Friday, July 25, 2008

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Currently playing at Bailiwick Repertory Theater is a musical version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Book, Music and Lyrics by Dennis Deyoung (based on the novel, Notre-Dame de Paris, by Victor Hugo). As with the novel, the musical evokes both Paris and the Cathedral along with its story of star-crossed lovers. We are shown the encounter of beauty and the beast; the rivalry of the lovers (Priest, Hunchback and Soldier); the people with gypsies and their underworld; and, the impact on these characters' lives of fate, free will and the nature of desire. The Priest Frollo is torn between his duty to the church and the desires of his flesh for the lovely Esmerelda. Esmerelda is awakened from her simple innocence as she faces a fate leading inexorably to death and (a return to?) Paradise with Quasimodo who, being the true innocent and outsider, attempts to save her as her vision replaces his love for the Bells of Notre Dame.
In the performance I attended last night the cast performed well with Evan D'Angeles, Gregory Franklin and Dana Tretta notable in the roles of Quasimodo, Frollo and Esmerelda, respectively; while Liz Pazik's portrayal of the gypsy Mahiette was outstanding. Deyoung's music with fine pacing and a mix of lively rhythms and love ballads helped the evening move along swiftly as the timeless story of ill-fated love kept the audience enthralled. The performance ended with a well-deserved standing ovation.

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