This musical thriller, with book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and music by Frank Wildhorn, never rises above the level of melodrama, but it's thumping good melodrama. The tale of the good Dr. Jekyll and his monstrous alter ego (which appeared in the late '90s on Broadway, where this production is slated to return) is staged rather stodgily until it takes a headlong leap into expressionism, with a dazzling array of projections, sound and lighting effects that are riveting in themselves. Composer Wildhorn is a clever craftsman, but his score is more successful dramatically than musically. And too many of the songs seem less designed to advance the plot than to showcase the virtuosity of the singers. Fortunately, there are a couple of virtuosos on hand to do the honors. Constantine Maroulis, an American Idol finalist, is spectacular as both Jekyll and Hyde, and Deborah Cox makes a striking figure as Lucy, the good-bad-girl who attracts the attentions of both. There's a smashingly clever denouement, superior to superior to previous endings I've seen in film versions. In the more conventionally written roles, there are strong vocal performances by Teal Wicks, Laird Mackintosh and Richard White. Tobin Ost's lavish sets and costumes, Jeff Calhoun's brisk direction and Daniel Brodie's projection design enhance both drama and spectacle. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m. (no eve perf March 3); through March 3. ((800) 982-2787,

Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Starts: Feb. 12. Continues through March 3, 2013

LA Weekly