Come One, Come All for THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME at UD Summer Stage

Come One, Come All for THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME at UD Summer StageSomething big is coming to the Philadelphia region. Upper Darby Summer Stage presents the Philadelphia regional premiere of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" on July 28 & 29, August 4 & 5 at 7:30 pm and July 29 and August 5 at 1:30 pm. Performances take place at Upper Darby Performing Arts Center.

Audience members will be deeply moved by the beauty and the beast story of the deformed bell ringer and the beautiful gypsy who gives him one moment of feeling loved. Based on Victor Hugo's powerful novel and adapted from the Disney film, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is nothing less than an epic production. It is a dramatic tale of complex relationships, featuring a gorgeous, spine-tingling score created by musical legends Alan Menken and Steven Schwartz.

Tickets for this production are affordable ranging from $13 to $17 enabling anyone to experience a professional, high standard production. Tickets may be purchased at udpac.org or by calling the box office at 610.622.1189.

The Upper Darby Performing Arts Center is located at 601 N. Lansdowne Avenue, minutes from the Main Line and Center City. The performance is approximately 2.5 hours, including intermission. Parking is free. The production is appropriate for children 12 and up.

Upper Darby Summer Stage has been selected as the first theatre in the Philadelphia region to tackle this emotional story, exploring the good and evil tendencies inside of everyone. Adding to the spectacle is an onstage choir. The Mainstage production is not a children's theater show and is performed by talented young adults.

Set in fifteenth-century Paris, Quasimodo (Patrick Walsh of Aldan), the deformed bell ringer longs to escape the cathedral walls to experience "One day out there." Holding him back is the devious Claude Frollo (Chris Monaco of Wallingford), Quasimodo's reluctant caretaker. Quasimodo flees the cathedral, encountering the beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda (Sierra Wilson of Upper Darby) on the Feast of Fools. Quasimodo is abused and shunned but Esmeralda comforts him and he feels love for the first time in his life. As Frollo embarks on a mission to destroy the gypsies, Esmeralda becomes entangled in a love triangle and is at the center of this dramatic tale.

This production features a professional staff including fantastic costume, set, and lighting designers. Jeff Dietzler is the director, with Jenna Rogalski choreographing and music direction by Gina Giachero. The talented choir of program alumni is being directed by Eric Longo. The set, designed by Martin Dallago, is the largest ever at Upper Darby Performing Arts Center; creating a cathedral including giant bells and a sweeping staiNed Glass window. Costume design will be done by Mary Folino.

This complex story is driven by the sweeping, lush music created by musical icons Alan Menken and Steven Schwartz. Disney musical genius Menken composed the stage and film musicals "Beauty and the Beast", "The Little Mermaid", "Newsies", "Aladdin", and "Little Shop of Horrors." He has won numerous awards including eight Oscars, 11 Grammys, seven Golden Globes, and the Tony. "Hunchback" lyricist Stephen Schwartz wrote the music and lyrics for the musical masterpiece "Wicked" as well as "Pippin" and contributed to many other productions. His collaboration with Alan Menken on "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" makes for a powerful duo.

"Hunchback of Notre Dame" director Jeff Dietzler speaks about this epic production. "I am incredibly passionate about this show and about Upper Darby Summer Stage being the location for the Philadelphia regional premiere of this masterpiece, said Dietzler. "The level of heart and dedication of the actors is what will make this production stand out from others."

Composer Alan Menken spoke about the production in an interview. "It's much more than simply a Disney animated musical brought to the stage," said Menken. "It's a pretty serious musical. It represents a huge coming together of talent. It's anything but a musical comedy. It's a musical drama."

Acting as Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer, is Patrick Walsh of Aldan. He speaks about the complexities of the character and the physical demands of this role. "It's this beautiful irony that the one person who can bring the city together by ringing the bells at the beginning of church cannot even go out and exist among them," said Walsh. "The physicality is difficult but that almost makes it easier to understand his mentality. But this show is so exciting and stunning that once we get going I can't even feel the energy it takes to pull it off, it just happens."

For more information about "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and Upper Darby Summer Stage's 42nd season visit udpac.org.

Each season Upper Darby Summer Stage presents a spectacular, full-scale musical Mainstage production. Aspiring actors ages 18-28, along with Children's Theater "graduates" have the opportunity to audition. Mainstage members rehearse in the evenings during the summer, beginning in early June and culminating in performances in late July.

The Mainstage productions at Summer Stage have been deemed "Broadway in Delaware County." Professional set, lighting, and costume designers add to the magic each year. The heart, dedication, and passion of the actors make each show unforgettable.

Upper Darby Summer Stage is not only a great place to see a spectacular show, but also a great place for students to grow as artists and as people. Visit udpac.org for more information.

Pictured: Chris Monaco of Wallingford as Claude Frollo, Sierra Wilson of Upper Darby as Esmeralda, and Patrick Walsh of Aldan as Quasimodo. Photo by Cate R. Paxson.




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