“Murder, Murder” from Jekyll and Hyde

The people who think Frank Wildhorn’s Jekyll and Hyde musical is a piece of sensationalist trash like to cite this song as though it proved their argument, and even those who view it as a guilty pleasure tend to see this as something of a low point in the score. But the devoted fanbase who unreservedly revere the show tend to relish it as a ghoulish delight, and the truth is that they have a point: for what it’s intended to be, this song is pretty successful. Unlike the other song from this score that everyone complains about, “Facade”, which is actually quite dark and glowering, this song was clearly designed from the beginning to be intentionally cheesy. After all, Jekyll and Hyde‘s camp element is at least partially intentional, and this is simply the most overt example of that. The result is an utterly unique novelty number, simultaneously spine-chilling and enjoyably silly, a kind of much campier equivalent to “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd”. And the goofy lyrics which everyone complains about (like ‘To kill outside St. Paul’s/requires a lot of balls’) are clearly a deliberate component of that effect. They may be invoking the enjoyably bad on purpose in this number, but that’s a time-honored art in musical theater, and if it works (and it does), then this song is ‘good’ on the same evidence as, say, The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Baby June’s numbers in Gypsy.

Verdict: Good.

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