Full Casting Announced for Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame U.S. Premiere
Disney is at it again! It has been almost 20 years since The Hunchback of Notre Dame first hit the big movie screens captured the hearts of millions across the world. Just two decades later, Disney’s theatrical firm is finally bringing to life a stage production of the beloved story many have only dreamed about for years now. Believe it or not, this will not be the first time this story has come to life on stage in a musical. But it will be the first time the bells of Notre Dame are ringing here in the United States. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that Disney has announced the full casting for its upcoming U.S. premiere of The Hunchback of Notre Dame!
Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a musical that features music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Peter Parnell. Based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same title, the musical tells the story of Quasimodo, who is locked away in the bell tower of Notre Dame, away from the rest of the world. His eagerness to escape and experience the outside world only thrives once he sets his sights until the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda. However, his master Phoebus won’t have him going anywhere if it’s up to him. The musical will incorporate the Oscar-nominated score from the Disney 1996 animated film. This brand new productions is set to bring to life the orchestral and choral power of this story in a new intimate retelling of it featuring an incredible score by two of America’s most acclaimed musical theatre composers.
Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame is set to make its U.S. premiere beginning October 26th, 2014 at La Jolla Playhouse (Pictured Right) in California. The production is set to play the Mandell Weiss Theatre at La Jolla through December 7th, 2014. After that, the production will more than likely rework several aspects of itself before heading to the East Coast to Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey. There, the production will play March 4th, 2014 through April 5th, 2015. Believe it or not, this is not the first time a Hunchback of Notre Dame musical will be produced by Disney. The company ran a production of the show titled Der Glöckner von Notre Dame in Berlin, Germany from 1999 to 2002 which was very successful.
Leading the U.S. premiere of this classic Disney tale will be Michael Arden (Pictured Left) who will star as Quasimodo, Patrick Page who will star as Frollo, Ciara Renée who will star as Esmeralda, Andrew Samonsky who will star as Phoebus and Erik Liberman who will star as Clopin.
Rounding out the company in the ensemble are Lucas Coleman, Mary Joe Duggan, Anise Ritchie, Brian Smolin and William Thomas Hodgson, Julian Decker, Ian Patrick Gibb, Beth Kirkpatrick,Samantha Massell, Neal Mayer, Nora Menken, William Michals, Vincent Rodriguez and Richard Ruiz.
La Jolla artistic director Christopher Ashley spoke about his excitement to welcome the company for this U.S. premiere;
“We are excited to welcome this knock-out company of local and national talent to the Playhouse – many of whom have delighted San Diego audiences for years. They will give full-throated life to Victor Hugo’s classic story of love, obsession and heroism as reimagined by this truly powerhouse creative team.”
Leading Hunchback through it’s U.S. premiere will be Scott Schwartz (Pictured Right) who is set to direct with Chase Brock as choreographer. Michael Kosarin is musical director and arranger whole Michael Starobin will act as orchestrator. The rest of the creative time includes Alexander Dodge as scenic designer, Alejo Vietti as costume designer, Howell Binkley as lighting designer, Gareth Owen as sound designer and M. William Shiner as production stage manager.
As if I was not already excited enough for Hunchback to FINALLY make it’s U.S. debut, let’s talk about this cast! Wow! Disney has really done their work here and gotten truly some of the best people currently working to work on this production. I remember a little birdie telling me a while back Patrick Page would play Frollo but that is besides the point. The creative team for the show is also fantastic! I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Chase Brock does with the choreography. He is best known for being the guy that stepped in and replaced the original choreographer for Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway. This is definitely a great chance for him! I’m definitely excited to see Disney is taking major steps in working Hunchback as a theatrical piece here in the United States. While La Jolla is up first and Paper Mill is second in the spring, this is still just only the beginning for this new work of theatre. Time is the best way to get the best product. Look at Aladdin, Disney shuffled that production around for years working and reworking several major aspects of it and even did so again just weeks before it began on Broadway after the Toronto run was a bust. Of course, we all want to see Hunchback on Broadway. You do. I do. But we need to remember, theatre is a process. This is going to take time. So if you can’t seem to find yourself waiting to see this show like myself, head out to La Jolla this fall or Paper Mill this spring and support two fantastic regional theaters as they bring to life this new work on the stage!
Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame will kick off its U.S. premiere October 26th in California! At this point in time, the cast above has only been announced for the West Coast run. We are not sure if they will transfer yet to Paper Mill. But we will be sure to bring you that and plenty more as the bells begin to ring here in the U.S. for Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. For more information, visit La Jolla Playhouse’s Official Website, Facebook Page or Twitter Account! And of course, check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know and so much more!