`Jekyll & Hyde' to open Toby's


August 29, 2002|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For more than two decades, Toby's Dinner Theatre has set the regional standard for its genre of entertainment.

Toby's productions have garnered 17 Helen Hayes nominations. The Columbia theater remains one of the few of its type to offer live musical accompaniment for its shows, while the house's in-the-round design assures unobstructed views and reasonable proximity to the stage.

With prices ranging from $22.50 to $41.50, Toby's is a genuine bargain, offering top-quality entertainment and a buffet dinner for a fraction of the cost of a ticket to Washington's Kennedy Center or Baltimore's Lyric Theater.

Toby's fall and winter season kicks off tomorrow with the opening of Jekyll & Hyde, the Frank Wildhorn-Leslie Bricusse musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's tale of Henry Jekyll, the brilliant young physician whose attempts to separate the dual elements of good and evil lead to the emergence of his own murderous alter-ego, Edward Hyde.

Starring as Jekyll and Hyde is Russell Sunday, who made such a favorable impression as Joe Hardy, the Washington Senators' Faustian slugger, in last season's snappy and colorful Damn Yankees.

In this extraordinary dual role, he will have the opportunity to convey the anguished intensity of the good doctor in songs such as "Facade" and the determined "Take Me As I Am," as well as the exultant evil of Mr. Hyde in the riveting ode to self-actualized malevolence, "Alive!"

Playing Lucy, the disillusioned young girl assaulted by Hyde but befriended so ironically by Jekyll, will be Janine Gulisano, who gets to deliver the show's hit song, "Someone Like You."

Laurie Saylor takes the role of Emma, Jekyll's fiancee, who does her best to soothe the tortured doctor's soul but eventually loses him to the dark side of human nature. Her "Once Upon a Dream" is another highlight of the show.

Jekyll & Hyde will play at Toby's through Nov. 17.

Dictating drastic changes of style, venue and mood will be Annie Get Your Gun, which is scheduled to play at Toby's through the holiday season, from Nov. 22 to Feb. 16. While Jekyll & Hyde is as dark and sinister as musicals come, Annie Get Your Gun is as cute, homey and uncomplicated as can be.

But while the story of innocent, pistol-packing Annie Oakley finding love amid the color and excitement of a Wild West show is pure fluff, the show possesses some of the most tuneful scores in the history of Broadway. "No Business Like Show Business," "Falling in Love Is Wonderful," "Anything You Can Do" and "Got the Sun in the Mornin' and the Moon at Night" are some of the hits that have kept America enchanted with Irving Berlin for nearly a century.

Fiddler on the Roof, the perennially popular story of Tevye the Jewish dairyman doing his best to reconcile religious tradition with modernity in Russia on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution, will play at Toby's from Feb. 20 through June 1.

Taking audiences through the summer of 2003 will be Footloose, the dance-inspired show inspired by the film of the same name. The show is likely to be choreographed by Toby's resident dance guru, Ilona Kessel, who, as regulars know, is one of the local troupe's most valuable assets.

Reservations for the new season at Toby's Dinner Theatre, 5900 Symphony Woods Road in Columbia: 410-730- 8311, 410-995-1969, 301-596- 6161 or 800-888-6297.

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