Broadway To Vegas


Copyright June 8, 1998
By: Laura Deni



This incredible musical production offers a perfect fusion of book and lyric, expertly crafted by Leslie Bricusse with music by Frank Wildhorn. The Plymouth Theatre show is enthralling, not an easy accomplishment given the dark tale of Dr. Henry Jekyll's desperate attempt to win approval to use an experimental drug on his father, an institutionalized mental patient. Turned down by the hospital board, the desperate Jekyll uses himself as a human guinea pig, resulting in his transformation into the revenge seeking Mr. Hyde.

The exhausting, demanding, dual role is performing to perfection by Robert Cuccioli. His electrifying performance garnered him the 1997 Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. He consistently delivers a consummate performance.

Linda Eder portrays Lucy, the main attraction at The Red Rat where women come with a price tag. Linda received the 1997 Theatre World Award as well as Best Actress Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for the performance, which marked her Broadway debut in the role she created. She has honed the part to perfection and deserves every standing ovation.

Christiane Noll
Christiane Noll also made her Broadway debut in the role of Emma Carew, Jekyll's fiance, delivering a flawless performance.

Robert Cuccioli, Linda Eder, and Christiane Noll have their names above the title, a status they deserve. Incredible performances by amazingly talented performers who take a dark tale, project it in such an empathic light that the audience is held transfixed.

The show opened April 18, l997. A little over a year later I revisted the production only to discover that I was going to see a stand-in.

The role of Emma was to be performed by Christiane Noll's understudy, Rebecca Spencer. An understudy taking over a lead role can mean an off the mark performance, triggering a domino effect for the entire cast. It doesn't matter how well rehearsed, the nature of an understudy taking over that one show lends itself to the possibility of disappointment. A bad understudy can ruin any show. A mediocre understudy can turn a great show into an average production. Rebecca Spencer as Emma kept the quality of the performance and permitted the show to retain it's exhaulted status. Rebecca blended so beautifully into the lead character that I don't think the vast majority of the audience realized she was the understudy. If she wondered how she was being accepted, the roar of the crowd and her deserved standing ovation should have belayed her fears.

Robert Cuccioli
I was impressed that none of the other actors have dulled in their performance. Cuccioli's intentness and energy level is awesome. All of the stars continue to hold their emotional edge, delivering a performance that captivates.

Jekyll & Hyde is an original Broadway musical which contains not one, but three musical numbers which deserve to be classics. Leslie Bricusse is a creative genius. Elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1989 his accomplishments have been rewarded with nominations for 10 Academy Awards, eight Grammys and four Tonys, including Jekyll & Hyde. In this show he teamed with Frank Wildhorn, who composed the score for another Broadway show which I loved, this year's offering The Scarlet Pimpernel, becoming the first American composer in 30 years to have two original musicals opening in the same year and running simultaneously on Broadway.

In Jekyll & Hyde their composition of This Is The Moment is showstopping. Joining that incredible song in deserving classic longevity are Once Upon A Dream and Someone Like You. This is a musical production where, despite the dark theme of the Robert Louis Stevenson novella, you leave the theatre humming the songs. A week later you'll still remember the music and lyrics. That's what a musical production is suppose to do and Jekyll & Hyde lives up to the highest expectations. If you haven't seen the production, go see it. If you have, go see it again. The second time isn't a second hand let down. Rather, it's an opportunity to again be engulfed in creative perfection.

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Mesquite, Nevada is about an hour's drive from Las Vegas, heading towards the Utah border. It is in that small town that the Mesquite City Council, experiencing a testosterone rush, voted ole 3-2 to host America's first ever "Running of the Bulls" on July 11th.

Patterned after the famous Pamplona, Spain seven day event immortalized in 1926 by Ernest Hemmingway's The Sun Also Rises, the Nevada version will feature 12 bulls - weighing about 1,000 pounds each - hoofing it a quarter mile down Mesquite Boulevard. They'll be chasing an anticipated 1,000 men who will pay $50 each for the possibility of getting their family jewels skewered. If the guy finds himself hooked on the horns of that dilemma, not even Viagra will work.

Phil Immordino, the event's promoter, anticipates 10,000 spectators will line the streets. Concerts and a golf tournament are also planned for Bull Run week-end. The bulls will snort off at the Casa-Blanca hotel-casino, pass under the skywalk at Si Redd's Oasis resort and come to a stomping halt in the Oasis parking lot. Applications forms, including mandatory waivers that free the city of any liability, can be obtained by calling (602) 420-1175.


