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From The New York Times

Split Personalities and a Double Motive
By AILEEN JACOBSON
Published: October 29, 2010

The musical “Jekyll and Hyde,” about a 19th-century London doctor who develops a split personality, explores the idea of duality. A new production of it also has a dual nature, according to its executive producer, Beverly J. Bell.

In the case of the new production, which is to run from Thursday through Nov. 21 and Feb. 3 through Feb. 20 at the Maguire Theater at SUNY College at Old Westbury, the duality isn’t good and evil, as it is in the musical’s main character. Rather, Ms. Bell and her colleagues have a double motive, she said.

First, they want to put on an entertaining show with flair. That includes using elements of the original Broadway set and many of the original costumes, and promoting the performances with a billboard near the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, two huge banners at the Roosevelt Field mall, local TV and radio advertisements, e-mail campaigns and other Internet promotions.

The second reason is more altruistic. “We envision bringing a de facto theater program back to Old Westbury,” said Ms. Bell, a lawyer and an ordained minister, one recent evening during a break from rehearsals in a building in Syosset. The college decided to close its American music, dance and theater department in 1995 because of budget cuts. "Our dream is to work with students," said Ms. Bell, who lives in Glen Head.

Right now, a student intern, Luke Utkovic, is working on marketing the show, Ms. Bell said, but she also wants to incorporate students backstage and onstage after the musical opens. “We didn’t start early enough” to recruit students, she said.

Mr. Utkovic, 23, a marketing major, said he thought students would join in after the production opened. “They’re making an effort to make students aware,” he said, adding that the show, which he saw in its Broadway run from 1997 to 2001, is one of his favorites.

“It’s good for our students in terms of gaining real-life experience,” said N. J. Delener, dean of the School of Business, who has helped get the project off the ground. “It’s also beneficial for community involvement. And for students who don’t have the means to go to New York, this gives them a cultural opportunity.”

Ms. Bell, a senior partner in the law firm Humes & Wagner in Locust Valley, is also a minister in the Reformed Church in America and has two seminary degrees. One is a 2002 master’s from the Union Theological Seminary in New York, where she studied social justice, she said.

Ms. Bell sees bringing opportunities to the college’s diverse student body as part of her religious calling, and a way for her to commemorate her 60th birthday in December. She has invested “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” she said, adding, “It’s a leap of faith.”

She is also an amateur actress, though she is not performing in this show. She initially got the idea for producing a musical because she and her husband, F. Dana Winslow, a New York State Supreme Court justice, wanted to find a showcase for the actor David Yudell. Ms. Bell co-starred with Mr. Yudell last year in “Carousel” at Theater by the Bay in Bayside.

“She has a mission, to create something at the school” and to do good in other ways, said Mr. Yudell, 54. He said that the Nov. 17 performance will be a benefit for the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, part of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. Goose Gossage, the Hall of Fame pitcher, will host a reception before the show. Mr. Yudell said he believed the center saved his younger daughter’s life after she was in an automobile accident, which led Ms. Bell to add the benefit. She is also accommodating his observance of the Jewish Sabbath by not scheduling performances on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons.

Jon Grodeski, 52, the show’s director and choreographer, said tickets had been selling well to “Jekkies,” fans of the musical from across the country, for whom a party will be held on Nov. 9, a nonperformance day, at Rothmann’s Steakhouse in East Norwich.

Mr. Grodeski, of Northport, has directed musicals starring performers like Jamie Farr, John Davidson and Debby Boone, as well as staged plays at Long Island theaters and at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University, where he is an adjunct professor.

During the recent rehearsal, Mr. Grodeski gave directions as Mr. Yudell and other actors performed a number, “Murder, Murder,” followed by an emotional scene between Dr. Henry Jekyll and his fiancée, Emma Carew. Then Mr. Yudell sang of Dr. Jekyll’s “Obsession” while two women sang “In His Eyes” — and all that is just the beginning of Act II of the musical by Frank Wildhorn, the composer, and Leslie Bricusse, who wrote the lyrics and book.

“This is a dream part,” said Mr. Yudell, who has played leading-man roles in regional productions of “Evita,” “South Pacific” and other shows, though he and the other actors — the cast numbers about 25 — are not members of Actors’ Equity.

A real estate agent by day, Mr. Yudell has also helped to market the production, selling sponsorships ($1,000 to $20,000) and coming up with advertising ideas. “We want the show to take off like a rocket,” he said.

“Jekyll and Hyde” is at the Maguire Theater, SUNY College at Old Westbury, Route 107, Thursday to Nov. 21 and Feb. 3 to Feb. 20. Tickets: $45; students and seniors, $35. Information: (866) 811-4111 or jekyllandhydelongisland.com.

