Ryan Hoagland and Deborah Cox are two minds with the same mission: chasing their Broadway dreams with “Jekyll and Hyde.”
Hoagland, 32, of Cedar Rapids, is playing drums and percussion toys for the musical’s national pre-Broadway tour, coming to the Civic Center in Des Moines for eight performances Tuesday through March 10.
Multi-platinum recording artist Cox, 38, of Miami, plays the female lead in the sexy, blood-drenched show that’s based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s tragic tale of good vs. evil, set in 19th century London.
After Des Moines, the tour moves to Chicago and West Palm Beach, Fla., before opening a 13-week engagement in New York from April 5 to June 30. Cox will continue in her leading lady role, but another drummer has been hired for the New York run. Hoagland is savoring every moment of this odyssey, which began in San Diego back in September.
“This is it — these are the top tier. This is Broadway,” he says by phone from a tour stop in Los Angeles.
- “Jekyll and Hyde The Musical”
- When: Tuesday (2/5) to March 10; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through March 8, 2 and 7:30 p.m. March 9, 1 and 6:30 p.m. March 10
- Civic Center, Des Moines
- Tickets: $25 to $73 at Civic Center Ticket Office, Ticketmaster, 1-(800) 745-3000 or DesMoinesPerformingArts.org
- Show website: Jekyllandhydemusical.com
In “Jekyll and Hyde,” Cox stars opposite “American Idol” season 4 finalist Constantine Maroulis, who was nominated for a Tony for his star turn in “Rock of Ages,” which came to Des Moines in April 2011.
Cox plays Lucy Harris, a prostitute and singer who plies her trades at London’s seedy Red Rat, where Dr. Jekyll goes for his bachelor party. Their lives entwine in a love triangle through all facets of Jekyll’s journey.
His search is noble — to create a potion to rid people of the evil he believes has caused his father to fall into a coma. He tests the chemical formula on himself, unleashing an all-consuming evil known as Mr. Hyde.
“It is a very dark, thought-provoking show,” Cox says. “It’s very suspenseful …. You see a person who really has good intentions and really is striving for something better.”
That theme permeates the surrounding characters, including Lucy, who is seeking a way out of her darkness. The action plays out to a driving musical beat, with such showstoppers such as Jekyll’s soaring anthem, “This is the Moment,” and Lucy’s “Someone Like You.”
Drummer Hoagland, who has played many musicals at Theatre Cedar Rapids, loves the rock and R&B twists to this revamped musical score. He gets to cut loose on Jekyll’s transformation and the song “Alive,” where audiences meet Mr. Hyde.
“It’s really, really rocky and edgy,” Hoagland says. “There’s spots in there where I’ve basically been given the freedom to play whatever fill I want. … I change it up every show that I can. It’s just full-out, whatever-I-feel-like-doing in that section.”
Back home, Hoagland is married, has a toddler daughter, teaches percussion and coaches high school drum lines. Now he’s the one with the learning curve.
“I’ve learned so much just about everything involved in putting a musical together,” Hoagland says.
“I still have to pinch myself every now and then,” he says, when he realizes, “Ohmigod, I’m actually playing for a Broadway show.”
“It still blows my mind.”