Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-09-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW The Hunchback of Notre Dame
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2019-08-20

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Music: Alan Menken; Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz; Book: Peter Parnell

At: Music Theater Works at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston. Tickets: 847-920-5360 or MusicTheaterWorks.com; $34-$96. Runs through: Aug. 25

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is not the final production of Music Theater Works artistic director Rudy Hogenmiller and founder/general manager Bridget McDonough. There's still a Lerner & Loewe revue and a ubiquitous Andrew Lloyd Webber musical yet to come before the two officially retire.

But The Hunchback of Notre Dame feels like a grand finale to the Music Theater Works tenure of Hogenmiller and McDonough. Hogenmiller directs a majestic and gloriously sung production that is remarkable for many reasons.

Music Theater Works' Hunchback marks the musical's professional Chicago-area premiere. And that's amazing considering that a stage musical version of Disney's 1996 animated feature debuted in 1999 ( a German-language Berlin production ran for three years ).

Yet other Disney Hunchback productions didn't proliferate. It's likely due to the global success of the rival 1998 French pop/rock Hunchback musical called Notre Dame de Paris.

Disney finally fashioned an English-language Hunchback for two regional tryouts in 2014 at California's La Jolla Playhouse and in 2015 at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse. Yet Disney ultimately opted not to transfer Hunchback to Broadway.

So Music Theater Works jumped at the opportunity to lavish attention on Hunchback's local debut. The expanded Alan Menken/Stephen Schwartz score calls for huge choral forces, and Music Theater Works obliges with a full orchestra and a powerful onstage chorus stored in a grand gothic unit set borrowed from Front Row Theatrical Rental.

Hunchback also vocally soars with a 40-plus cast. The leading standouts include Billy Dawson as the bell ringer Quasimodo, Kent Joseph as the repressed archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, Erik Dohner as the cathedral guard captain Phoebus de Martin and Anna Marie Abbate as the vivacious Esmeralda.

Peter Parnell's script features loads of narrators to get across Victor Hugo's 1482-set drama of religious hypocrisy and repression of the minority Roma travelers ( an element that makes Hunchback so disturbingly relevant ). So Hogenmiller's production aptly creates a storytelling ensemble who rotate in and out of small roles ( including the stone gargoyles that offer advice to Quasimodo, who get downplayed compared to the huge comic relief they play in the animated film ).

My only issues really with Music Theater Works' Hunchback is that some of the performers don't plumb the full emotional depths of their characters in their acting. And I still have qualms about the show's origins of taking a Victor Hugo tragic novel and forcing it to fit into the mold of a Disney animated musical.

But otherwise Music Theater Works' Hunchback is an impressive and theatrical marvel. It's also a fitting early sendoff to both Hogenmiller and McDonough.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Ooh La La Burlesque & Variety Show to benefit Center on Addison 2019-09-18 - Chicago, IL — We are thrilled to announce our upcoming fundraising event for Center on Addison, the social and residential center for LGBTQ ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Tiny Beautiful Things 2019-09-18 - Playwright: Adapted by Nia Vardalos from the book by Cheryl Strayed. At: Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Five Presidents 2019-09-18 - Playwright: Rick Cleveland At: American Blues Theater @Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 1-773-654-3103; AmericanBluesTheater.com; $29-$39. Runs through: Oct. 19 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Great Leap 2019-09-18 - Playwright: Lauren Yee At: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: 312-335-1650; Steppenwolf.org; $20-$89. Runs through: Oct. 20 The year ...


Gay News

The Suffrage Plays to open Nov. 1, director, full cast announced 2019-09-18 - Full casting has been announced for the opening production of Artemisia's season — THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS - an evening of three one-act comedies ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-09-18 - You Can't Fake the Funk, Black Ensemble through Sept. 22—Funk music tribute with two dozen '60s, '70s and early '80s songs, exceptionally well ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Casa Valentina 2019-09-17 - Playwright: Harvey Fierstein At: The Broadway at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. Tickets: $25-40; PrideFilmsAndPlays.com. Runs through: Sept. 29 They ...


Gay News

Special Equity Jeff Award to honor Teatro Vista 2019-09-17 - Chicago Tuesday Sept. 17, 2019 - The Jeff Awards will honor Teatro Vista with the 2019 Special Equity Jeff Award at the Equity ...


Gay News

Youth auditions for Christmas Carol Sept. 21 2019-09-17 - The Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., is holding youth auditions for A Christmas Carol on Saturday, Sept. 21. In-person registration will be ...


Gay News

About Face Theatre Announces Complete 2019-2020 Season 2019-09-15 - The About Face Theatre season will feature three hyper-intimate main stage productions that reveal multiple perspectives within the LGBTQ+ community, along with our ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.