‘Jekyl and Hyde’ opening Friday at St. John Theatre is sure to provide thrills and chills

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 11, 2008


News Editor

RESERVE—Brent Torres, who takes on the fearsome task of portraying both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the St. John Theatre production of “Jekyll and Hyde” opening July 18, had led two lives.

In the 1980s, he was a fixture on the stages of St. John Theatre and St. Charles Catholic High School.

Then came a 21-year hiatus, a time during which Torres got married, had kids—led what many would call a normal life.

Last year, however, the Garyville native made a triumphant return to the stage in the St. John Theatre staging of “Oklahoma,” a production in which his three children followed in their father’s thespian footsteps.

His two oldest children have also followed him to the considerably darker environs of ‘Jekyll and Hyde,” a musical based, of course, on the popular novella by Robert Louis Stevenson “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

It was not the darkness, however, but rather the music that drew Torres to the play.

“I’ve been singing since I was in the fourth grade,” said Torres, who also directs the Sacred Heart Choir in Norco and serves as the organist and cantor for Saint Joan of Arc in LaPlace.

Though enamored of the score, Torres admits, “It is an extreme challenge vocally.” As Jekyll, Torres said, he gets to sing in his natural voice, but as Hyde he must distort his tenor into something akin to a snarl.

Does this mean he prefers his time spent as Jekyll to that spent as Hyde?

“I like both. I don’t think I could pick between the two,” he commented.

Perhaps his female counterparts, who Torres describes as “phenomenal,” help to ease his transition.

Jennifer DeLatte, who plays Dr. Jekyll’s virtuous fiancée Emma Carew, and Courtney Andersen-Boe, who plays the prostitute Lucy Harris, looked stunning in their period wardrobes and certainly display a definite command of the stage, characteristics that must ease the burden on Torres.

In the vein of “Sweeney Todd” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Jekyll and Hyde” combines chills and thrills with a romantic score—a classic musical that has something for everyone.

In the words of Torres, “[The audience] can expect to be thoroughly entertained and experience an occasional thrill.”

“Jekyll and Hyde” is directed by Darryl P. Clement and will run at the St. John Theatre Friday, July 18, and Saturday, July19, and continue Monday through Saturday, July 22 through 26. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at Allied Express or at the theater box office one hour before showtime.

St. John Theatre is located at 115 West 4th Street at River Road in Reserve. For more information, contact Beverly Beard at 985-764-7688 or visit the Website at www.stjohntheatre.com.