BWW Review: CenterPoint's THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME is Intricate and Stirring
CenterPoint Legacy Theatre's extraordinary production of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME is visually intricate and emotionally stirring.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, book by Peter Parnell) is based on the classic Victor Hugo novel and includes songs from the Disney film. A retelling that is more faithful to the story's mature origins than the animated feature, it still features the deformed bell-ringer Quasimodo; his pious caretaker, Claude Frollo; the captain of the guard, Phoebus; and the kind gypsy girl, Esmeralda, who has entranced all three.
Alex Young (double cast with Christian Lackman) is a Quasimodo the audience sympathizes with, but he also manifests a streak of stubbornness and strength, which is just right for this telling of the tale. His singing voice is glorious.
Tyler Hanson as Frollo (double cast with Daniel Frederickson), Emily Wells as Esmeralda (double cast with Becca Burdick), and Russell Maxfield as Phoebus (double cast with Spencer McCoy) are also wonderfully cast, filling their roles with grace, edge, and talent.
The director, Alane Schultz, has created compelling layers of performance to tell the story efficiently but also with depth. The physical transitions are miraculous in their agility, moving easily from location to location while still fully visualizing each in impressive spectacle.
This feat is largely accomplished through a scenic design from Scott Van Dyke that is nothing short of genius. Deceptively simple at first glance, the set morphs into seemingly infinite possibilities, utilizing levels and perspective to striking effect.
(Typically set movement is accomplished by cast members, but occasionally black-clad crew members are needed to assist. In these cases, it is highly recommended that they be costumed to blend in with the cast members they are with. Otherwise, they pull the audience out of the story and detract from the smooth transitions.)
The costumes by Tammis Bloom are also remarkable, ranging in a variety of styles with great detail for every single cast member on the stage. The lighting by Mark Rencher effectively uses color to influence the mood while maintaining a sense of realism.
Ultimately, this production is astonishingly well-conceived and carried out. It does justice to the beautiful story and score, and it is highly recommended.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME plays through October 26, 2019. For tickets or more information, call the box office at 801-298-1302 or visit www.centerpointtheatre.org.
Photo Credit: L-R Alex Young (Quasimodo), Emily Wells (Esmeralda), and Tyler Hanson (Frollo)