The story, which has found its way into the volumes of pop culture since the early 1900s, is the perfect story for the Halloween season, said Christopher Glade.
Glade is directing the Dark Horse Company Theatre's production of "Jekyll & Hyde" that will open for a two-weekend run at the Egyptian Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 18.
"I'm excited for people to see it," Glade told The Park Record. "I think it's a sensational gothic soap opera told as honestly as possible."
The decision for Dark Horse Company Theatre to do "Jekyll & Hyde" came from a combination of things.
"First, it's the perfect show for this time of the year," Glade said. "Also, Daniel Simons, who is the artistic director of the company, wanted to do this show since he was first introduced to it years ago."
Simons is playing the lead role in the production.
"Daniel has been very interested in it and it's a role he is well-suited for," Glade said.
"Jekyll & Hyde" ran for more than 1,540 performances on Broadway between 1997 and 2001. It won a string of Tony Awards, including Best Actor, Best Costume Design and Lighting Design.
Since then, it has been presented in various forms on Broadway and Off-Broadway, and there have been many recordings done of the songs, Glade said.
"The opportunity came for us to have it lined up and the folks at the Egyptian thought it was a good idea," he said. "Dark Horse came to me to direct it."
Glade had directed other productions for the company before, the most notable being "Reefer Madness" in 2010.
"This is a big and colorful show, and that's sort of what I do well," he said. "I was excited to do something again for them."
Glade went into the "Jekyll & Hyde" project without any preconceived notions.
"I haven't seen a full performance of this show on stage, and when I was asked to do it, I tried to avoid taking a look at the productions that have come before," he explained. Glade did get familiar with the concept record and the original cast recordings, just to get a sense of what things felt like, but in actuality, he went directly to the source material, which is the short story, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," by Robert Louis Stevenson, and the book that lyricist Leslie Bricusse based on Stevenson's story.
"The spirit of (Bricusse's) book is fairly true to the original story and I went back there to see the best way I could get into the musical, because my first response ever to the music was a little cool.
"It's gothic and romantic, but it has a pop-Broadway sensibility to it, which isn't my personal cup of tea," he said. "However, the story very much appealed to me."
Now, after five weeks of rehearsals, Glade admits he likes the music.
"I guess my earlier thinking was a little too harsh," he said with a laugh.
Although Frank Wildhorn's music proved challenging for Glade, the story wasn't, and that provided him with little opportunities to throw some iconic inside jokes and touches into the production.
"I added some things from the older black-and-white horror films and the Bugs Bunny cartoons," Glade said. "The story is such a trope in popular culture that I wanted to tip my hat to things that people would see and recognize if they were paying attention."
The biggest challenge of the production was streamlining it to fit the Egyptian's intimate space.
"The show is huge and has a cast of 18 to 19 people," Glade said. "Given space and budget, you can make this production as big as you want, but we didn't have that luxury.
"So, the idea was to make it clean and fluid and not get caught up with big, chunky scene changes," he said. "We wanted to focus again on the story of this man's struggle to help others. We wanted to show that by wanting to help others, he sacrificed himself into the world of good and evil. He split himself in half and struggled as he suffered from those two sides."
The theatre's intimacy also proved to be a welcome challenge.
"It's been a delightful aspect, to be honest," Glade said. "Not only has it has allowed us to focus on the characters and story, it also made us realize we don't have to use big sets like a steam-spewing train to let the audience know the actors are at a train station. We can tell the story through the music."
Glade is happy with what he and the cast have accomplished.
"I hope the audience will come see the show and come to love it as I did."
The Dark Horse Company Theatre will present "Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical" at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., from Thursdays through Sundays, beginning Oct. 18, and ending Oct. 28. Curtain time Thursdas through Saturday is 8 p.m. The Sundays performances begin at 6 p.m. Also, there will be a special gala costume-party performance Monday, Oct. 29. That event will be a fundraiser for the Dark Horse Company Theatre. Tickets range from $25 to $45 and are available at www.parkcityshows.com or at the door.