‘Jekyll and Hyde’ ready to spring onto stage

Jekyll and Hyde ready to spring onto stage

The cast of “Jekyll and Hyde” rehearses their choreography in the choir room.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a psychological condition in which the patient suffers from multiple personalities, such as the fictional Dr. Jekyll. This doctor tries to solve medical problems with chemicals, and he eventually decides to make himself the subject of his own experiments. This unleashes his murderous alter ego … Mr. Hyde.

Jekyll and Hyde was originally a novella written by Robert Louis Stephenson in 1886. During the 1980s, it was adapted into a musical, which debuted at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas, in 1990. After a one-year national tour in 1995-96, the show ran on Broadway until 2001. Now it is performed all around the country, including at Fairmont High School this spring.

Fairmont has a great reputation for staging high-quality productions, especially in the springtime. With recent Fairmont musicals including The Secret Garden, Les Miserables and Sweeney Todd, Jekyll and Hyde promises to sit among the ranks of these memorable shows. Every year, the musical production seems to grow in talent, and this year is no exception.

“The cast has all improved so much since the last musical. We’re way better than we were at this time last spring,” said junior Alex Brandt, who plays the role of the Bishop.

Senior Chris Koester has played drum set, timpani and other percussion in the pit orchestra for the past two years. “I love being a part of the whole production,” he said. “It’s so extensive and there are so many people involved.”

More than 100 students are involved in this year’s production – whether they are in the cast, on the crew or in the orchestra. The plethora of talent comes from the Music Department’s large number of students, which allows musicals such as Jekyll and Hyde to be staged. Not all schools have the luxury of being able to choose virtually any musical they want.

“We have so many kids that we can select from a pretty vast number of shows,” said Director Brody McDonald. “We chose Jekyll and Hyde because the students usually like more meaningful shows than the fluffy musicals.”

In fact, the Fairmont Music Department’s website includes a warning that this musical is not necessarily for everyone. “This musical is rated PG-13,” it states, “Therefore, parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.”

Junior Davin Tackett, who is a member of the ensemble, explains the warning. “We’re keeping every scene in, including the gory stuff.”

Putting together a show of this magnitude takes time and effort. The cast and singers rehearse three days a week, working on singing and dancing. Along with this, most practice individually every day. The orchestra often rehearses twice a week for two hours at a time.

“The hardest thing about this musical is working with 74 other people every practice,” said Tackett. “But it’s nice to work with so many different talented people.”

Tony-nominated composer Frank Wildhorn wrote the music. Its melodies are sure to keep the audience interested with songs such as This is the Moment and Obsession.

“The music is very intricate, but there’s still room to have fun with it,” said Koester.

The cast and crew will wrap up weeks of long rehearsals and hard work when Jekyll and Hyde is performed April 17-20 in the Fairmont Auditorium. McDonald promises the audience will see thrilling storyline, a display of Fairmont’s talent, and an overall well-done musical. “It’s a really great, high-quality show,” he said.

Tackett encourages people to be in the Auditorium for Jekyll and Hyde. “People should always come to see the musical,” he said. “They are pulled off very, very, very well every year.”

Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for students. They can be purchased at the Kettering Fairmont Music Office or by calling 499-2647.