Murder and chaos are pitted against love and virtue in the sweeping gothic musical "Jekyll and Hyde," which is being presented in July by the College of Lake County departments of theater, music and dance.
Seven performances will take place in the Studio Theatre of the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 14 and 15, and Thursday through Saturday, July 20-22; 2 p.m. Sundays, July 16 and 23.
The epic struggle between good and evil comes to life in this musical that tells the story of Dr. Henry Jekyll, a devoted man of science driven to solve mankind's most challenging medical dilemmas. But after making himself the subject of his own experiments, Dr. Jekyll accidentally unleashes his own inner demon, the man the world comes to know as Mr. Hyde.
Based on the famous story by Robert Louis Stevenson, the musical was conceived for the stage by Frank Wildhorn and Steve Cuden, with book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and music by Frank Wildhorn.
After its world premiere in Houston, the musical embarked on a U.S. tour prior to its Broadway debut in 1997. Since then the show has toured North America and the United Kingdom and was revived on Broadway in 2013. The show features songs from multi-Grammy and Tony-nominated Frank Wildhorn and double Oscar and Grammy-winning Leslie Bricusse.
Director and scenic designer Thomas B. Mitchell said that he has always loved the old story and has wanted to direct and design the show since working on a Chicago-area production more than 20 years ago.
"It's such a powerful play, but it's also very intimate, which fits perfectly into our Studio Theatre," he said. "The show's music is haunting, beautiful and well written. It has same kind of drive that 'Les Miserables' has, with music that is pressing, moving forward."
Audiences will feel immersed in the show's action as they look down into the chemistry lab where Dr. Jekyll transforms himself into the murderous Mr. Hyde, Mitchell said. An eight-piece orchestra will be placed higher, at the back of the set, which was designed to conjure up Victorian-era London, creating two simultaneous worlds using turntables.
The musical centers on human beings' good and bad tendencies and how a man unleashes his evil side through chemicals.
"I think Stevenson must have written the story in reaction to the abuse of narcotics in Victorian England at the time," Mitchell said. "It's an interesting tie-in to how our society abuses drugs today and the consequences that can occur."
The "Jekyll and Hyde" cast includes many seasoned veterans of CLC summer musicals, alumni, CLC choir members and current students, as well as newcomers such as Dana Pepowski of Lake Forest, a voice and opera major at Northwestern University, in the role of Emma.
"I'm very excited about the casting," Mitchell said.
Tickets are $17 for the general public and $14 for CLC staff and students, teens and seniors 65 and older (prices include $2 JLC facility fee). Performances July 14 and 20 qualify for buy one, get one free tickets. For tickets, call the James Lumber Center Box Office at (847) 543-2300 or visit www.clcillinois.edu/tickets.
The James Lumber Center Box Office is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and one hour before performances.