Theatre Talk: Laird Mackintosh talks about JEKYLL AND HYDE

Jekyll and Hyde  starts off its tour in San Diego this week and Laird Mackintosh is excited to return to San Diego! Previously San Diego saw him as George Banks in the touring production of Mary Poppins and he now returns in the Broadway bound tour of Jekyll and Hyde as John Utterson, Jekyll’s best friend.

Jekyll and Hyde is based on the short story by Robert Louis Stevenson. It follows a scientist who is driven to find a solution to challenging medical problems. Denied the ability to run his experiments he decides to try them on himself and unwittingly unleashes his hidden demons. Tony® and Grammy Award® nominee Frank Wildhorn and Oscar® and Grammy Award® winner Leslie Bricusse have updated this dark and dangerous story to suit the powerful and contemporary vocal stylings of its new stars Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox.

Laird gets excited about the prospect of bringing this show back with a new sharper edge. “I think that Frank, the composer and Jeff, the director have done quite an amazing job of giving it a new, more sexy, younger kind of sensibility, bringing a lot of freshness to the show. The new design of the show, it’s really exciting and it’s very cool for all of us. We got to go early in the process, Jeff (Calhoun) our director, took the whole cast to this giant warehouse within New York where they were building all the sets. So we had a chance to see the sets before we began really rehearsing the show. It really let us know what we were in for, what we could expect, and what we were going to be working with and then, of course, we saw the costume design as well. And we put the show up pretty quickly so it wasn’t too long before we were seeing those costumes in person and we were in them. It’s a great costume design. You know the look is kind of steampunk. That’s the design aesthetic that they’ve gone for, which is a real sort of Victorian, Industrial age look that meets well…punk.”

Mackintosh enjoyed his time touring in Mary Poppins and was excited at the prospect of being on a Broadway bound tour and working with its creators on updating it for this cast. “It’s just such a great opportunity and of course ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ is one of those iconic shows. The music we had Frank Wildhorn sitting in on rehearsals every day. It’s just an honor to have him there, to be performing his music and to have him helping, making changes, and giving us a new piece of music, tailor fitting the show to us as individual performers”.

Laird has an amazing background that started as a performer for the National Ballet of Canada, performing with them across Canada, the United States, and the world including Japan and Hong Kong. He made is musical theatre debut in The Phantom of the Opera starting as Raoul and as the cover for the role of the Phantom. He has also performed at the Stratford Festival, Toronto’s Opera Atelier and more. Since touring will take him around the United States before finishing New York, he is looking forward to the opportunity to tour again. “Every city is different and it’s a nice opportunity to get more exposure to different places. We’re going to a long break in Chicago, and we’re going to be back to Los Angeles in the New Year, and the on to Toronto. There’s going to be lots of nice opportunities on this tour, but mostly we’re excited about the chance to get the show out in front of people.”

He is also very excited about the chance to work with this cast. “Constantine is brilliant as Jekyll, in the dual role, Jekyll and Hyde. Deborah Cox is an incredible singer. Teal Wicks is amazing. Richard White really brings a great, kind of gravitas to his role. It’s just a great combination of people and the entire ensemble is just filled with fantastic, really, really strong singers, really strong actors. Everybody in the group is bringing a lot to the show. I think it’s really nice, as a group together, we’re a strong cast. It’s a great feeling to get out there and know that you’ve got a show that you’re really proud of.

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