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PCPA Presents ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ —  The Musical

PCPA will present a musical version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the Marian Theatre, 1100 S. Bradley Road, Santa Maria, April 26-May 13, and Solvang Festival Theatre, 420 Second St., June 14-July 8.

Inspired by Victor Hugo’s gothic novel and songs from the Disney animated feature, this version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame was adapted for the stage by Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz and Peter Parnell in 2014.

Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer of the Notre Dame Cathedral, has spent his life locked in a tower by his guardian, archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo.

Longing to be with other people, Quasimodo escapes to spend one day "out there," which leads to his chance encounter with the enchanting gypsy, Esmeralda.

Quasimodo isn’t the only one captivated by her free spirit though. The handsome Captain Phoebus and Frollo are equally enthralled.

As the three vie for her attention and Frollo attempts to destroy the gypsies, powerful forces propel each of them toward their fate, be it malevolent, graceful, loving or heroic.

The cast includes: Erik Stein as Frollo, Nick Tubbs as Quasimodo, George Walker as Clopin, Jeff Salsbury as Phoebus, and Amani Dorn as Esmeralda, plus Karin Hendricks, Andrew Philpot and Leo Cortez.

Under the direction of PCPA veteran Brad Carroll, the creative team includes:

Katie Fuchs-Wackowski, choreographer; Paul Marszalkowski, music director; Jason Bolen, scenic designer; Eddy L. Barrows, costume designer; Jennifer ‘Z’ Zornow, lighting designer; and Elisabeth Weidner, sound designer.

Production stage manager is Ellen Beltramo.

Over the past 185 years, The Hunchback of Notre Dame has been adapted numerous times; it’s been made into 13 films, five movies made for TV, five non-musical adaptations, eight musicals, six operas, five ballets, and a video game.

In an interview with PLAYBILL, composer Menken said the character of Quasimodo is the perfect example “of ugly on the outside and beautiful on the inside. That strikes a chord with everyone.”

Schwartz was so determined to connect to Quasimodo’s perspective on the world that he wrote the lyrics to “Out There” in the bell tower of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

“I brought my little yellow pad up there with me and scrawled lyrics,” he said. “It was very helpful just for getting a feeling of what it must have been like for the character of Quasimodo to have lived his entire life up there."

The PCPA adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame uses the age-old convention of story theater, a theatrical device in which an ensemble of storytellers not only narrate the story but also take on various roles.

“I find this style of theater particularly captivating because it asks the actors and the audience alike to journey together into a realm of shared imagination,” Carroll said.

In telling this epic story of love rendered impossible, the performance features theatrical elements of melodrama, medieval pageantry, religious ceremony, musical theater, opera, and — Disney.

For Carroll, the larger-than-life yet completely human characters each represent a conflict of opposites.

“Frollo and Esmeralda are both, at once, fire and ice; Quasimodo is inner beauty but external ‘damage,’ Phoebus is external beauty but inner ‘damage.’ These opposing factors, so human and so real, are the forces that drive the action of the play,” Carroll said.

“The compelling question posed by this musical: What makes a monster and what makes a man? — is a question that seems to be both as old as time and as current as today’s headlines," he said.

"And then there is the larger question, are we either one or the other? Or, does the potential exist in all of us for both?” he said.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is best enjoyed by children 9 years and older, with a note that there is some representation of violence against women.

Tickets for Marian Theater performances are $34.50-$46.50, with discounts for senior, student, children, military, and preview performances April 26-27.

Tickets for Solvang Festival Theater are $39-$57.50, with discounts for senior, student, children, military, and preview performances June 14-15.

Call the box office, 922-8313, or visit www.pcpa.org.

— Craig Shafer for PCPA.


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