Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a four-act play written by Thomas Russell Sullivan in collaboration with the actor Richard Mansfield. It is an adaptation of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, an 1886 novella by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. The story focuses on the respected London doctor Henry Jekyll and his involvement with Edward Hyde, a loathsome criminal. After Hyde murders the father of Jekyll's fiancée, Jekyll's friends discover that he and Jekyll are the same person; Jekyll has developed a potion that allows him to transform himself into Hyde and back again. When he runs out of the potion, he is trapped as Hyde and commits suicide before he can be arrested. After reading the novella, Mansfield was intrigued by the opportunity to play a dual role. He secured the right to adapt the story for the stage in the United States and the United Kingdom, and asked Sullivan to write the adaptation. The play debuted in Boston in May 1887, and a revised version opened on Broadway in September of that year. Critics acclaimed Mansfield's performance as the dual character. The play was popular in New York and on tour, and Mansfield was invited to bring it to London. It opened there in August 1888, just before the first Jack the Ripper murders. Some press reports compared the murderer to the Jekyll-Hyde character, and Mansfield was suggested as a possible suspect. Despite significant press coverage, the London production was a financial failure. Mansfield's company continued to perform the play on tours of the U.S. until shortly before his death in 1907. In writing the stage adaptation, Sullivan made several changes to the story; these included creating a fiancée for Jekyll and a stronger moral contrast between Jekyll and Hyde. The changes have been adopted by many subsequent adaptations, including several film versions of the story which were derived from the play. The films included a 1912 adaptation directed by Lucius Henderson, a 1920 adaptation directed by John S. Robertson, and a 1931 adaptation directed by Rouben Mamoulian, which earned Fredric March an Academy Award for Best Actor. A 1941 adaptation, directed by Victor Fleming, was a remake of the 1931 film.
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