When The Magnetic Theatre opened its world premiere of Steven Samuels’ When Jekyll Met Hyde in January 2011, it was an immediate, huge hit, selling out nearly all of its extended run, delighting critics and audiences alike. David Hopes of Mountain Express raved that “you realize that theater can be stranger and more exciting than you had dared hope,” that “you realize you have been laughing uproariously at tragedy without catching yourself until the applause begins,” and that “what you’re seeing is a minor masterpiece, a philosophical treatise disguised as a lewd skit.”
Written as an homage to Samuels’ master Charles Ludlam and his Ridiculous Theatrical Company, the script, in Ridiculous fashion, draws on every written, dramatized, and filmed version of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic imaginable, as well as many relevant 19th century literary and philosophical works, all for the sake of provoking the shock of laughter. Featuring an unusual feminist twist and a surprise ending, When Jekyll Met Hyde will be presented in an all-new production honoring the source material’s Victorian setting. The cast, also entirely new, stars Erik Moellering in the title roles (Moellering will be familiar to Magnetic audiences as the antic, befuddled Jerry in the Bernstein Family Christmas Spectacular and as Biff in Death of a Salesman, contrasting performances that make him perfect for Jekyll and Hyde); Cody Magouirk (Death of a Salesman, Brief Encounters 2016, Off the Rails) as the Reverend Hastie Lanyon; Sarah Felmet (Tartuffe) as “Miss Gina” and Mrs. Hawkins; and, in her introduction to the Magnetic stage, recent Asheville-returnee Julia Cunningham (a Montford Park Players veteran) in the pivotal roles of Claire Lanyon and Miss Fanny. Samuels himself, who also directs, and who has been seen at The Magnetic this year in The Improbables, Death of a Salesman, and Brief Encounters 2016, assays the part of Jekyll’s manservant, Poole.
“When Jekyll Met Hyde is, without question, my most popular play to date and the one I’m asked most often to revive,” Samuels says. “The new setting and this wonderful new cast will make this production strikingly different and an absolute joy.”