Project: Jekyll & Hyde BTS

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It’s funny where inspiration will hit.

Back in early October, I was in the gym. As I pumped away on the elliptical machine, I was checking my social media on my phone. Saw another entry about about Remember Jones in an upcoming performance of Jekyll & Hyde at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, an NJ shore town.

As I sweated (not to the oldies, but to some local NJ rock music), I had an idea: It would be cool to shoot some behind-the-scenes images to to along with the performance images that they would be sure to have.

So, right from the elliptical, I sent Remember an email outlining my thoughts.

Not five minutes later, I got an email back saying “Hey dude! Awesome to hear from you… super interested, think it’s very cool.”

So that was the start of it. You may remember I met Remember Jones back in June, when I was doing my Musicians & The Mosaic project. One of the things that was great about that project was that I met some new artists along the way, with Remember (stage name for Anthony d’Amato) being one of them.

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It took a few weeks to all come together though. Whereas we first thought I could get in and spend some time making photos that could be used well in advance of opening night in early November (and also nearby Halloween), it took a bit longer to develop. Had to get producer (Paul Stancato) and director OK’s, cast clearance,  plus the rehearsal timelines, etc.

But then, two days after Halloween, I found myself down at the Axelrod, meeting back up with Remember, and getting the lay of the stage and set.

Shooting plays is nothing new to me. If you’ve been with me a while, you may remember I shot Two Detectives back in 2008, and then The Full Monty, also in 2008. But it’s been awhile.

But I do like shooting the stage since these folks are passionate with what they do, and it comes through. I also like all the little details I can find. So, shooting entire-to-detail, I dipped into the foggy world of London to track two guys (or is it one?) that go by names Jekyll & Hyde….

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The Way You Wear Your Hat – Remember Jones in his dressing room

One of the inventive pieces of the play is how “Edward Hyde” gets the long coat and hat that becomes his costume. The play doesn’t depend on make-up to illustrate the transformation. Instead, it’s Remember’s voice and mannerisms that show the audience who is whom. He does an outstanding job, though the strain on his vocal cords must be rough.

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A fight scene rehearsal.

There are a number of scenes of physical altercations and they are carefully choreographed. Just like any film or show.

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The ladies of the Red Rat.

The gent taking the BTS photo here, Jeffrey O’Neill, is actually the guy being choked out by Hyde above. (Have to admit, I’m not sure who the actresses are) I was there for the first full dress rehearsal so the cast was still getting used to, and having fun, with their costumes. A little “red and black lace” goes well in the Red Rat scene (if you see the play, you’ll get what I mean)

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Quick backstage of portrait of Michael Fernandez, the production stage manager.

The evening I was there, Michael was sweating, as was lighting designer Keith Truax- a freak mishap fried the stage lighting and the crew was furiously working to fix it for opening night in a couple of days.

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Michael Fernandez address the cast, telling them how to run through the show at this rehearsal.

Now, the lighting plays a big part in this play, almost like another character. The actors cue on it, and the changes, subtle or not, cue the audience. The evening I was there, they cast and crew had to work with just pretty basic stage lights – pretty harsh, not much color. While I thought the play was cool as I was watching (and shooting), I had to keep reminding myself that I was even really seeing the full, um, monty.

That said, since I decided to shoot in (mostly) B&W, the lighting issue didn’t bother me. I did grab some shots in color though.

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Dr. Jekyll professing his love for his love, Emma Danvers played by Adrianna Milbrath.

The rehearsal was pretty much a straight run-through, with only a few stops and starts to check things.

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After rehearsal, Remember shares some thoughts with Andrew Deprisco, artistic director/producer.

 

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And then, opening night! My wife and I went to opening night of Jekyll & Hyde.  I was there strictly as an audience member,so I only clicked off a few.

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And, some fun at the post-show reception. A group shot with these three:

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Remember asked me to take a photo of him with two special audience members: Robert Cuccioli (left) the original Broadway Jekyll & Hyde, and Constantine Maroulis, (right), of the tour/revival of J&H.

Full cast shot with Paul Stancato (middle black-t-shirt) via my phone:

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If you want to see the full set of my J&H photos, click here. Remember Jones as Jeykll & Hyde runs until November 19 at the Axelrod.

If you’re in the local area, I wholeheartedly recommend seeing it. It will transform you.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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