Deborah Cox Talks New Role
By Mark Kennedy
Every performer has a special routine before hitting the stage. For the last few months, you may have found Deborah Cox singing into a computer.
The actress and singer was on a 25-week national tour with “Jekyll & Hyde,” which meant being apart from her husband and three young children back in Florida.
So before the curtain went up in places like Philadelphia or Dallas, Cox would sing lullabies to her oldest, 9-year-old Isaiah, who would take a computer to bed to hear mommy.
“That was the hardest thing when I made the decision to go out on the road: It would mean not being with them the way I want to,” she says, tearing up. “It was a tough time. Tough time. Tough time. Oh, I’m getting emotional.”
Those pre-curtain check-ins are still necessary, but the grueling road trip is thankfully over. A battle-tested “Jekyll & Hyde” has rolled into Broadway and opens this month at the Marquis Theatre.
“It’s the end of the road and the beginning of a new chapter,” Cox says in her new dressing room, a lit candle flickering on a coffee table and two newly delivered trunks with clothes and “lots of shoes” awaiting unpacking.
“It really tests your faith and your decision-making. But it makes you better. I’m a better performer because of it. I can handle anything now, I think,” she says. “We thugged it out, and grinded it out. And now we’re here.”
Cox seems the opposite of a diva, even though she has every right to be one. A slender beauty with a powerful voice, she is a Grammy Award nominee with six top 20 Billboard R&B singles.
She’s also a self-confessed introvert who adores foot massages and cheers with delight when drag queens sing her songs back to her. Cox, who turns 40 in July, has paid her dues and works hard. When it’s pointed out that her dressing room is labeled No. 2, she replies: “It has hardwood floors, so it’s No. 1 to me.”
In the musical, Cox plays Lucy, a brothel worker who is a love interest for both Jekyll and Hyde – the dual title role played by Constantine Maroulis – and belts out several songs including a sassy “Bring on the Men” and the torch song “Someone Like You.”
“It’s one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever done. She’s such an extrovert and so uninhibited and so sexy and such a vampy woman. It’s just a totally different character from who I am,” she says.
“I’m more introverted. I’m more a hopeless romantic. I’m much more positive and easygoing and non-confrontational. And Lucy is the complete opposite. I’m much more laid-back.”