Jekyll and Hyde Wows MH

Morris Hills’ spring musical, “Jekyll and Hyde,” was one to remember. It featured an incredibly talented cast, intricate sets, and elaborate costumes. The skilled pit band played music that set the mood, and the stage crew provided smooth transitions between scenes.

Clearly, such a production could not be delivered without intense preparation and dedication from all involved in the process. “It was a lot of training with my voice teacher,” said senior Will Taitel, who played Henry Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. “Ms. D[eachilli], Ms. Shera, all the teachers, all the directors helped me prepare mentally.” Senior Mackenzie Schaefer, who played Lucy, described the process of getting into character: “I did a few background things… I created the character deeper than [she] had to be so I could feel more connected.” The show also required a lot of coordination behind the scenes. According to the Stage Manager, senior Kelly Kavanaugh, “Jekyll and Hyde” was a new challenge. “When coordinating the set changes, I noticed that it was going to be a lot more difficult than the previous two musicals.” Director Ms. Shera agreed, saying, “the most difficult part was putting all the elements together.” Constant rehearsals were tiring for both cast and crew, but their effort was clearly shown on the stage.

A musical would not be a musical without songs. Though the execution seemed flawless on stage, each musical number was difficult because of the emotion required. “The songs in ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ are all beautiful, and they can be sung perfectly, but without the emotion behind them, they don’t have much of an impact at all,” said Schaefer. Though the songs were difficult to master, the cast felt rewarded once it was done. For Taitel, learning the music was his favorite part. “I learned so much more about myself as a singer and performer,” he explained. The songs were complete with the accompaniment of the Pit Band. Despite only having eight practices, the band was able to perform very well. Junior Emily Cui, who played the clarinet for the Pit Band, said “I really liked the way the music sounded, especially with the cast.”

The hard work of all of the contributors was rewarded with the audience’s positive reactions. The audience members were on the edge of their seats until the end of the show. They listened intently to each musical number and applauded each singer as he/she left the stage. During each suspenseful pause, a pin drop could be heard. “Jekyll and Hyde” elicited a variety of reactions from the audience. Attendees were surprised when the actors hit high notes, bobbed their heads when a catchy tune was played, and silently cried towards the end of the show.

“Jekyll and Hyde” was an ideal last show for the departing seniors, many of whom have been part of the theater for the majority of their time in high school. “I never thought that doing ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ as my last show would be the greatest thing ever,” said Schaefer. “Stage Crew – you could definitely say – is my home away from home… It’s going to be really difficult to say goodbye,” said Kavanaugh. Leaving the Morris Hills theater will certainly be a bittersweet moment, but the seniors who worked on “Jekyll and Hyde” can exit knowing that they delivered a show worthy of being on Broadway. “I am so proud of all who were involved,” said Ms. Shera.