a pop opera in the style of "Les Miserables" or "Phantom of the Opera."

"It's a great big lush American musical, and we haven't seen one in a long time," he said, referring to the spate of European imports. He added, "It's got two sensational performances -- Robert Cuccioli in the dual role of Jekyll and Hyde and then Linda Eder in the role of Lucy." "Jekyll & Hyde" begins a 34-week national tour in August and has already generated two CDs.

"State Fair" also begins its pre-Broadway tour in August. Staged in celebration of the movie's 50th anniversary, the show arrives at the Lyric in January.

The first theatrical production of the only musical Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote exclusively for film, "State Fair" will star John Davidson, Kathryn Crosby (Bing Crosby's widow), Andrea McArdle (the original "Annie") and Donna McKechnie ("A Chorus Line's" original Cassie).

The Morris A. Mechanic Theatre will host the Royal National Theatre's revival of J. B. Priestley's 1946 thriller, "An Inspector Calls," from Oct. 31 to Nov. 19. Directed by Stephen Daldry, the production features a magnificent set by Ian MacNeil that literally brings down the house.

"Three Tall Women," Albee's third Pulitzer Prize winner, will also come to the Mechanic. Based on the playwright's overbearing adoptive mother, the drama features three actresses playing separate characters in the first act and playing the same character at different ages in the second act. It will be presented from Feb. 27 to March 17, 1996.

In addition, in a letter to subscribers, Goldstein formally announced the Baltimore center's first fund-raising effort.

The campaign is intended to establish a sustaining fund and to help offset a deficit due mostly to the cost of renovating the Pier Six Concert Pavilion, which the center ran until it was taken over by the city in October.

Goldstein said he is still negotiating to bring in the Broadway revival of "Damn Yankees." Originally announced for this spring, the show's tour has been postponed.

New subscriptions to the Baltimore Center for the Performing Arts range from $99-$298.50.

For more information, call (410) 625-4200.

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