Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's Phantom LITE

In my experience, most people either seem to know nothing or everything about Frank Wildhorn's Jekyll & Hyde.  If you're in that rare know-it-all group, I probably don't have to tell you why you might not want to bring your kids to my latest performance opportunity.  You already know about the PG-13 language, the violence, and the "career women."  But just in case you've forgotten all the reasons why you might want to bring them, read on.

For the larger group of you who are vaguely aware of the musical's existence but know little beyond the basic idea that Dr. Jekyll is good and Mr. Hyde is bad (and that certainly any show with Mrs. Fife | Sister Fife | Andrea is of course family friendly) may want to do a bit of research before you load up the kids and head to the Empress Theatre for a night of entertainment.

First, let me tell you that I think I've concluded that I will let Adam (8 yrs old) see the show.  But I am going to pass on bringing Alex (6 yrs old) and Dylan (4 yrs old).  And here's why:

If you let your children watch PG-13 movies, then language is no reason to keep them away.  We've cleaned up a few lines, possibly making the language even PG, but I think language sounds much more harsh in person.  Adam is going to hear one "b" plus a smattering of "d"s and "h"s, though the "d"s and "h"s are often to convey their literal meanings as Jekyll literally contends with the devil inside himself.  He's also going to hear the Lord's name taken in vain more than once, though never by me.

The line around the theater to describe the show's "career women" has been "family flirty."  I haven't seen the costumes yet, but I've heard they will be understated.  I've seen the choreography, and it's nothing I would feel uncomfortable with Adam seeing.  However, not being a mother of the teenage crowd yet, I don't know how I'd feel about kids who "get it" watching.  Again... if you watch PG-13, you certainly won't be seeing anything new.

Okay, here's one to consider seriously.  I took Dylan to a production of Robin Hood where a man was strangled to death at our feet.  He freaked a bit.  If you don't want your kids to see people dying on stage, don't bring them to Jekyll & Hyde.  8 people die fairly violent deaths.  However, we are not using blood on stage, so they are not gory.  Just violent.  Adam has already seen The Scarlet Pimpernel twice.  I figure if he can handle watching the guillotine, hopefully he'll handle these deaths okay.

The whole show is about the duality that exists in everyone - the good and the evil and the choices we all have to make.  Because of this, the worse we make the "bad" on stage, the clearer the need for "good" becomes.  If you haven't yet guessed, this category is the why I'd encourage you to bring your kids.  Just give them some context first.  Talk about the concepts of free agency on the ride over to the theater.  If Family Home Evening is your thing, do a whole lesson.  I had an incredible discussion with Adam and two young girls in our neighborhood about this idea, and that's when I decided I want Adam to see the show.  He gets it.  Agency.  And since he gets that, I think he's prepared to get some of the rest of it.

The Mrs. Fife Factor
There's a lot of "bad" in the show.  But fortunately for me, I get to play one of the only pure and good characters in the show.  I don't know if I would be comfortable with the kids I teach at school or mentor in the community watching me portray the "bad."  I am pretty sure I would not be okay with Adam having to sort that all out at only eight.  But in this case, it's not an issue.  If you do bring your kids, they will not see Mrs. Fife | Sister Fife | Andrea do anything she wouldn't do in real life.  (Except hug people easily and kiss Henry Jekyll.)

Oh, and if...
You're an adult, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE come see the show.  Even if I wasn't in it.  Jekyll & Hyde is one of my top 3 favorite musicals of all time, not only because I love the music (oh, how I love the music), but because I believe in its message.  I don't want to ruin it for anybody, so I'm not going to publish my overanalyzed love affair with this musical until after closing night, but just know that I strongly encourage you to attend!

So since...
I don't want to post spoilers, enjoy one of my favorite Forbidden Broadway spoofs: "It's Phantom, lite."

(By the way... it's not!)