Goodbye Jekyll and Hyde Club, Goodbye Steady Acting Gig

Once upon a time, not long ago, I worked in a magical place.

I would walk in the door and the candle-esque lighting would make all my skin issues vanish. The red carpeting and jazz music would relax me after my commute, shoving through the crowds of Times Square. I’d walk up the staircase, resisting the impulse to scare the people rounding the corner. descending in the opposite direction.

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At the top of stairs I’d be greeted by the familiar row of skeletons and then but my co-workers who might double take and then say “Oh hellooooo!” in a uniform high-pitched warble. On my way to clock in, I’d see a kid gawking at Pharaoh Carcassotep, the resident Egyptian mummy, and bite my tongue to keep from saying something cheeky. After clocking in, I’d head to the dressing room.

That’d be the last anyone saw of me for hours.

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This isn’t me. This is Prunella Demyse, the social director of the Dr. Jekyll’s social club. She plans parties, she wants you to donate blood for the vampire cocktail party that’s later tonight.

Oh sure, you’d recognize the being who emerged from the dressing room garbed in read and black lace. But you’d hear her far before you saw her. Piercing shrieks and lilting, deafening trills constantly plummeted from her well rouged lips always with a slight British sophistication. She was a banshee after all, what else would you expect?

Well, technically half banshee. Mama was a banshee and papa was a strange little man with an affinity for banshees. Which makes me half undead. I know, it’s dreadfully complicated, I don’t want to bore you to tears with details, dahling!

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I had the privilege of being an actor at The Jekyll and Hyde Club in Times Square for the whole two years it was open. I would say theme restaurant, Prunella (my character) would say Dr. Jekyll’s incredibly exclusive social club for mad scientists and explorers. It was a wonderfully unique place where actors play creepy and kooky characters would run around interacting with restaurant goers. The “artifacts” on the wall were all animatronics that would pop to life and talk to you. See that elephant way in the back? He could wave his trunk around. The Sphinx statue could see your future. The mummy I mentioned in the beginning was likely to curse you. A cranky gargoyle, a two-headed girl, a singing werewolf- they were all part of the decor.

One of Dr. Jekyll’s associates was experimenting on reanimation of the dead and he’d show you his progress made in his experiments with a “Frankenstein Show” every hour. It feels weird to call it a show. I’ve only ever spoken about it as a very serious, madly controversial scientific experiment before.

Here, you can watch someone’s entirely unprofessional filming of the show on Youtube, if you’d like! I’m not in it but my awesome friend Scott is:

So maybe you’ve noticed I’ve been speaking in past tense…. Perhaps you’ve guessed why?

At the end of March, The Jekyll and Hyde Club lost their lease. Abruptly, with so little warning the whole cast was left stunned, they closed their doors for good.

Oh, I’ve mostly recovered. But part of me will always miss being able to make children laugh by asking if I can bake them into a pie.

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I have child pie on my breath but my beloved friend Col. Bumble doesn’t mind!

What, you didn’t know banshees baked children into pies? Well, that’s cause I totally made it up. You can’t imagine how fun it is to see the different reactions from children when their faced with the question. Looks of fear and worry from the little ones still grappling with real vs pretend. I can’t remember ever failing to dissolve that fear into laughter and joy. Maybe I just blocked them out. Still, it was a challenge I created for myself and I’m pretty proud of how successful I was.

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Part of me misses my steady acting gig. No matter how many rejections I got, no matter what promising projects dissolved, The Jekyll and Hyde Club was always there. Entertaining people, it’s my passion, one I knew would be fulfilled whenever I walked in the door. It wasn’t just entertaining people, it was creative freedom. My interactions with people were entirely unscripted. I’d approach a table of tourists, find out they only spoke Hungarian, and take the challenge to make them all laugh, communication barrier be damned! Okay, my success rate there wasn’t quite as high as with the kids, but it still in the ball park.

Now I have all these jokes I’ll never use again! I got really good at setting up single ladies with the shrunken heads behind the bar! Completely useless skill now. Who will listen to my cautionary tale about the danger of dolls getting possessed by demons if you leave them lying around with out their clothes on?

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I left my Druscilla Dreadful Doll lying about completely naked and she got possessed by a demon. Don’t let this happen to you!

I also miss the many romances I started at Jekyll and Hyde. Good times, fellas, good times.

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First there was Rupert. His face got frozen like this. (He’s made out of rubber!)
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Then Stanley and I were an item. He always made me feel fat.
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Last and kinda least, Archibald, who made me feel dead inside.

Whatever! I won’t miss them! They’re all dead to me!

I will miss my amazing co-workers. You’ll never find more talented, creative, supportive bunch around. From actors to servers, from hosts to dishwashers. It was magical, guys, it really was. We all got together on the last night, for the last “Frankenstein Show” and it was completely insane, special, and just a touch sad. Fortunately, there are still karaoke nights in our future, I’m sure. I’m not as fun and outgoing as Prunella, but I’m also not as obnoxious and creepy! Yay!

