Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

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Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Dan » January 25th, 2014, 4:46 pm

With Disney beginning plans to translate Frozen to the stage and Aladdin premiering on Broadway soon, a surprise bit of news was announced yesterday (January 24). The Hunchback of Notre Dame stage musical that' premiered in Germany fifteen years ago will have it's official US debut this fall.

The show will debut at the La Jolla Playhouse, specifically the Mandell Weiss Theatre, in La Jolla, California (part of San Diego county) from October 28 thru December 7, 2014. It will be directed by Scott Schwartz (Jane Eyre, Golda's Balcony) with a new book by Peter Parnell (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, TV's The West Wing) and updated music and songs from Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz.

While there was a first ever English performance of the show back in April 2013 at the King's Academy in Florida, this will be the official US debut. Attempts have been made over the last five years to bring the show stateside. The date for when tickets will go on sale and the cast has yet to be announced, though much of the creative team has been identified.

Announcement from Playbill.com: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/18 ... Ether-Dome

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Ben » January 29th, 2014, 9:23 am

Great news...and hopefully with it they there'll be an English cast album, unless they wait until the out-out-town tryout transfers to Broadway and they cut those tracks then. All good anyway...! :)

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Dan » March 29th, 2014, 8:29 pm

Just to let you guys know that they've been doing auditions over the last couple of weeks. The main roles have obviously been filled, but parts in the ensemble are open. Any one interested can go here:

http://www.backstage.com/casting/hunchback-of-notre-dame-28895/

The link also makes notes of important dates.
Rehearsals begin September 16, First Tech Rehearsal is October 14, Previews begin October 26 and the official run is from November 9 to December 7.

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Dan » May 25th, 2014, 11:45 am

If any one is interested, the King's Academy has posted their April 2013 performance online for all to watch.

Set up as link as it goes to the playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzvdeRjhZpVkhPWk_LL8Vnhk0DaZ77Aw5

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Randall » May 25th, 2014, 3:31 pm

Cool! I'd certainly like to see this live.

Just realized this is from WPB. I lived there for a few months in 1995!
Last edited by Randall on May 25th, 2014, 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Dan » May 25th, 2014, 3:58 pm

Heads up to east coast folks, after it's run in San Diego in October and November this year, the new US production will transfer to the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey from March 4 through April 5, 2015.

At present, tickets for the San Diego performances are still primarily available through packages requiring the purchaser to also attend at least two other plays this season. General sale of the tickets are expected to begin in a couple of months.

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Dan » August 6th, 2014, 12:00 am

Heads up that tickets are now on sale. So if you're going to be in the Southern California area from October 26 to December 7, it's worth checking out. I will be seeing it on December 3 with friends.

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Dan » November 14th, 2014, 12:42 am

The La Jolla Playhouse announced that they are extended the US premiere run of Hunchback of Notre Dame an extra week, so the last show is now set for December 14.

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Dan » December 6th, 2014, 12:12 am



Was able to see the show the other day and it was fantastic. While it could use tweaking before hitting Broadway, which I believe it's bound to go, the overall performance was amazing.

Like the Germany production, the show uses the animated film as a template and restores some of the darker aspects of the original novel. This includes a much somber ending and the heightening of Frollo's sexual desires for Esmeralda. New to the American production include a completely rewritten beginning and origin as well as the elimination of the comedic sidekicks. In their place is the Congregation (background cast) who act as omniscient narrators, play minor characters, and also play the gargoyles, who are implied more of being Quasimodo's hallucinations.

The staging was very nice, incorporating replicas of actual statues from Notre Dame and having a life choir in the back hitting those powerful musical notes (the video above doesn't really do justice just how phenomenal it is to hear the music live). The cast was well chosen, with Patrick Page as Claude Frollo being absolutely magnificent.

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Ben » December 6th, 2014, 5:23 am

Looks great! Good to hear that they've gone back to the book to make it more of a "proper" stage musical than just a stage version of the film. Disney's best shows have been where the film is inspiration but the stage play can take on its own identity (things that I think sank Mermaid and Tarzan, though Aladdin looks a little close to that too even if word is that it works).

They seem to have, especially, removed or changed the elements from the film that made it "kid-friendly", and so going back to the material as something that could really rival something like Les Miserables dramatically, and not come off as something that's just an all-singing and dancing "Happy Hunchback The Musical".

Hoping it comes to London eventually, since it will wash the very bad memories of the very poor Notre Dame de Paris musical that debuted here in the early 2000s, which may or may not have had an impact on Disney waiting so long before mounting their own production. That was a terrible show, all rock anthems and power ballads that was all gloss and no substance or any decent tunes.

Whatever Menken and Schwartz's show is like, it will triumph over that one...but as a huge fan of the score anyway, I'm sure it's going to be a rare worthwhile trip to the theater for this one!

:)

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Randall » December 6th, 2014, 9:01 am

I'd love to see this. I always thought the film's score was brilliant. Great to hear of the changes, as they could have benefitted the film as well. If it does go to New York, that could be our trigger to finally do our "week of Broadway" dream trip.

Yes, Ben--- Or the West End. Whichever. :)

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Ben » December 6th, 2014, 12:48 pm

You know the rooms are always made up for you! :)

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Dan » December 7th, 2014, 12:56 am

Someone managed to get away with taking a quick snap of the lovely stage.

Image

Going over the cast list, I noticed that Alan Menken's daughter Nora participates in the show as a member of the Congregation. :mrgreen:

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Ben » December 7th, 2014, 6:12 pm

A little more traditional than the projections on cubes style that the show had in Berlin...nice!

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Re: Hunchback of Notre Dame musical gets official US debut

Postby Dan » May 17th, 2015, 2:40 am

Video has leaked of the closing night performance of the Paper Mill Playhouse run in April. Let's see how long they stay up.