Bells will be ringing all over America when a new -- and otherwise non-musical -- television adaptation of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame has its premiere, March 16, on Turner Network Television (TNT). Mandy Patinkin stars as the vertically challenged Quasimodo, alongside Salma Hayek as the gypsy, Esmeralda.
Victor Hugo's novel was made into a recent Disney animated musical, and is currently being adapted into a stage musical by former Styx lead, Dennis DeYoung.
Audiences are currently enjoying Patinkin -- who has played Che, George Seurat and Dr. Geiger -- in his one-man concert engagement at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre, through March 23. Of his role as Victor Hugo's most pathetic protagonist, Patinkin had to wear a harness that drew his shoulder down to his waist. According to TV Guide, Patinkin stretched between takes and exercised with 50-lb. weights to avoid "being crippled for life." Though the role of Quasimodo has been played by Lon Chaney, Herbert Lom, Anthony Quinn and Anthony Hopkins, Patinkin is fashioning his after Charles Laughton, whom he calls "the greatest actor in the world."
Tony and Emmy Award winner Patinkin made his 1980 Broadway debut in Evita, winning a Tony Award for playing Che. He garnered a Tony nomination for playing George in Sondheim's Sunday In The Park With George, and went on to appear in The Secret Garden and Falsettos. Other stage credits include The Winter's Tale; The Knife; Henry IV, Part 1; Leave it to Beaver is Dead; Rebel Women; Hamlet; Trelawney of the Wells; The Shadow Box and Split and Savages. In 1995 Patinkin won an Emmy Award for his role as Dr. Jeffrey Geiger on TV's "Chicago Hope." Other, more theatre-oriented, TV credits include a version of Arthur Miller's Broken Glass for BBC/WGBH Boston.
Patinkin's albums include Mandy Patinkin (1989), Mandy Patinkin In Concert: Dress Casual (1990), Experiment (1994), and his newest, Oscar and Steve, which features the songs of Oscar Hammerstein II and Stephen Sondheim. Patinkin also appears on the 1996 Nonesuch recording Leonard Bernstein's New York.