“The Hunchback Of Notre Dame” Premieres At Toby’s Dinner Theatre

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From March 21 to May 19, Toby’s Dinner Theatre will present a lushly scored retelling of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” Victor Hugo’s epic story of love, acceptance and what it means to be a hero.

Based on the Hugo’s novel and songs from the Disney animated feature, the production showcases the film’s Academy Award-nominated score, as well as new songs by Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Little Shop of Horrors”) and Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked,” “Godspell,” “Pippin”). Peter Parnell’s new book embraces story-driven theater and features verbatim passages from Hugo’s gothic novel.

The musical begins as the bells of Notre Dame sound through the famed cathedral in 15th century Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer who longs to be “out there,” observes all of Paris reveling in the Feast of Fools. Held captive by his devious caretaker, the archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, he escapes for the day and joins the boisterous crowd, only to be treated cruelly by all but the beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda. Quasimodo isn’t the only one captivated by her free spirit, though — the handsome Captain Phoebus and Frollo are equally enthralled. As the three vie for her attention, Frollo embarks on a mission to destroy the gypsies — and it’s up to Quasimodo to save them all.

A sweeping score and powerful story make “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” an instant classic. Audiences will be swept away by the magic of this truly unforgettable musical.

Under the expert eye of director Toby Orenstein, co-director/choreographer Mark Minnick and musical director Ross Scott Rawlings, the team at Toby’s Dinner Theatre with their intimate in-the-round setting is creating a beautiful, unique work of art.

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Featuring a cast of 24 talented local artists, the show is led by four Helen Hayes Award nominated performers: Russell Sunday (Frollo), Jessica Bennett (Esmeralda), Jeffrey Shankle (Phoebus) and DeCarlo Raspberry (Clopin). Emerging from Toby’s CCTA program, Samuel Kobren makes his main-stage Toby’s debut in the title role of Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame. The creative team also includes David A. Hopkins (scenic design), Lynn Joslin (lighting design) Janine Sunday (costume design) and Corey Brown (sound design).

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is produced by special arrangement with Music Theatre International (www.mtishows.com). For more information, go to www.tobysdinnertheatre.com.

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