Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME is Powerful at The Baldwinsville Theatre Guild

Review: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME is Powerful at The Baldwinsville Theatre Guild
Liam Fitzpatrick as Quasimodo in the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild's production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Photo by Amelia Beamish (AB Photography).

Baldwinsville Theatre Guild, an ambitious community theatre in Central New York, repeatedly tackles some challenging large-scale musicals to show off local talents. Their latest musical production is none other than The Hunchback of Notre Dame, featuring a principal cast of ten, an ensemble of seven, a 22-member choir, and a live orchestra under the meticulous direction of Abel Searor.

The musical - which unfortunately did never make it to Broadway following a world premiere at Papermill Playhouse - is based on the Victor Hugo novel. With music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Peter Parnell the musical is passionate, powerful, and dramatic. While the musical features songs from the Disney film of the same name, theatergoers shouldn't walk in to the performance expecting to see the Disney film on stage. Yes, it features the songs from the film and familiar characters. However, this musical production digs deeper into the characters and the underlying message. Additional songs advance the plot and contribute to further character development.

The production is a real treat to attend at The Baldwinsville Theatre Guild.

First, Josh Taylor's set design works well for the space and allows for easy scene changes. The set makes the audience feel like they are up in the bell tower with Quasimodo (Liam Fitzpatrick) and all of his friends. Other standout technical elements include costumes by Stephanie Long, and lighting by Liam Fitzpatrick.

The live orchestra is right in front of the audience. An equally choir powerful choir, placed on each side of the orchestra, sings passionately as the cast brings the story to life. Unfortunately, the performance I attended was plagued by distracting sound troubles. The sound was muffled, or cut out completely at times during the musical numbers, which took away from some of the performances. Still, the cast delivers the roles with passion and commitment.

Liam Fitzpatrick, who is no stranger to theatergoers in this area, stars as the outcast, Quasimodo. Fitzpatrick seems to have a deep connection to and understanding of this complicated character. His devotion to the role is evident throughout. The role is a vocally demanding one, with some high belting numbers. He gave his all in performing "Out There," and "Heaven's Light," and his rendition of "Made of Stone" was full of passion. Fitzpatrick's voice did crack on quite a few songs especially as he was belting full out, although it seemed like he might have had a cold. His professionalism shined through though.

A confident and enchating Ceara Windhausen charms as the Gypsy girl Esmerelda that befriends Quasimodo. She sang "God Help the Outcasts" beautifully, but unfortunately it was one of the numbers where the sound system wasn't functioning well. Her duet with Fitzpatrick on "Top of the World" is adorable and charming. It showed off their chemistry and was a highlight of the evening. During Act II, she puts her acting skills to the test as she embodies this girl that would rather burn than give herself up to Frollo (Bob Brown).

Speaking of Frollo, Bob Brown steals the show with his deep, powerful, and professional vocals. His vocals are hypnotic throughout, but the number "Hellfire" was a showstopper for me. Brown's vocals were a key to that number's success, along with contributions from the ensemble and choir, and choreography by Stephfond Brunson.

Paul Thompson is confident, comedic, and charming as Captain Phoebus de Martin. His vocals shine in the musical numbers, including alongside Ceara Windhausen in the memorable duet, "Someday."

Other standout performances include Taylor Peck as Florika and Corey Hopkins as Saint Aphrodisius. Josh Taylor entertains as Clopin in the number "Topsy Turvy" and and Kristina Abbot's (Madam) clear and confident vocals make many of her solo moments a highlight.

Baldwinsville Theatre Guild's production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is truly powerful and passionate. It's very well done, especially for a community theatre. The vocals and story take center stage.

Running time: Approximately two and a half hours with one twenty-minute intermission.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame presented by The Baldwinsville Theatre Guild runs through February 10, 2018. For tickets and information on this production and upcoming productions at the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild, click here.




From This Author - Natasha Ashley

Natasha Ashley has been a reviewer for Broadway World for quite a few years covering numerous productions throughout Central New York. She was born and raised in the suburbs of Syracuse, New York. Natasha... (read more about this author)


BWW Review: The REV Theatre Company Presents ALMOST HEAVEN, THE SONGS OF JOHN DENVER
September 13, 2021

The REV Theatre Company in Auburn, New York ends their 2021 summer season with Almost Heaven, The Songs of John Denver under the direction and choreography of Brett Smock. The title says it all, it is in fact over twenty songs by John Denver and others along with orchestrations and vocal arrangements by Jeff Waxman and original concept by Harold Thau.

BWW Review: The Rev Theatre Company Presents 42ND STREET
July 6, 2021

42nd Street is without a doubt a must see at The Rev Theatre Company in Auburn, New York. The treat to see a live performance, or to perform in one, is something that I think we will not take for granted again. Theater is essential and this production proves that. The heart, songs, dancing, and the powerful performances that the entire cast and production team bring to The Rev’s production of 42nd Street is something that those who love live theater have missed so much. We welcome you back with open arms. 

BWW Review: Syracuse Stage Presents a Virtual Streaming Production of TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES, 1992
February 6, 2021

Syracuse Stage never ceases to amaze me with their eye for productions, casting, and unique presentations. I have to say I was concerned when I saw that this streaming production was three hours long. However, it was three hours very well spent. Syracuse Stage’s production of the stunning documentary drama Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 by Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright Anna Deavere Smith is beautifully and creatively directed by Steve H. Broadnax III.

BWW Feature: Syracuse Stage Presents a Heartwarming Digital Production of HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
December 17, 2020

Shows CANCELLED! That seems to be the trend for theatrical productions in 2020. The holidays and shows are two things that go perfectly together. People love memories, traditions, treats, and entertainment for the Holidays and for many, that means a special trip with family and friends to the theater. For the performers performing during the Holidays, it is a time to bring joy to the audience and to celebrate with their theater family.

BWW Review: Redhouse Presents IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY
December 13, 2020

Syracuse’s beloved Redhouse Arts Center once again let their creativity shine through as they found a way to still bring a production of the classic Holiday story, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play to virtual viewers.