Big cast musical

Seacoast Repertory Theatre unveils adaptation of Victor Hugo’s ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’

February 07. 2018 12:53PM


PORTSMOUTH — Broadway veteran Bryan Knowlton will direct the Seacoast Repertory Theatre’s next production, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

The big-cast musical will open the theater’s 30th year on Friday and run through March 4.

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” features music of the 1996 Disney animated movie, with a story closer to the original French novel by Victor Hugo.

The tale surrounds deformed bell-ringer Quasimodo (Jason Faria), who escapes captivity in the cathedral to experience a Parisian festival. Quasimodo ends up enraptured with a beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda (Kelley Davies), and ensnared in a fight to save the gypsies.

The production, set in the 15th century, honors Hugo’s devotion to architecture and poetry, while depicting a universal theme of human connection.

“Quasimodo is bound to a tower observing other people’s happiness,” Knowlton said. “Quasimodo has a light inside of him. It’s just burning to be received, and accepted.”

The original novel’s emotional depth and realism are conveyed by the songs, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.

“Both gentlemen, with their music, have given inspiration to create the environment,” Knowlton said. “Whether you are in the cathedral or on a tower, you’ll hear the bells you’ll hear the bells in people’s voices. They really captured the essence of locales.

“It’s some of the most stunning music I’ve heard in a musical. Literally the opening number alone, it will send chills down your spine. You’ll hear about 25 people belting out this music,” Knowlton added.

Knowlton is a veteran New York performer who got his start at the Seacoast Rep as a youth. From dancing roles on Broadway and national tours, he has shifted roles to build a career as a choreographer and director.

The Seacoast Rep’s show features a set design and costumes by “The Mad Men of Oopsy Daisy Inc,” i.e. Ben Hart and Brandon James. The creative duo has handled other Seacoast shows including “Reefer Madness,” “Oliver” and “Avenue Q.”

Show times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets to the preview Thursday night are $16 to $22; cost ranges from $20 to $38 during the production’s run at 125 Bow St. For more details or tickets, call 433-4472 or visit seacoastreporg.

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