BWW Reviews: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME at Paper Mill Playhouse is Absolutely Extraordinary

By: Mar. 19, 2015

An all-new, inspired U.S. Premiere production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is now on stage at the Paper Mill Playhouse through April 5th. The well-known classic story by Victor Hugo is wholly entertaining and superbly executed with picture perfect staging. The production captures the themes of piety, humanity, adventure and romance in perfect measure. Bravo to Director, Scott Schwartz for his exquisite artful touches that make the show a true extravaganza. Chase Brock's lively choreographies are an ideal complement to the production. And with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Peter Parnell, the Millburn production is inimitable. See it soon, and see it again. It's that fantastic.

The stellar cast, talented ensemble and full chorus make each and every moment of the show entrancing. In this dramatic tale, the cripple Quasimodo (Michael Arden), a sympathetic character, is isolated in the bell tower of Notre Dame and raised by his pious uncle, Archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo (Patrick Page). Quasimodo longs to be with the people that he observes from his tower. One day, he steals away to the join in the revelry at the Festival of Fools led by gypsy, Clopin Trouillefou (Erik Liberman). But there, Quasimodo is ridiculed and tortured for his hideous appearance by the townspeople. Only the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda (Ciara Renee) shows him true compassion and kindness. And it is Esmeralda's charming allure that captivates Quasimodo, tempts Frollo and romances the cathedral guard, Captain Phoebus de Martin (Andrew Samonsky). This cast has mastered their roles to evoke the true nature of this timeless story that reaches deep into your soul and touches your heart. Quasimodo's naïve desires, Frollo's twisted morality, Phoebus' courage, Esmeralda's sincerity and Clopin's spirit are perfectly portrayed.

Stunning musical numbers abound in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The thirty-two member Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus lends wonderful vocals as the Congregation of Notre Dame. Incredibly memorable songs include the touching solo, Out There sung by Quasimodo; the spirited Topsy Turvy by Clopin and the Gypsies; God Help the Outcasts, a moving piece by Esmeralda; a magnificent, powerful rendition of Hellfire by Frollo and the beautiful romantic duet, Someday by Esmeralda and Phoebus.

The design team has brought Paris to the Millburn Stage, from the spectacular bell tower and cathedral setting to the bustling street scenes. The team includes scenic design by Alexander Dodge, costume design by Alejo Vietti, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Gareth Owen, hair and wig design by Charles LaPointe. Steve Rankin is the Fight Director and casting is by Tara Rubin Casting.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is sure to bring Millburn audiences to their feet at every performance. Get your tickets and be a part of this monumental theatrical event.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is presented by Special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Group and produced in association with La Jolla Playhouse. It will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Performance schedule: Wednesday at 7:00pm, Thursday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm, Friday at 7:00pm, Saturday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm and Sunday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm. Tickets are on sale now and range from $28 to $99. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680. College students can order $20 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office on the day of the performance.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy