The Lowestoft Players will very soon be taking to the stage to perform a new musical version of ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’. The cast of 20 will be joined on stage throughout the show by a choir of 20 to create a truly magnificent sound.
Artwork for The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Credit Stephen Wilson
The story of the Hunchback of Notre Dame was written by Victor Hugo, a French romantic writer and politician, in 1831. The new musical is based on his novel and includes songs from the 1996 Walt Disney Animation Studios film adaptation. However, this is a much darker version and much closer to the original novel and is best suited for those aged 15 and older. The beautiful and powerful musical score is written by Alan Menken who also composed the music for Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’. Lyrics for this epic musical were penned by Stephen Schwartz, an Oscar winning American musical theatre lyricist best known for the musical ‘Wicked’.
Victor Hugo also famously penned the novel Les Misérables, this too was transformed into a musical. ‘Les Mis’, as it is affectionally known, is now a multi-award winning musical performed around the globe.
Stephen Wilson, Director of the Lowestoft Players production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame said
“The cast really have exceeded all of my expectations for this extremely ambitious musical. As well as being a truly talented group of singers and dancers, this production really showcases their acting skills. I’m sure they will take the audience on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.”
Long serving Lowestoft Players member Shirley Hurren is also directing the production, as well as providing choreography – not an easy task with so many cast members on stage!
Twenty year old Casey Divall, a new member of The Lowestoft Players will be undertaking the lead role of Quasimodo, a cruel name which means half-formed. Casey said
“This is a really challenging role to play both emotionally and physically – my character is unattractive and deaf, plus I perform with by back hunched which is somewhat uncomfortable. Despite these ailments I hope that the audience will grow to love Quasimodo, after all he can’t help being different from the rest, and he deserves to be happy.”
Quasimodo (Casey Divall). A challenging role to play both emotionally and physically. Credit Stephen Wilson
Archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, the villain of the show will be played by John Marjoram, a familiar Players’ face.
“This production is going to be fantastic” he said.
“Everyone has worked so hard both on and off stage to bring it all together. Unfortunately I have one pre-production confession to make - a recent visit to Beccles Bell Tower earlier this month for promotional photography resulted in me getting my newly made cassock dirty. I think it was when I was climbing the 122 steps to reach the bells. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to clean it before first night so please don’t mention this to the costume team!”
Archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo (John Marjoram) with Quasimodo (Casey Divall) at Beccles Bell Tower. John confessed that he got his newly made cassock dirty when climbing the 122 steps to reach the bell tower. Credit Stephen Wilson
The role of Esmeralda will be played by Emma Venier, who is another new member of The Lowestoft Players. Emma told us
“Rehearsals for this production have been such great fun and I’ve been made to feel so welcome. I can’t wait to welcome audiences to the Players Theatre to see this amazing production and hear the amazing musical score.”
Esmeralda (Emma Venier), a French Roma girl who has a kind and generous heart. Credit Stephen Wilson
Putting on such a large-scale show is not all about the performers - it wouldn’t be possible without a small army of technicians, backstage crew, costume creators and other theatre volunteers. Many of which spent the Coronation bank holiday weekend installing the Notre Dame stage set for the enjoyment of audiences.
A small army of volunteers from The Lowestoft Players spent the Coronation bank holiday weekend installing the Notre Dame stage set for the enjoyment of audiences. Here's just one of them - we don't wish to give too much away!
Credit Graham Jermyn
The publicity team have been working hard too to ensure that tickets are sold during what is for many difficult financial times.
“We must thank our friends at Aldreds Estate Agents, Lowestoft for helping us to promote the show” said a spokesperson for the Players Theatre.
“Once again they have printed and erected advertising boards in and around Lowestoft for us. We are enormously grateful for their support and generosity.”
Aldreds Estate Agents, Lowestoft have generously printed and erected advertising boards in and around the Town to promote the production to be staged at the Players Theatre.
Credit Stephen Wilson
Tickets for The Hunchback of Notre Dame are available from Players Theatre Box Office – www.playerstheatre.info or by phoning 01502 770020. The show will run for ten performances from 19 to 27 May 2023.