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The Outsiders Of Medieval Paris Challenge Their Reputation In 'The Hunchback of Notre dame'

Get ready to experience a heartfelt story accompanied by spectacular music.

The Outsiders Of Medieval Paris Challenge Their Reputation In 'The Hunchback of Notre dame'
Kristina Bolton

Recently, I had the pleasure of seeing the 5th Avenue Theatre's production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" in downtown Seattle. Written by Peter Parnell, the play is a musical adaptation of the 1831 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo, with songs from the Disney film.

At the start of the play, Dom Claude Frollo (Allen Fitzpatrick), the Archdeacon of the Notre Dame cathedral, is asked by his dying brother, Jehan Frollo (Eric Ankrim), to care for and raise his infant son. As the child is deformed, Frollo reluctantly agrees to his brother's wish, naming the child Quasimodo (Joshua M. Castille, voiced by E.J. Cardona) and locking him away inside the Notre Dame as the bell ringer. Quasimodo grows up with only gargoyles for company, until one day he ventures outside the cathedral walls and meets the gypsy Esmeralda (Dan'yelle Williamson), whom he attempts to save from the wrath of Frollo as they both challenge their status as societal outsiders in medieval Paris.

Each actor is worth noting, but Castille distinctly stands out as a deaf actor in the lead role as Quasimodo. His use of ASL, American Sign Language, during Quasimodo's lines adds an authenticity to Quasimodo's character as near-deaf from his close proximity to giant bells that other actors would be unable to replicate. The use of ASL does not distract from the rest of the play and instead adds a unique perspective to the story. In addition, several of the showings are ASL-interpreted, allowing the play to reach a broader audience.

The dancing and acrobatics achieved by the gypsies is impressive and entertaining to watch. They add a fun, carefree feeling to the lives of the characters that the audience can connect with. Williamson's dancing as Esmeralda is particularly enchanting.

The actors were easy to understand as every word was articulated clearly and they were loud enough to be heard from the back rows of the theatre. Each actor has their own impeccable singing abilities.

Director Glenn Casale has successfully put together a splendid live adaptation of a classic tale, with a set design that beautifully resembles Gothic architecture, effective lighting, and smooth scene changes. The costume design was simple yet stunning, matching the medieval atmosphere and complementing the set so that the costumes did not appear too extravagant or become a distraction to the audience.

The play does contain some mature content, and is not suitable for young children. Overall, the play is truly spectacular and perfect for audiences desiring to experience a heartfelt story accompanied by spectacular music.

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" runs daily with showings varying in times between 1:30 PM and 8 PM through June 24 at the 5th Avenue Theatre. Ticket prices range from $29 to $156, depending on the seat's location to the stage, and audience members select their own seats when buying tickets. They can be ordered online at www.5thavenue.org.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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