What a weekend for the arts!

Don’t you just LOVE the start of the performance season? Don’t you just HATE IT that you can’t get to everything?

I opted for “Jekyll & Hyde” by S.R.O. Productions III on the grounds that even an unfamiliar score would appeal to a 15-year-old as long as it had a well-known plot and an intriguing onstage combo of stabbings and strumpettes.  Well, he was blown away, and so was I. I wish I could be telling you to go see this wonderful production, but it only ran this past weekend. For you who also don’t the show, with music by Frank Wildhorn and book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse., my best comparision is “Sweeney Todd.”
Compliments all around to the cast members, particularly the strong female leads, Megan Germond and Jana Kurcera, and particularly to the amazing Jake Wentlent as Jekyll/Hyde. He was able to maintain two distinct characters, with different stances and different, equally impressive vocals, even when performing a “duet” with himself.  Kudos also to director Jan DeAngelo, choreography Anne Tribilcock and the whole technical crew. Kucera and Jan McMahon were credited for the sumptous costumes; Gene Czebiniak (set design) and Joel Pape (lighting design) for the combination of set pieces and evocative back-wall projections.

So that was my weekend in the arts; how about you? Did you go to “Jekyll,” too, or opening weekend at the Cider Mill, or Blues on the Bridge? Please share your news and views.

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3 Responses to "What a weekend for the arts!"

  1. wfoxx10

    Was wondering if anyone saw the Cider Mill’s BBC Murders? I am planning on going this weekend and was wondering how it was? Sounds like an interesting show.

  2. jimciotoli

    The production of “BBC Murders” marks the start of the Cider Mill Playhouse’s 35th season. Last Wednesday, Sept. 15, would have been Agatha Christie’s 120th birthday. In my youth I used to listen to the BBC’s North American service on a shortwave radio at 5975 kc, so it was with great expectation that I walked across the yard to see this New York premiere of David Ossman and Judith Walcutt’s compilation of four of Agatha Christie’s radio plays.

    The set is a BBC Radio studio in post-World War II Londonand features four Shure Broadcast microphones front and center on the stage with the Foley artist’s command center behind them. Each of the plays was presented broken into four distinct quarters of this evening. Line delivery was particularly clear and concise — after all, this is radio.

    The plays, in production until Oct. 10, are: “Butter in a Lordly Dish,” “Three Blind Mice,” “Yellow Iris” and “Personal Call.” The third one features the first appearance of Christie’s famed Belgium detective, Hercule Poirot.

    It was clever to show the Foley artist (Santino DeAngelo) create his radio broadcast sound effects, using a pair of shoes for footsteps, clanging coffee cups, water poured from a carafe into a glass, a actual door to open and shut, a starter’s pistol and other common things used to create the desired sounds. All that I could think of was today’s computers and how those sound effects are created using software and the simple click of the mouse with no more imagination or talent beyond the age of 5 needed to accomplish it.

    Just as the old shortwave broadcast signal would wax and wane, my attention shifted from watching the Foley artist, to the actors and actresses, and then my movement into consciousness that I was in the room, as described, and with the characters, picturing things in my mind just as if I was a fly on the wall right there back in a setting in England. This is what made this play so well-done and memorable.

    One not be missed, the presentation brings the long-running NPR radio play “A Prairie Home Companion” to mind, and beware that the fact that “Radio Is Dead” is a great exaggeration. You won’t be disappointed; after all, this is the work of the Grande Dame herself, Agatha Christie. What a cool lady.

    Performance details: http://www.cidermillplayhouse.com.

  3. kbm271

    My 8-year-old daughter and I saw “Jekyll & Hyde” as well this past weekend. We were blown away. To me it was as good as any professional production. My daughter was riveted and even figured out the plot and ending. We saw it on Friday night and, for the next two days, she tried to coerce me to take her for another viewing. I was willing to but, alas, had to work, and we were unable to attend either of the other performances.

    I was quite impressed with the female leads since not only were their singing chops stellar but also their acting. And of course J/H was amazing and made us care very deeply about him and his tortured life. Also, I have to add that the father of the fiance was a stand-out in this very strong cast.

    This was probably my first viewing of an SRO show since the 1980s, and I am looking forward to future productions. For me, personally, the best part was having a show that my child could attend with me. Sure, the plot was racy, but she knew some cast members and the director, and that fact added to a most enjoyable mother and daughter night out. Throw in the delicious take-out from Consol’s in Endicott, and it was a really, really amazing night.