‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’

Published 6:16 pm Saturday, October 20, 2018

In a culture where many struggle to be open to those who are not like them, the upcoming production by the Vicksburg Theatre Guild may give food for fodder.

With a cast of nearly 50 including the Warren Central High School Madrigals, the VTG will perform the musical, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

“This is a timely story,” director of the VTG performance Sarah Goss said, “With the primary theme being ‘what makes a monster and what makes a man.’”

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Moreover, Goss said, this performance looks at how we treat people that are different from us and why.

“And it emphasizes the point that what’s on the outside,” she said, does not always reflect the inside.

Based on the 1996 Disney film and the 1831 Victor Hugo novel, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is a tale of a hunchbacked bell-ringer by the name of Quasimodo, a kindhearted gypsy, Esmeralda, who befriends the hunchback, Quasimodo’s master, the archdeacon of Notre Dame, Dom Claude Frollo and Phoebus de Martin, the man who falls in love with Esmeralda.

Goss, who has directed several productions for the VTG, said one of the reasons she wanted to direct this show was because of the music.

“This show has some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. It’s complex and difficult with songs in Latin and Romani. There are also songs that leave you covered in goose bumps,” Goss said, adding, “It’s a classic story made even more amazing by the incredible score.”

Goss said one of her favorite songs in the musical is the opening number, “The Bells of Notre Dame.”

“This song is big and bold and sets the stage perfectly,” Goss said.

Goss described “Topsy Turvy,” as fun and entertaining. “I love watching the cast perform this song,” she said.

Also included as favorites are “Made of Stone. “It’s brilliantly written and Lee Fortner, who plays Quasimodo, is perfect in his performance of it. It takes your breath away,” she said.

“Hellfire” is also on Goss’s list.

“Andrew Cochran (who plays Frollo) is superb in this performance, and this is the moment where the audience can begin to understand the answer to the question, ‘What makes a monster and what makes a man,’” Goss said.

Rounding out Goss’s favorites are “God Help the Outcasts” performed by Peyton Pierce, who plays Esmeralda, “Court of Miracles” sung by Heather Calnan, and the two songs sung at the conclusion of Act 1 and Act 2.

“The Act 2 finale has a beautiful solo, in Latin. It’s sung by the ever-talented Genevieve Rushing that catches your attention. You don’t want it to end,” Goss said.

The actors for the production, Goss said, have been rehearsing for the past two months.

“The rehearsals have been intense,” Goss said. “The role of Quasimodo is considered one of the most difficult male leads on Broadway because of the physicality of it and the vocal range required is daunting.”

Another challenge of the production, Goss said, was the set.

“It’s a classic scene, with the beautiful stained glass window of Notre Dame, the bells, etc. It’s been a complicated build. I can say, however that it’s gorgeous. I can’t wait for the audience to get the first view of it,” Goss said.

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 at the Parkside Playhouse Theatre, 101 Iowa Ave. Subsequent 7:30 p.m. performances will follow on Oct. 27, Nov. 1, 2 and 3. Matinee performances will be offered at 2 p.m. Oct. 28 and Nov. 4. Tickets are $20, $15 for ages 65 and older and $10 for ages 12 and younger and are available the day of the show at the VTG box office.

Advance tickets are available online at http://www.showclix.com/events/10243.

“I’d like to encourage the community to come out and support the local community theater. Our performers spend months perfecting these shows, and they do it for free. They also do it because they love the stage and because they love to entertain,” Goss said, adding, “We have an amazing amount of talent in this town. I am continuously in awe by what I see on our stage. As a community, we should be proud of all of this talent and do our utmost to support it.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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