Bring on the Men – Research

Jekyll and Hyde The Musical

Jekyll and Hyde the Musical is based on the classic thriller novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson’s and is set to a powerful pop-rock score by Frank Wildhorn with book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. The Musical was published in 1990 however it didn’t have its Broadway debut until 1997. The story explores the themes of morality, as the central character Dr. Jekyll attempts to cure his ailing father’s mental illness by separating “good” from “evil” in the human personality. However Jekyll ends up creating an alternate personality of pure evil (Mr Hyde) who goes on a murderous streak across London. The musical follows the journey of Dr Jekyll as he tries to find a cure to get rid of the demon he created in his mind before Hyde takes control over him fully. Meanwhile, Jekyll’s fiancée Emma grows increasingly fearful for him as she notices the changes to his behaviour. But both Dr Jekyll and his alter ego, Hyde, become dangerously involved with a young prostitute, Lucy, who works in ‘The Dregs’, which later leads to her death as an extremely jealous Edward Hyde resents Lucy’s love for Dr Jekyll and brutally murders her. The musical ends with the downfall of both Dr Jekyll and Mr Edward Hyde.


Bring on The Men

I watched several clips on YouTube of various professional and amateur productions of Jekyll and Hyde, focusing on the performance of ‘Bring on the Men’ and how they choreographed and presented the song.

Here are some of the clips of the song ‘Bring on the Men’:

I really enjoyed the interaction between the men who were visiting the club and the other prostitutes who joined in with the action later on in the song. I liked the way it seemed very natural in terms of movement rather than being too showy or staged. While there was some very basic choreography at certain points, it was very minimal and quite static which meant we focused on the lead singer and were not distracted by flashy dance routines. I thought that the use of the chairs in the choreography worked well, and particularly liked the idea of using percussive movements like stepping on the chair to mark and emphasis specific moments in the song.

This version was very dramatic and stylised, with the actress playing Lucy coming down on a chair from the ceiling in the opening verse (which I personally felt was slightly too elaborate and unnecessary)! However what I did like was the way there was always action happening in the background, such as the other prostitutes interacting with the men sitting at the tables, as it helped build the atmosphere of the club and helped make it feel more real. Much like several of the other versions I have watched, the movement was minimal until it came to the chorus where all the girls join in and choreography is introduced; however, in this version the other prostitutes remained around the edge of the performing space facing the men on the tables nearest them and performed the routine to them as if a performance – while Lucy remained centre stage. I also really liked the dance break in the middle of the number (which starts at 3:08 on the video) as instead of going straight into a traditional high energy dance routine, they use the idea of freezes followed by short bursts of stylised chorus line choreography, which comes across as really clean and effective. In this version they end the last chorus with all the girls on the ‘stage’ area performing the choreography in unison but facing outwards (almost in a circle shape) to the men watching.

The third version I watched was of the 2015 National Tour, and although it was a professional performance I wasn’t as impressed with the way it was staged as personally I don’t think it encompassed the atmosphere of the club very well and was presented in a way that made it seem like any number in a show rather than a performance that was taking place in the club as part of the entertainment. I think this is because unlike the other versions there was little to no background movement and action taking place around the edge of the stage while Lucy was singing and so it felt much more staged and less naturalistic. In this version the other prostitutes were on stage with Lucy the majority of the time in a manner that was almost framing and drawing the attention to her – by creating a semi circular shape around her and posing in freezes around her. I noticed some similarities in choreography between this version and several of the other versions I had watched, such as the use of stylised freeze frames and creating a circle centre stage and moving around in this whilst making really subtle and sharp arm movements. Personally I thought lots of the choreography was a little strange and almost as if it couldn’t make up its mind as to whether it was background movement or full on choreography – which at times was a bit distracting and felt forced. Furthermore, the background dancers were occasionally doing movement that seemed unnecessary and took focus of the action rather than adding atmosphere. For example, at around 2:50 on the video the dancers in the background are in a staggered line and are crossing in and out of each other in time to the music with an added sway like step on the beat (which didn’t really fit the style or dynamic of the piece). From watching this I have figured out the types of movement and staging that I personally thinks works well for the song and the kind of choreography that I want to tray away from. Nevertheless, there were plenty of movements that I thought worked really well and were fitting of the style, such as the circular motif and the shimmying on the beats (like at 3:28), the can can inspired routines and the stylised freezes. Overall, this version of ‘Bring on the Men’ got stronger as it went along and by the time they were past the dance break and the choreography and action was more ensemble and chorus based, it met the kind of energy and feel I had expected from the piece.