Thanks and love to everyone who made Jekyll and Hyde magical.

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About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

19 thoughts on “Goodbye Jekyll and Hyde Club, Goodbye Steady Acting Gig

  1. I am so sad that the Jekyll and Hyde Club closed 🙁 It sounds a lot like the Adventurers Club at Disney World and I am guessing that it was just as much fun. Any chance they will open somewhere else?

    1. They have a location in the village and perhaps now that they’re focusing on it instead on Times Square, it’ll become more of a destination!

      Would you believe I’ve never been to Disney World? Nor Disney Land! None of it! #deprivedchild 😉

      1. I believe that you never had a chance to go to Disney, I went for my honeymoon. Unfortunately, they closed the Adventurer’s Club in Disney World a few years ago. So sad

      2. The rain forest café went through this same problem operating cost was too high and retail space cost too much. The way they fixed it was to go into super high traffic areas like malls entertainment centers and they still have about 28 rainforest Café’s. Maybe they can open in spooky world located in Massachusetts

    2. The adventurers club was just as awesome as this. So very sad that both are closed. NYC is lacking in this area- no good Tiki bars either!

    3. That’s my question too – are they going to open another one? It was so magical and beautiful. My friends thought the whole idea was silly, but ended up leaving the restaurant the way kids leave a Disneyland ! Also, it’s shocking to invest so much money in such a vast interior (carpeted walls and ceilings for example!) for only a couple of years of lease (?)! I loved going there, but didn’t enjoy the actors. For example, the first time I went there with a friend of mine I haven’t seen in a year or so, started discussing serious life-subjects and were not in a mood for interruptions…We were nice of course, smiled, tried to participate…Also, they were busy on weekends, but weekdays were dead – what happened with marketing ? None of my colleagues at work including some real new yorkers have never even heard of that place!

    1. supposedly they’re sprucing the village one up…but yeah….. I wish you could’ve gone to the one in Times Square! It was really nice, the bare even drew locals (in Times Square!)

      1. Just left the village one for the first time today. 3 tables of customers only. Not spruced up and food was really nasty. I thought when I asked the taxi driver to take me there that I was headed to the times square one I’ve been to before. Then I realized I was dropped off in fruit loop central at one that was very disappointing

  2. It may have been in a different location, or something but i went there in 1998 ish with friends, finding out you worked there was amazing we hoped to one day be down there and be able to stop in to eat. good luck in all you do in your fine acting career!

  3. I really feel like crying. My friends and I had been to J&H every time we came to the city together. We referred to it as our clubhouse. We met you once last memorial day and we discussed plans for a bbq. LOL

    We had nothing but wonderful experiences and were devastated the last time we visited and found the Times Square location closed.

    I wish you all the best of luck in the future. And thank you for the memories.

  4. We loved the Times Square location. My daughter Julia was a “regular” there – and loved every bit of it. We only just found out that the location closed – and she is SO sad. Just know that you entertained at least one kid consistently for the time you were open – and have left her awfully sad now… Do let us know if any of you are going to land elsewhere… She’d love to follow you. Dunno what’s going to be our go-to Times Square spot now. 🙁

  5. I just wanted to say that I only found out today that it closed and I started crying! Really, crying! I celebrated my 22nd birthday there because I wanted something different and it was amazing and so much fun, with the sparklers and the singing and all the actors. Then the Chamber of Horrors was so much fun and my friends were screaming. The actors were kind enough to let us pose with them at the end, as if they were attacking us!

    I even went there for a date and took my mom for her birthday there so this places has a lot of happy, wonderful memories. I loved the details in the furniture and pictures and the chandeliers, the music most of all, and I’m glad I’ve taken so many pictures of my time there. I was so sad because I wanted to take even more people there and if someone would ask what there is to do in NYC I’d say to go the Jekyll and Hyde Restaurant! I’m still somewhat sad and I visited it just to see it for myself and take a few shots of the facade.

    So anyway, thank you for being a part of that. It really was a magical place.

  6. I am so saddened to hear this! We took our daughter here for her 10th birthday party and they had such a wonderful time. NYC landlords suck.

  7. I been there so many times…

    I even bought my jekyll and Hyde club membership there… I hope they open again someplace else.. the one in the village is nothing compared to the one that was at Times Square

  8. I got to bring my daughter to both midtown locations when she came up for her visits. Was really disappointed when I brought the family to “Finding Neverland” and saw J&H Times Square was gone as well.

    Irony is that they lost their lease; the property remains vacant and no work appears to be going on to change it to something else.

    🙁

  9. Luckily, an ex boyfriend took me to this place years ago for a beer. He thought it was the neatest place and wanted to show me. Since Hewas a bartender, He also spent part of our time wandering around thinking out loud and calculating how much money you’d make at one of the many bars. While I didn’t try the food I imagine it was pretty similar to thehard rock cafe in quality…
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