Hello everyone. Happy Friday. Welcome back to another #fridayschoice.
Today I am talking about a musical that I love, so musical lovers tune in!
Let’s talk about Jekyll & Hyde The Musical.
I am going to start off by saying that I really like all versions of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
I love the premise. If you don’t know the story, a very short summary is that Dr. Jekyll wishes to find a way to separate the evil parts of ourselves from the good, because his idea is that if we can all rid ourselves of our inner evils then there will be no more evil in the world. It sounds like a really straightforward idea, but Dr. Jekyll soon learns that good and evil are not as straightforward as one might think, and separating the good from the bad can actually have dangerous consequences.
I really like the story of Jekyll & Hyde because I think it is a very thought provoking one. I think that this story makes us think about who we are and the world we live in, and we learn that no one is just good or just evil, but that people are actually a complex, and nuanced mix of the two. We all have good and bad aspects of ourselves, and some who appear good are in fact not, and others who we may assume are bad can turn out to be good. I think that a story such as this makes us reflect upon the type of person that we are, it makes us think about the way we perceive and judge others. It demonstrates that appearances are not everything, and ultimately I think this story highlights how much hypocrisy exists in the world.
I really like the musical version, even though I know that not everyone enjoyed it. It is a show that I hope to see live onstage again someday. The music is by Frank Wildhorn, and I am a fan of his work. I will be talking about his work in Bonnie & Clyde The Musical at some point in the future. I think it is fair to say that Jekyll & Hyde The Musical is an underrated piece. I don’t know too many people who have heard about it, and I don’t wish to make any sweeping statements, but I don’t think the show is talked about as much as it perhaps should be.
Is it perfect? No. There are aspects of it that I don’t love, and I think there are certain aspects that should be done in a more subtle, tasteful way however I think that it is a musical that presents some very complex themes in an artistic way, and some of the songs are stunning.
I would have to say that I think the song Facade sums up the show very nicely. Everything is a facade. We are not one person, but two. There is good and evil in all of us, and just because someone is in a respected position, it does not mean that they are automatically good and beyond reproach. ‘There are teachers who lie, there are liars who teach.”
I think that this musical depicts a really interesting tension between instincts and self control. We all have good instincts and bad ones. We all have things that we want to do but cannot, because we know we shouldn’t. When Dr. Jekyll discovers a way to temporarily separate the evil part of himself form the good, we see that his evil counterpart is simply him operating at his most basic desires. Mr. Hyde is instinct walking. He has no conscience, he does think about how his actions will impact others. He does not have morals or self control. Mr. Hyde does what he wants, when he wants, and he does things that will hurt others because this brings him pleasure. Interestingly though, Mr. Hyde highlights the hypocrisy that exists in the upper classes of his society. He points out when people who are respected secretly abuse their positions of power, and do things that they condemn people of lower classes for when they do the same thing. Mr. Hyde points out how money and status don’t mean that someone is not a bad person, but money and status makes it easier for them to hide or get away with the fact that they have done bad things and so even though Mr. Hyde is a character who is made up of entirely the bad parts of someone, he does make some valid points and so there is a certain sense in his quest for revenge. What I am saying here is that while I don’t agree with Hyde, I understand Hyde when he rightly points out the cracks in the facade of others, and this is one of the reasons why I love this story and this musical. It is layered and thought provoking.
One of my favourite characters in the musical is Lucy. Lucy is a whore who works in the Red Rat bar and brothel. She believes that good and evil are intertwined, and although she is poor, and penniless, and repeatedly looked down upon by those of the upper classes, it is her who teaches Dr. Jekyll a lot about life. She inspires him. Lucy has a hard life. She is considered ‘bad’ according to those of higher status because of her job, but it does not stop those of higher status coming to the brothel to enjoy her work. Lucy demonstrates that luck plays a big part in things. Lucy was not born wealthy. She has no family, very little education, and so she is forced to do what she can to survive. She is mistreated at work but she has no other options. Many people would dismiss her based on her status, and by doing so they will never learn that she is kind, brave, and honest.
Lucy’s character and the way people treat her demonstrates how society can treat those who are considered ‘bad’ or unimportant. When Lucy is badly hurt, Dr. Jekyll is horrified, and even more horrified when he learns that things like this happen on a regular basis, and he is shocked when he learns that the man who hurt her was considered a gentleman for how could a respected gentleman do something so violent? You can imagine Dr. Jekyll’s horror when Lucy tells him that the man who hurt her was named Hyde. Dr. Jekyll must accept that the evil side of himself did this. He was capable of such violence when he had no good side to tame the bad. He cannot believe that he could have done something like this but Hyde did, and Hyde is simply Jekyll with no conscience or morals. As I said before, Hyde does what he wants, when he wants, and he does not care who he hurts.
Jekyll and Hyde The Musical, while imperfect, is a layered, complex musical that depicts some very interesting and intense themes. The musical depicts the tension between good and evil, desire and control, and it scathingly highlights the hypocrisy that exists in the world.
It is also extremely gothic, which is why I decided to talk about it during the month of October. The inner struggle that Dr. Jekyll experiences, the philosophical questions that he tackles about good and bad, the struggle between science and the ‘natural’ way of things – all of these are highly gothic elements.
At some point in the future I may choose the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde as my #bookofthemonth, but this month’s #bookofthemonth is the gothic novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and I am looking forward to discussing this book. I may even draw some comparisons to the story of Jekyll & Hyde because I think that both gothic novels share similar themes but they are explored in very different ways.
This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you enjoyed it. Have you heard of Jekyll & Hyde The Musical? What do you think of the story of Jekyll & Hyde in general? I’d love to know.
I hope you all have a great weekend.