Tuesday, November 6, 2018

review - THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME - Zao Theatre

Nicholas Hambruch
Photo by Christie Captain
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through November 17th.

"...The Hunchback of Notre Dame, based on Victor Hugo's classic 1831 gothic, dark thriller about Quasimodo, a deformed man who falls in love with the gypsy girl Esmeralda...fortunately, eliminates all of the cartoony aspects and the sugary upbeat nature of the film for a more serious tone that is in line with Hugo's novel. With good leads, an impressive and huge ensemble, and beautiful creative aspects that perfectly instill the elements of romance and intrigue into the musical, Zao Theatre's production, which I believe is only the second to play in the Phoenix area, is quite good....Zao's cast is very good. Nicholas Hambruch evokes sincerity and strength as the lonely and obedient Quasimodo, while, as Frollo, Andrew McKee effectively portrays both power and control along with a sense of concern and uncertainty in relation to Frollo's conflicted feelings for Esmeralda. Taryn Cantrell is full of passion and fire as the feisty gypsy and, as Phoebus, Zac Bushman has charm, strength and confidence. Bryan Stewart is playful and mischievous as the gypsy leader Clopin. ...
Director Mickey Bryce does a very good job in getting across the show within a show aspect and ensuring the more melodramatic moments of the story don't get too exaggerated. ...He also has staged the entire production effectively on Mike Sanders' sensational set design...While the stage musical version of Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame breaks the tradition of their past screen to stage adaptations, in that in doesn't adhere to the family friendly nature of the hit film, it is a rewarding and moving musical. Like the film, it both starts and ends with the intriguing question, "who is the monster, and who is the man?" In Zao's rewarding production, that is a question you'll most likely be contemplating both during the show and for days to come......... " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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