While Quasimodo is the central protagonist in Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, the Gothic cathedral in the title, which had fallen into disrepair by the 1831 publication of the book, was the impetus for the French author’s story. Even so, it’s the ostracized bell ringer — not the depiction of decaying architecture — who has captured the hearts of readers for nearly two centuries. Hugo’s tale of Quasimodo’s unrequited love for Esmeralda has been adapted to myriad media, including film, television, dance, and musical theater. It is the latter format that PCPA will be offering up as the first show of its 2018 summer season.
The conservatory has a flair for musical performances, and its Hunchback of Notre Dame promises to be another feather in their successful production cap. While PCPA staged a dramatic telling of Hunchback during its 1997-98 season, this will be its inaugural musical offering. “A few years ago, when The Hunchback became available, PCPA had the honor of being one of the first regional theaters to be granted rights to produce it,” said Brad Carroll, PCPA resident artist/artistic associate. “As big musicals are one of the key features of our season every year, this great piece, based on a literary classic, seemed a perfect fit. … This particular version, based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney film, premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2014.”
The production stars PCPA’s Nick Tubbs as the deaf, half-blind hunchback Quasimodo; Amani Dorn as the gypsy Esmeralda, the object of Quasimodo’s affection; Erik Stein as the villainous archdeacon of Notre Dame, whose attraction to Esmeralda spurs a series of dire events; George Walker as Clopin, King of Truands (i.e., Paris’s criminals); and Jeff Salsbury as Phoebus, the captain of the King’s archers and the man with whom Esmeralda is besotted.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame runs June 14-July 8 at Solvang Festival Theater (420 2nd St., Solvang). Call 922-8313 or see pcpa.org.