Photo Flash: Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

The Hunchback of Notre Dame opens the Seacoast Repertory Theater's 30th year with a big-cast musical that is becoming a hit around the country, as the Portsmouth theater launches into its most ambitious schedule in years.

"This is our 30th season and we're really going big with it," said Miles Burns, Artistic Director of the Seacoast Rep. "There is all sorts of exciting stuff that we're trying this year that we've never tried."

The Hunchback of Notre Dame," which opens February 9, will be the first of eight Mainstage productions at the Seacoast Rep. That is up from six or seven in past years. The increase was made possible by strong attendance in recent seasons and a new work space that allows for more efficient set-building.

"We're doing more theater in our theater, and that's awesome," Burns said.

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 story tells of the deformed bell-ringer Quasimodo, who escapes his captivity in the cathedral to experience a Parisian festival. Quasimodo ends up enraptured with a beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda, and ensnared in a fight to save the gypsies.

The production honors Hugo's devotion to architecture and poetry, while depicting a universal theme of human connection, director Bryan Knowlton said. "Quasimodo is bound to a tower observing other people's happiness," he 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.

"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 said.

"Both gentlemen, with their music, have given inspiration to create the environment. 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."

Knowlton is a veteran New York performer who grew up in Portsmouth and 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 and has already won awards.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame premiered in Germany in 1999, and has caught on in U.S. regional theaters since its U.S. debut in 2014.

The Seacoast Rep's show features a set design and costumes by "The Mad Men of Oopsy Daisy Inc" - Ben Hart and Brandon James. The creative duo has dazzled Seacoast audiences with their shows including Reefer Madness, Oliver, and Avenue Q, which will be reprised this year.

"They have come up with some really brilliant stuff," Knowlton said. "Audiences in Portsmouth are going to be artistically really pleased."

The other Seacoast Rep Mainstage shows for its 30th season, besides Hunchback and Avenue Q, are: Lin Manuel's In the Heights, The Producers, The Who's Tommy, Xanadu, Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, and a holiday show whose title will be unveiled in July. The Seacoast's Red Light series and PAPA youth program will also have increased main stage exposure.

"This is a big season. We've got a lot of new challenges," Burns said. But "Hunchback" was his favorite Disney movie as a child and has a special meaning. "We have the right people and the right time with the right creativity to do this," he said.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame runs February 9 - March 4. Show times are Thursdays at 7:30, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm and 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets are available through the Seacoast Rep box office at 603-433-4472, or online at www.seacoastrep.org/hunchback. For student discounts, call the box office. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is proudly sponsored by Nibblesworth, Living Innovations, and Whole Life Healthcare. The Seacoast Repertory Theatre's 2018 season is sponsored in part by Bondgarden Farms, Portsmouth Public Media, MacEdge and the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel.

high res photos

Photo Flash: Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

Photo Flash: Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

Photo Flash: Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

Photo Flash: Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

Photo Flash: Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

Photo Flash: Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

Photo Flash: Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

Photo Flash: Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Seacoast Rep presents THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME


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