sports jerseys wholesale distributors Barn’s ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ sets a high bar for a musical summer

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Samantha Rickard is Esmeralda and Jonnie Carpathios is Quasimodo in “Hunchback of Notre Dame” at Barn Theatre.(Photo: Provided)The Barn Theatre opened its 71st season with “Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame,”starring Robert Newman. Despite the Disney label, this is no fairy tale. It is, however, a powerful introduction to the Barn’s musical heavy season.

With music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and book by Peter Parnell, this 1999 musical blends the tragedy of Victor Hugo’s novel with the timelessness of a Disney score. It delves deep into the question, “What makes a monster and what makes a man?”

Dom Jean Claude Frollo, the archdeacon of Notre Dame, is determined to save souls, especially from the corruption of the freewheeling gypsies.

Unable to save his wayward brother, Frollo reluctantly spares the life of his brother’s deformed child. Frollo raises Quasimodo in the way of the church, warning him never to leave the sanctuary of Notre Dame.

Loneliness and curiosity prompt Quasimodo to sneak out, where he encounters the cruelty Frollo predicted and the mercy neither expected.

The gypsy Esmeralda stops a mob from torturing Quasimodo for sport, becoming Quasimodo’s savior and Frollo’s temptation. Torn between saving his own soul and seducing Esmeralda, Frollo hunts down the gypsies, only to be thwarted by Quasimodo.

Robert Newman plays the conflicted priest Frollo in “Hunchback of Notre Dame” at Barn Theatre. (Photo: Provided)

This production is packed with beautiful and terrifying moments, led by its star Newman, its second year apprentice Jonnie Carpathios,
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and its solid ensemble.

Newman gives a nuanced performance as Frollo, letting the character’s dual nature shine. His interactions with Quasimodo and Esmeralda are equal parts tenderness and repulsion. Peppering self righteousness with vulnerability, he reveals the tortured soul inside this religious tyrant scene by scene.

Carpathios is heartbreaking as Quasimodo. Makeup and costume create the illusion of a deformed body, but Carpathios sells it with his sloped stride, sagging smile and halting speech. He imbibes his words and movements with a sweet humility, which makes the cruelty of the world all the more cruel and his heroism all the more heroic. When Esmeralda absently kisses his cheek, the look on his face is pure bliss.

Esmeralda (Samantha Rickard),gypsy leader Clopin Trouillefou (Eric Parker)and Captain Phoebus de Martin (Jamey Grisham)command the stage with their arresting voices, leading an equally arresting ensemble. Together they braid the layers of this score, tying it up in crescendos that demand attention. Music director Matt Shabala’s orchestra matches their power note for note.

This is a large cast, but director Hans Friedrichs and choreographer Grisham create a seamless flight pattern around the multi level set. Often the ensemble freezes, becoming part of Notre Dame itself. When Frollo holds the deformed infant over the abyss, the ensemble becomes the collective “eyes of God”. When Quasimodo leads Phoebus to Esmerelda, the ensemble becomes the convoluted streets of Paris. It’s fascinating and effective.

Visually, the show is satisfying. Designer Payge Crock’s costumes are clever, mixing colors and fabrics to great effect. The props, especially the stone saints, are fabulous devices. Judicious use of lights, smoke, and sound slows down the action for significance moments. This is especially effective when Quasimodo sends Frollo to his death.

The Barn’s production of “Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is marvelous,
sports jerseys wholesale distributors Barn's 'Hunchback of Notre Dame' sets a high bar for a musical summer
setting a high bar for the musicals to come.