Company's production of `Jekyll and Hyde' celebrates Halloween

September 23, 1999|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Pasadena Theatre Company is putting on a scary pre-Halloween production of "Jekyll and Hyde."

Last season, PTC marked Halloween with "Dracula," Christmas with "It's a Wonderful Life" and Lent with a deeply moving "Godspell." This season, the company will continue its tradition of observing holidays with repeat performances of the Lenten and Christmas offerings.

PTC's "Jekyll and Hyde" follows Leonard Caddy's recent nonmusical version of Robert Louis Stevenson's famous Victorian thriller. As in the original, the action is set in 1851 London, where Dr. Jekyll, by now the theater's best-known split personality, is trying to discover man's inner reality.

He drinks a formula that turns him into the monster Edward Hyde. Soon, Dr. Jekyll becomes addicted, gulping down the brew so often that he spends most of his time as the fiendish Hyde, who all but takes over the genteel, respectable London doctor.

There have been numerous versions of this struggle between the good doctor and his evil alter ego, including films with Lionel Barrymore as the doomed doctor and a 1941 version that starred Spencer Tracy, with Lana Turner as the love interest and Ingrid Bergman as a barmaid.

In 1997, Frank Wildham set the tale to music, shortly after Caddy wrote his version. PTC will follow the Caddy script with additional material drawn from the 1941 film. Director Chuck Dick claims some poetic license, wanting to make the drama more exciting and the characters multi-dimensional. He reveals conflicting elements in the nature of Jekyll and Hyde, who will no longer be drawn only in black and white.

He has also refined, merged and renamed some familiar characters. In PTC's version, Dr. Jekyll's love, Diana, becomes Celestine, who represents pure platonic love. Pauline, Jekyll's maid of 20 years becomes Charlotte, and Bridget, the parlor maid, becomes Hilda.

David Duvall, who last appeared on PTC's stage as Li'l Abner three seasons ago, will play the dual title roles. Most recently, he worked behind the scenes as stage manager in PTC's production of "California Suite." Jekyll and Hyde is a huge acting stretch for Duvall, who will graduate from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in December.

Stephanie Nevin, who played Bunny in "California Suite," is Charlotte the maid, one of Hyde's early victims. Doug Kotula, seen in PTC's "Godspell," is Poole, the butler. Linda Swann is Celestine, and Sarah Huzinga plays Penny, Hyde's sultry woman. Keith Thompson will be seen as Dr. Lanyon, Jekyll's friend who does not believe in his research, and Ray Titus is the lawyer Utterson, who protects Jekyll from the law and from himself. Adele Degnan is the parlor maid, Hilda.

Others in the cast include Matt Hutchinson, Brian Bartino, Kim Sauter, Armanda Shenton and Meghan Taylor.

Dick is the director, and PTC President Sharon Steele is executive producer. Ray Titus is stage manager, and Keith Thompson is technical director.

Performances will be in the Humanities Recital Hall of Anne Arundel Community College on weekends from Oct. 1 through Oct. 17 with Friday and Saturday performances at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and those 62 and older. A discount is available for groups of 20 or more. To reserve tickets, call 410-969-1801.

Pub Date: 9/23/99

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