BILLY CRYSTAL, WHOOPI GOLDBERG, and ROBIN WILLIAMS host Comic Relief 8 on Sunday, June l4, Radio City Music Hall, New York. All proceeds to go Comic Relief. Concert tickets $65 to $200. Benefit tickets begin at $600.


Supermodel Cindy Crawford was forced to postpone her honeymoon to Randy Gerber, fly to Las Vegas and hock Omega watches. A year ago Jean-Claude Biver, a board member of the Swiss watch company said that Crawford serves as a spokeswoman for the company, except in the United States. That's because the beauty was in the final year of another contract which prohibited her from endorsing the watch. Omega officials were watching the hands of their famed timepieces until that contract expired and Cindy could tout the benefits and pleasures of owning an Omega product.

The Cindy Constellation was previewed at Omega's booth at a May, l997 jewelry trade show in Las Vegas. That timepiece boasted a case and bracelet of 18-karat gold and steel with a bezel set with diamonds. A mother-of-pearl face was adorned with 12 diamonds.

"We are working very closely on the endorsement with Cindy Crawford," Biver said adding, "She will begin promoting Omega products in the United States sometime next year." That "sometimes next year" - meaning when she got free of the previous contract - snuck up on Cindy and took place while she was at an exclusive resort in the Bahamas being married. The honeymoon was interrupted so that Cindy could fly to Las Vegas for the l998 jewelry show. There she proudly showed off the Omega timepiece on her fashionably beautiful arm.

Asked why she wasn't on her honeymoon she gave a big sigh and replied, "I made a promise and I'm keeping my commitment." Translation: Omega is paying her big bucks and they have a contract which doesn't contain a honeymoon loophole.


The Jello Is Always Red is a new three-person musical revue of the cabaret songs of Clark Gesner, best known for the book, music and lyrics of You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, one of the longest-running hits in Off-Broadway history.

The show is an assortment of musical numbers and scenes that present Gesner's uniquely off-kilter view of the world. Some of the songs include; There Is Always Some More Toothpaste in the Tube, The Peanut Butter Affair, Where Do All the Chickens Come From and the title song.

Performances at The Theatre at Saint Peter's Church in the Citicorp Centre, through June 28.


SANDY GALLIN who has managed the careers of Dolly Parton, Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey and produced such films as Father of the Bride, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has signed a seven year deal with Mirage Hotels, Inc. Las Vegas.

As chairman and chief executive officer of Mirage Entertainment & Sports, Inc. Gallin promises to transform the entertainment policy of the resorts into something more than Siegfried & Roy and Cirque du Soleil.

While those entertainment offerings will remain in place, additions could include an 18,000 seat arena constructed behind the Mirage Hotel and more involvement in the production of movies and TV shows.


The Clark County (Las Vegas)Vegas Commission voted to name a $40 million road being constructed along the east side of Interstate 15 as Frank Sinatra Drive.

The four-lane road won't be completed until 2000, will have three exits from I-15 providing back entrance access to resorts from Mandalay Bay to Caesars Palace.


AN EVENING WITH BOB NEWHART with special guest Joy Behar in performances as part of the 6th Annual Toyota Comedy Festival - Friday, Carnegie Hall. Tickets $30-$55.

COMEDY CENTRAL will be in Las Vegas June 20-28, at the Flamingo Hilton, filming Viva Variety, a comedy-variety show for their network.


CY COLEMAN'S The Life closed Sunday after 465 performances

THE WONDERFULLY TACKY Tony n' Tina's Wedding, which can be enjoyed in New York at St. John's Church followed by an equally tacky reception at Vinnie's, will hopefully transport into just as tacky a production in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotel Aug. 29th and 30th

SPEEDWAY JUNKIE a movie starring Darryl Hannah began filming in Las Vegas June 8th.

TICKETS SOLD at Theatre Development Fund's TKTS Same Day Discount Theatre Ticket Booth since 1973: 32.9 million.

Next column June 15, l998.
Copyright: June 8, 1998. All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary, Photographs or Graphics from any Broadway To Vegas (TM) columns may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, utilized as leads, or used in any manner without permission, compensation and/or credit.
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Laura Deni

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