Janesville’s Armory stages Jekyll & Hyde

JANESVILLE, Wis.—The second half of the Drill Hall Theater’s premier season erupts on stage with the pulse-pounding musical Jekyll & Hyde. This musical theater phenomenon, which has gathered legions of loyal fans affectionately calling themselves “Jekies,” runs Sept. 8-Nov. 5. Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic book, Jekyll & Hyde is a is a seductive story of the epic battle between good and evil.

This classic tale set in London in 1885 comes to life through gorgeous love songs and powerful production numbers. Scientist Dr. Jekyll battles his alter ego, Mr. Hyde, and his conflicting feelings for his devoted fiancee’, Emma, and Lucy, a prostitute who has fallen in love with him because of his kindness to her. The score features beautiful ballads, such as “Letting Go” and “A New Life,” and the spine-tingling “Alive” and “Murder, Murder,” all accompanied by The Armory’s accomplished live orchestra, under the direction of Rob Tomaro. “The macabre plot is infused with a lush, romantic score, making this show a perfect blend of romance and thriller,” said Jim Tropp, Drill Hall Theater director.

The outstanding vocal talent of the cast is highlighted by Robert A. Felbinger, who plays Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde. Felbinger is the first member of the Actors Equity Association to perform at The Armory. He has an extensive resume including both musical and operatic productions like The Fantasticks, West Side Story, Rocky Horror Show,Magic Flute, Carmen, LaBoheme and Tosca. His stunning stage presence and opera-quality voice will astound the audience, added Jim Tropp.

First published in 1886, writer Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, has never ceased to fascinate readers, and the name of Dr. Jekyll’s evil alter ego Mr. Hyde has become part of our everyday language as a metaphor for evil. It has also never been out of print. The musical, however, is interjected with romantic elements which were absent in the book’s Victorian-era exploration of the separation of virtue and vice.

A true musical theatre phenomenon, Jekyll & Hyde attracted legions of loyal fans even before the show began its smash-hit Broadway run.

An evocative tale of the epic battle between good and evil, Jekyll & Hyde is based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story about a brilliant doctor whose experiments with human personality create a murderous counterpart. Convinced the cure for his father’s mental illness lies in the separation of Man’s evil nature from his good, Dr. Henry Jekyll unwittingly unleashes his own dark side, wreaking havoc in the streets of late 19th-century London as the savage, maniacal Edward Hyde.

Jekyll & Hyde is pure pulse-pounding theatre, with that same macabre combination of fun and fright that fuels such classics as Sweeney Todd and The Phantom of the Opera, and a lush, romantic pop score that includes the hit songs “This Is The Moment” and “Someone Like You.” The show features a trio of star-making roles in Dr. Jekyll, his sympathetic fiancee’ Emma and Lucy, the woman he rescues from a life of sin who later succumbs to the uncontrolled passions of Mr. Hyde.

About The Armory

Originally built in the 1930s, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Armory features a stunning array of brickwork, terrazzo floors and decorative iron.

Soldiers from the National Guard which later became Company “A” of the 192nd Tank Battalion during World War II, a group also known as the “Janesville 99,” trained at the Armory prior to World War II. The facility served as a mustering center for these soldiers who were deployed to the Philippines in 1941 and, ultimately, were forced into the infamous Bataan Death March.

Today, leading the rejuvenation of downtown Janesville, the building’s exterior has been preserved to retain its historical significance, while the interior combines modern decor and elegance with original elements, making the Armory the area’s most exciting entertainment venue. The Armory offers three distinct dining experiences. The Drill Hall Theater combines elegant dining in a theater setting with professional productions. Modern, casual dining and an outdoor patio are featured in the Bunker Lounge. And fine dining, specializing in American and French cuisine, is found in the sophisticated atmosphere of Lieutenants Restaurant.

The Drill Hall Theater

Originally the gymnasium where WWII soldiers trained for combat, the drill hall is now the Drill Hall Theater. While preserving much of the original architecture including detailed brickwork, the hall has been transformed into a state-of-the-art dinner theater. This intimate, 230-seat setting features extraordinary cuisine influenced by the theme of the show and creates a unique backdrop for The Armory to present its professional productions. Actors from New York and around the country perform contemporary musicals always accompanied by a live orchestra. The Drill Hall combines elegant dining in a theater setting with professional musical productions. Season packages and group tickets are available. The Armory, including the theater, is an elegant choice for hosting a wedding, private party or corporate event.

Drill Hall Theater productions

Jekyll & Hyde—Sept. 8-Nov. 5

The Christmas Schooner—Nov. 16-Dec. 23

For tickets, call the Armory at 608/741-7400 or visit www.janesvillearmory.com. To schedule private events, including weddings, parties and corporate events, call Dan Hunter at 608/741-7400 or e-mail him at danh@janesvillearmory.com.

From the Oct. 11-17, 2006, issue

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