OVST Hunchback

Esmerelda (Hannah McCaulley), has a powerful moment as she sings “God Help the Outcasts” in OVST’s production of the musical version of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Photo by Riley Perone.

Ohio Valley Summer Theater’s 2019 offering brings “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” to an area stage for the very first time, at Ohio University’s Forum Theater.

The local production will take place for three three-day weekends from Thursday, July 11, through Sunday, July 28. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday show times are at 7:30 p.m., Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Inspired by Victor Hugo’s gothic novel, and with songs from Disney’s 1996 animated classic, this version of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” was adapted for the stage by the creative team of Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz, and Peter Parnell in 2014.

According to the plot summary included in a news release from OVST, “Quasimodo, the sequestered 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 of bondage, 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.

In the news release, the play’s music director Devin Sudman said, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame is the fifth production I have worked on with Ohio Valley Summer Theatre, and it is by far the most thrilling experience I have had bringing music to the stage. To bring this show to life we had to cast an ensemble of about 30 actors, a choir of 10, and recruit 10 musicians from the Ohio University School of Music and the Athens Community...

“The man who wrote all of this incredible music is Alan Menken. Mr. Menken is no stranger to the theatre world as he also wrote the music for some of the most popular musicals to date – “Beauty and the Beast,” “Sister Act,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Newsies” and so much more.”

Over the past 185 years, the release said, Hugo’s masterpiece has been made into 13 films, five movies made for television, five non-musical adaptations, eight musicals, six operas, five ballets, and a video game. 

The production is directed by Dustin Brown, with musical direction by Sudman and choreography by Jill Iverson.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and children. Advance tickets are available at ovst.org or by calling 740-535-OVST (6878), and also will be sold at the door. All seating is assigned. The production is sponsored by Hocking Valley Bank and Hocking Valley Financial Solutions.

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