I was actually in a production of the musical ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ several years ago with a local amateur dramatics group and so had some prior knowledge on the plot of  musical as well as some of the songs. I played one of the prostitutes in the brothel/club that Lucy works at and where the song ‘Bring on The Men’ takes place, which has given me some insight and ideas as to how the song might be performed in relation to the rest of our narrative. In our version of the show there was a lot of dancing and choreography that also involved the men in the club, however I’m not sure this will be possible with the cast we have for this production as not many of the males in our company are particularly strong dancers. Nevertheless, there is no reason why they couldn’t have simplified versions of the movement or just be used to dress the stage and assist with lifts or partner work if necessary. In addition, the dancing doesn’t have to be perfect as in a piece like this it will most likely be character driven rather than technique based.


Instrumental track

I have found an instrumental track we can use to rehearse with and potentially use in the performance, however we will have to cut and edit this to fit our requirements as we did speak about cutting out some of the sections to shorten the song slightly.

As well as this the instrumental version sounds extremely synthesised and false so it my be more worthwhile speaking to Paul (MD) to create a backing track for us or to record himself playing the piano accompaniment.


Bring on the Men Lyrics

Myself, Sian and Emma went through the lyrics of the song together and split the verses and individual lines depending on our individual characters and their views on men and general character types. I have indicated on the lyrics below which of us we feel should sing each section. Note, I have written a separate post outlining the reasons for these decisions.

 

Lyrics

EMMA: There was a time
I don’t know when
I didn’t have much time for men
But this is now and that was then, I’m learning

A girl alone, all on her own
Must try to have a heart of stone

EMMA, BETH, SIAN:
So I try not to make it known my yearning
I try to show I have no need
I really do, I don’t succeed

EMMA, BETH, SIAN:

So lets bring on the men
And let the fun begin
A little touch of sin
Why wait another minute

Step this way it’s time for us to play
They say we may not pass this way again
So let’s waste no more time
Bring on the men

SIAN:

I always knew, I always said
A silk and lace in black and red
Will drive a man right off his head, it’s easy

So many men, so little time
I want them all, is that a crime,

ALL: No!

SIAN:
I don’t know why they say that I’m too easy

SIAN: They make me laugh,

EMMA: They make me cry

BETH: They make me sick

EMMA, BETH SIAN: So God knows why

ALL (INC. COMPANY):

We say bring on the men
And let the fun begin
A little touch of sin
Why wait another minute

Step this way it’s time for us to play
They say we may not pass this way again
So let’s waste no more time
Bring on the men

BETH: They break your heart
They steal your soul
Take you apart
And yet they somehow make you whole

So what’s their game
I suppose a rose by any other name
The perfume and the pricks the same

CUT SECTION [I like to have a man for breakfast each day
I’m very social and I like it that way
By late mid-morning I need something to munch
So I ask over 2 men for lunch

And men are mad about my afternoon tea’s
They’re quite informal I just do it to please
Those triple sandwiches are my favourite ones
I’m also very, partial to buns 

My healthy appetite gets strongest at night
My at home dinners are my men friends delight
When I invite the fellas over to dine
They all come early, in bed by nine!] CUT SECTION

ALL (INC. COMPANY): So let’s bring on the men
And let the fun begin
A little touch of sin
Why wait another minute

Step this way it’s time for us to play

EMMA, BETH, SIAN:
They say we may not pass this way again
So let’s waste no more time
Bring on the men!

ALL OTHER COMPANY:

Big men, small men, short men, tall men
I guess that means almost all men
I’m a player, as long as they are men, men, men!

 


Bibliography:

http://stageagent.com/shows/musical/292/jekyll-hyde/plot

http://www.metrolyrics.com/bring-on-the-men-lyrics-linda-eder.html

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