“The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a timeless and beautiful story that teaches us about people,” said Joe Robinson, who plays the hunchback, Quasimodo.
What makes a monster and what makes a man? The BYU-Idaho Department of Theatre and Dance is proud to entertain the question and audiences with its Winter 2023 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
“This musical demonstrates in such a powerful way that wherever we come from, whatever we look like, and whoever we’ve become, we are all human and deserve to be treated with love and kindness,” said Callie Martineau, a member of the ensemble.
Based on the novel by Victor Hugo of the same name, this show also includes the musical score from Disney’s 1996 film. The production will take place in the Eliza R. Snow building’s Black Box Theatre. The Black Box can be found on the first floor on the south side of the building.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame will be showing March 15–18, 21–25, and 28–31 at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays. There will be additional 2 p.m. matinee showings on Saturdays.
“The message I’d like for the show to communicate to the audience is that everyone deserves love,” said Elisabeth Clark, another ensemble member. “Everyone deserves kindness and compassion. Even if we may be considered a monster like Quasimodo, or an outcast like Esmeralda and her people, we are all the same in God’s eyes.”
Clark continues with the effect she hopes this show will have on the audience.
“We are His children and He loves us unconditionally. It is our duty to share that same love to others, no matter what,” said Clark. “I hope that with this show, the audience can look within themselves and find how they can bring more light into people’s lives. Or hopefully, they’ll be able to recognize our Savior’s love for them.
Set in 15th-century France, this story follows the hopeful Quasimodo, who is the bell ringer of Notre Dame. He dreams of living with the Paris folk as a normal man. But his caretaker, Dom Claude Frollo, keeps Quasi within the walls by telling the hunchback his hideous appearance is safer within the sanctuary of the chapel.
“This show is all about what makes a person who they are,” said Hallie Grigg, another member of the ensemble. “It shows what it means to really be honest with yourself, especially in today’s society. In today’s world, there are so many lies lurking around every corner, this show brings a realism and honesty of how we see people and who they really are in such a unique and beautiful light.”
Quasimodo encounters many new faces in his journey of discovery, including the gypsy Esmeralda and soldier Phoebus de Martin. Musical numbers such as “Rest and Recreation” and “Topsy Turvy,” introduce Quasi not only to the variety of life outside of his bell tower but also to the variety of depth within each character.
“He (Pheobus) is a soldier, has PTSD, is a womanizer, serious and hardened, but humorous and kind, and ends up doing some very brave and moral things,” said Andrew Rice, who plays Phoebus de Martin.
“As a gypsy, my character affects the story because she is an active portrayal of the prejudice in Paris during that time,” Clark said. “Romani gypsies were constantly roaming from place to place because they were constantly receiving hatred. They are a visual representation of how it feels to be treated like an outcast, which I feel a lot of people can relate to.”
Other numbers such as “The Bells of Notre Dame,” “Out There,” “God Help the Outcasts” and “Hellfire,” display the level of skill and work put into this production.
“The music is so passionate,” said Steven South, an ensemble member. “Virtually every song is so beautifully written and stylized so well by the tech crew that it takes the audience through a whole range of emotion from humility, and despair, and hope and joy.”
All are invited to attend this classic story that actors describe as a show everyone can find themselves in.
“My favorite part about playing Quasimodo is being able to play such a raw and pure person,” Robinson said. “Quasimodo has a special place in a lot of people’s hearts, and I hope I can deliver on the emotional aspects that go with playing him.”
Tickets can be purchased at the BYU-Idaho’s events page. Multiple shows have already sold out.
“There are moments where you’ll get your socks blown off by how grand it is — moments your heart will be bursting with laughter and joy — and then some very sweet and sacred moments that will leave your eyes misty,” Rice said. “It’s going to be truly epic. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime theatrical experience at BYU-I and you don’t want to miss it.”