Three generations perform in ‘Jekyll & Hyde: In Concert’

Three generations perform in ‘Jekyll & Hyde: In Concert’

Three generations of the Sullivan family, from left, Elaine Sullivan, Marcus Evans and Jeanne Sullivan Evans will perform in the Academy Players presentation of “Jekyll & Hyde: In Concert.”

PROVIDENCE – Jeanne Sullivan Evans and her mother Elaine Sullivan have been performing in cabarets and musicals side by side for at least 25 years. But this weekend, they will be joined on stage for the first time by Evans’ son Marcus.

“We’re happy to include my baby bird,” said Jeanne in a recent interview with all three generations. The trio are part of the ensemble of “Jekyll & Hyde: In Concert” at Academy Players on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8 and 9.

This is Academy’s second show in the Musicals in Concert series. “I saw there were people around me who loved to sing but did not want the theater platform,” said Rita Maron, artistic director at Academy. She auditioned dozens of performers. “I wanted a company of people that didn’t have to audition for every show,” and she formed her Company Cast, producing “The Addams Family: In Concert” in the fall.

“I was very happy with ‘Addams Family’ and so were the audiences,” said Maron. “So, I feel there is a supply and demand for these types of shows in Rhode Island.” And on that came the decision to present “Jekyll & Hyde,” the musical based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic novella, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

While experimenting with human nature, Dr. Henry Jekyll taps into the evil side of his own personality and creates his monstrous alter ego, Edward Hyde.

The Sullivan trio is enjoying this experience. “I was feeling quite inept after week two,” says Jeanne. “Matt Cunningham is a brilliant music director, and Rita has set the bar high.” But having seen the group’s production of “The Addams Family,” she knew that her hard work would pay off.

“It’s reminiscent of many musical endeavors to enhance credibility and experience in various musical genres,” says Elaine, “to achieve the ultimate goal of musical excellence in performance.”

“I am always up for a good challenge,” says Marcus. This is his second show with Academy. He performed in “Newsies” in the early fall. “This was a great opportunity to grow as a musician and singer so I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

The cast rehearses just one night a week, so the Sullivans take the opportunity to get together on off-nights to rehearse. “We go to Grandma’s, eat her food and sing to her so she catches on,” says Marcus, a junior at Coventry High School. “And I am definitely in charge.”

Next up for Marcus is “All Shook Up” with the Community Players in Pawtucket. Jeanne and Elaine may be performing in the Cavalcade of Bands in May.

“Beyond that, I may like to try my hand at directing young people at Academy Players,” says Jeanne. “I am so impressed with their outreach into the community. Kids thrive in that space and are of such high caliber. I want to help pay it forward.”

All three are very excited about doing this show. “I find this score to be absolutely fulfilling in musical achievement,” says Elaine.

“I am psyched about the cast of ‘Jekyll & Hyde,’” says Jeanne, “and we will deliver one memorable performance.”

The Academy Players present “Jekyll & Hyde: In Concert” Feb. 8 and 9 at the James and Gloria Maron Cultural Arts Center in Providence. For complete details, visit www.academyplayersri.org.

Editor’s note: Frank O’Donnell will also be appearing in the show as Sir Danvers Carew.