A version of this article appeared in print on October 31, 2010, on page LI11 of the New York edition.

From The Long Island Herald

February 10, 2011
Stepping Out
The evil and good that is Jekyll & Hyde
A local production with Broadway flair
By Mary Malloy

Traveling down a long, foggy, icy Long Island road in the dead of winter to see “Jekyll & Hyde The Musical” seemed like an appropriate precursor for what was to come. On our way to see DDB Productions Inc.’s inaugural production at SUNY Old Westbury’s Maguire Theatre, the weather was just a sampling of the danger -- and delight -- that lay within.
Attracting a good crowd for such a nasty Saturday night, the well-advertised play about man’s struggle between good and evil boasts the parts of the original Broadway set and props, as well as the original costumes and a full orchestra. Cast with performers from New York City and regional theaters, this production is an innovative concept to bring private entrepreneurial financing and expertise to students at SUNY Old Westbury, and enables the school to have a theater program on campus. The goal is to have students from SUNY Old Westbury work with the professionals in the show to learn theater technology and backstage work.
David Yudell plays the dual title characters of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde superbly here. In the story, Jekyll is a respected London doctor who questions man’s nature of good and evil, drinks a potion of his own making and is transformed into the cruel, remorseless, lustful – and eventually murderous – Edward Hyde. The Hyde side eventually takes over, appearing at will, and doing all sorts of awful deeds – and what an awfully good time we had watching it all!
One danger of trying to duplicate a Broadway production is that people are expecting, well, a Broadway production. This was darn close, and for the location, the price and pure Long Island enjoyment, DDB’s Jekyll & Hyde was a guilty pleasure. Yudell’s duplicitous role was a challenge, and I was impressed with his transformation from the good-hearted doctor to the

evil Mr. Hyde. I wondered if the microphones were rigged with Auto-Tune when his clear baritone voice turned gravelly and, yes, he virtually spitted and spewed evil.

Allison Rerecich and Emily Nader were spot-on in their roles as Emma Carew and Lucy Harris (the good and ‘bad’ women in Jekyll’s life) and their beautiful rendition of “In His Eyes” elicited a well-deserved standing ovation. As a matter of fact, the entire cast was wonderful, and if you’re a fan of community theater, you’ll see more than a few familiar faces up on the stage, at their very best.
There’s still time to explore your devilish side. Go see Long Island’s “Jekyll & Hyde The Musical” -- you will have a murderously good time.
“Jekyll & Hyde The Musical” is based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, with book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, music by Frank Wildhorn. This production stars David Yudell as Jekyll/Hyde; Emily Nadler as Lucy Harris; Allison Rerecich as Emma Carew, and Anthony Edelman as John Utterson; executive producer, Beverly J. Bell, directed and choreographed by Jon Grodeski; musical director, Karen Yaleney; costumes, Geraldine Hackett; assistant choreographer, dance captain, Sal Canepa; stage manager, Stephen M. Germano; lighting by Donna Gagnon of InfoTainment Services, Inc.; sound by Joe Zaffuto,; with hair by Robert Siegfried.

‘Jekyll & Hyde The Musical’
Now through Feb. 20. At the Maguire Theater,  SUNY College at Old Westbury,
Route 107, Old Westbury.
Tickets: $45; students and seniors, $35.
For more information, call (866) 811-4111 or visit
www.jekyllandhydelongisland.com for details.


David Yudell

GREASE
Excerpted from the New York Times.
"David Yudell as Danny Zuko and Amy Stoddart as Sandy Dumbrowsky are an engaging couple...
Mr. Yudell can hit funny falsetto notes and he is just as funny as a ladies' man in leather who is going all American, trying out for the track team and smoking while running."

EVITA
Excerpted from the Evening Sentinel in Bridgeport Connecticut.
"Yudell is powerfull in his role as Che Guevara and because of his narration duties, steals the show. His performance scores a perfect musical and theatrical bullseye."

SOUTH PACIFIC
Excerpted from the Asbury Press in New Jersey.
"Yudell gives depth and breadth to the role of French planter Emile DeBeeque, reaching to the rooftop with his rich baritone renditions of 'Some Enchanted Evening' and 'This Nearly was Mine'. David handles familiar music with respect and ease, and being exceedingly handsome, doesn't seem to hurt, either."

GUYS AND DOLLS
Excerpted from the Smithtown News, Long Island.
"Cast as Sky Masterson, is David Yudell in the requisite black suit and white tie, Yudell displays a magically knit dual role as actor and singer. Tall, magnetically handsome and vocally gifted, he catches a theatrical thread of the smoothness a younger Brando brought to the roll.

Untitled Document
Untitled Document JEKYLL & HYDE (B'WAY)
is presented through special arrangement with Music Theater International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.
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