CHS Spring Musical Preview: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019


ChaTheatre is at it again! This year's annual spring musical is none other than the famed The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a favorite throughout all generations because of its most famous adaptation, the Disney movie. Set in 1482, The Hunchback of Notre Dame focuses on a deformed man named Quasimodo who lives in a bell tower in Notre Dame, Paris. Esmeralda, a young gypsy woman, enters Paris with a wide heart and bold attitude and immediately starts defying all the rules that Frollo, the Archdeacon of Notre Dame, sets. While she is challenging social norms towards “different people” alongside Quasimodo, she is growing closer to the soldier Phoebus and the leader of the gypsies, Clopin. It’s a busy show!

CHS is the very first high school in New Jersey to perform the stage adaptation of Hunchback! This comes with some great advantages but also some nerve-wracking moments. I sat down with the leads and supporting leads to try and discover what is different about this show, compared to other musicals CHS has done.

I knew going into this interview (being a cast member of the 2017 and 2018 CHS musicals myself, and a helping hand in this production) that these shows are very different than the fall plays. I asked the cast what would be missing if there were no music, as I watched a majority of their rehearsal which included a lot of singing! Grace Petersen, playing the only female lead, Esmeralda, said that “there would be no show” if it weren’t for the music! The singing is incorporated into almost every aspect of the show, proving how hard the cast works to make every note perfect! Nate Eck, playing the evil Frollo, told me that “singing is the majority of the performances, it adds color to the show.” Ronan Green, the talented face behind the extremely difficult character, Quasimodo, said that “words can’t do the storyline justice. It needs music.”

While the Disney version is more lighthearted, the stage adaptation highlights more of the struggles that Quasimodo goes through. The classic songs are in there (God Help the Outcasts, Hellfire, Someday, etc.), but the musical is more complex. There are lots of moments where even the music is not enough, and that is where the incredible costumes, lighting, and movement come into play. There are constant, beautiful flashes of color and sparkle on stage, and moments where the audience will feel a pure and complete connection with the characters. There will be moments of heartfelt sadness but also ones filled with joy and fun!

This is the right time for CHS to do this show, even though it is very tough. Ronan expressed that “this show is unconventional for high schools. There are more guy parts than girl parts, which is uncommon in most schools.” But, this is the time that CHS has the talent and the space to perform the show. Adi Roy, playing Clopin, believes, “this is the perfect show for a new auditorium!”

Come see the CHS performance of The Hunchback of Notre Dame on April 4th at 6 p.m. or April 5th and 6th at 7:30 p.m.!