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WITH ten successful musicals to their credit, the Newcastle West Musical Society is stepping up the challenge this year with their production of Jekyll and Hyde.

“This is a big show. This is a seriously big show and is a big take-on for any amateur group,” co-producer Tom Madigan said at the launch for the musical this week. “We did Jesus Christ Superstar last year and we feel we are ready for this.”

Jekyll and Hyde, his co-producer Susan Browne added, is also a very exciting show. “It is relatively modern but it is a classic,” she said.

For many people, musicals are defined by one or more of their big numbers and in the case of Jekyll and Hyde, that one big, highly recognisable number is This is the Moment, which was sung, memorably, at the launch by leading man Michael Greene who plays the joint role of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

The storyline of the musical hinges on the idea of good and evil and it opens with Dr Jekyll convinced that evil has caused his father’s illness, setting him off on a quest to rid people of the evil inside them. The show explores his mind and that of his alter-ego Mr Hyde, PRO Marie Hester explained.

But as with any good musical, there is a love interest and in this case, two love interests; Emma, played by Katelyn Davis and Lucy, played by Susan Browne. “It also explores the class division in Victorian times; with the aristocratic ladies and gentlemen on the Board of Governors and at the engagement party and wedding, while the Red Rat girls and street people explore the deprived side of society,” Ms Hester said.

The entire is strung together with songs and dance routines and a fair helping of humour. The Victorian settings and costumes are also a treat for the eyes.

Altogether, there is a cast of 64, with many well-established and highly recognisable faces both in the leads and in the children’s chorus.

Michael Greene, from Cork, will be a new face for West Limerick audiences and has previously been nominated as Best Male Singer by the Association of Irish Musical Societies.

Last year, Michael came to see the Newcastle West Society’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar and was so taken by it, he volunteered for this year and auditioned for the lead role. All-Ireland Fleadh Ceoil winner Katelyn Davis takes on the taxing role of Emma, having previously played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz while Broadford Youth Choir and Jekyll and Hyde director Susan Browne plays the troubled Lucy who wants to start a new life.

These leads are all supported by a marvellously energetic children and adults chorus, who will wow you with magnificent singing and athletic dance moves!

There is no age restriction for the audience. While the story does involve a lot of drama, the production has been kept family friendly, the producers are keen to stress, pointing out that there are 30 children from the age of seven in the cast itself.
“As always we aim to bring hugely enjoyable musical evenings to the community,” Ms Browne said.

The curtain goes up on Jekyll and Hyde The Musical at Castlemahon Community Hall beginning next Wednesday, October 24 at 8pm and it will run again on October 25, 27 and 31 and November 1 and 2. Tickets cost €15, students €10 and children €5.

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