The amazing crew and cast of the Prescott Center for the Arts has transformed the Main Stage into Notre Dame, complete with towers. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo and with music from the animated Disney movie this production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” fills the stage with the residents of Paris, a full choir, a band of gypsies, soldiers, statues, gargoyles, and oh yes the Notre Dame Cathedral.
The role of Quasimodo, the deformed bellringer is played with intense physicality and acting skill by Jeremy Zuhlke. Mr. Zuhlke has been on stage in roles such as Nathan in Guys and Dolls and Bob Cratchet in Christmas Carol. When asked what it was like to sing while squatting down, and carrying another actor up and down stairs he replied, “Hard, very hard.” But he made it seem easy.
Leah Morales, playing Esmeralda, the gypsy girl who befriends Quasimodo, has been appearing in PCA productions since 1995. Her Esmeralda is a woman of heart and a
person who knows what it is like to live as an outcast.
As an accomplished opera and concert tenor, Darrell James Rowader brings great musicality and presence to the role of Dom Claude Frollo, the ambitious churchman and guardian of Quasimodo. Blaming his own faults on the actions of others, he slides further and further down the slippery slope.
The rest of the ensemble is too numerous to name, but each member contributes to the success of the production. Deserving of note are Daniel Cadena, the mischievous gypsy king, Frank Malle, in a wonderful cameo as King Louis XI (The Prudent), and, my favorite, the gargoyles, whether capering or sitting absolutely still.
That said, a major character, that is brought into existence only by the combined efforts of the set designer, the set builders, the set painters, and everyone who labored on this effort is the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Of course the lighting and sound contributes too. Victor Hugo’s goal in writing the novel was to wake the citizens of Paris and of France to the importance of the medieval architecture which was then under siege by “renovators” who wanted to modernize. In French the name of his novel is “The Cathedral of Notre Dame.” He wanted the Cathedral to be a character.
As usual, the costumes and incidental music were spot on, evocative without being fussy. The Director Don Langford, the Music Director Gina Stevenson , the Choreographer Ashley Fine and the Stage Manager Casey Knight worked wonders bringing this heavily peopled production to the small stage without any traffic jams, crashes or other disasters. Everyone was where they needed to be at the right time doing whatever was needed.
Kudos to all.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame will play from May 30 to June 16. For tickets call the box office at 928-445-3286 OR go online to www.oca-az.net Ticket prices range from $18 to $25
The theater is at 208 N. Marina St, Prescott.