The Verdict: Critics Review Hunchback of Notre Dame, With Michael Arden and Patrick Page

News   The Verdict: Critics Review Hunchback of Notre Dame, With Michael Arden and Patrick Page
The U.S. premiere of the musical version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, based on the animated Disney film, officially opened Nov. 9 and is now extended through Dec. 14 at La Jolla Playhouse.
Michael Arden
Michael Arden

The stage adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel, with a score by composer Alan Menken (Newsies, Little Shop of Horrors) and lyricist Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin) and a book by Peter Parnell ("The West Wing," On a Clear Day You Can See Forever), began previews Oct. 26 in the Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Theatre. Scott Schwartz directs.

Menken, Schwartz and Parnell discuss the stage adaptation, which features a new ending and nearly ten new songs, in the feautre: Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz Turn Hunchback Into a Stage Beauty.

The cast features Michael Arden (The Times They Are A-Changin’, Big River) as Quasimodo, Patrick Page (Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, The Lion King) as Frollo, Ciara Renée (Pippin, Big Fish) as Esmeralda, Andrew Samonsky (Little Miss Sunshine, The Mystery of Edwin Drood) as Phoebus and Erik Liberman (Lovemusik) as Clopin.

Read the feature A Devil of a Role: Stage Veteran Patrick Page Gets Dark and Twisted in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Lucas Coleman, Mary Joe Duggan, Anise Ritchie, Brian Smolin and William Thomas Hodgson, Julian Decker, Ian Patrick Gibb, Beth Kirkpatrick, Samantha Massell, Neal Mayer, Nora Menken, William Michals, Vincent Rodriguez and Richard Ruiz comprise the ensemble. *

The critics are filing their reviews and will continue to update as reviews come in.

LA Weekly

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

Showbiz SoCal

UT San Diego



"Based on the Victor Hugo novel and featuring the Oscar-nominated score from the 1996 Disney animated classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is the only stage collaboration from two masters of the American musical theatre, composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz," press notes state. "Celebrated for such beloved and award-winning works as Menken’s Newsies, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin and Schwartz’s Godspell, Pippin and Wicked, their artistry reaches its zenith in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Featuring a lush, emotionally rich score, this brand-new production from acclaimed director Scott Schwartz highlights the music's orchestral power and choral beauty in an intimate retelling of the famous love story. Librettist Peter Parnell crafts a bold, highly-theatrical take on the moving tale of the scorned bell-ringer Quasimodo, the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda and the dashing Captain Phoebus in 15th century Paris."

"We are excited to welcome this knock-out company of local and national talent to the Playhouse – many of whom have delighted San Diego audiences for years," artistic director Christopher Ashley said in a previous statement. "They will give full-throated life to Victor Hugo’s classic story of love, obsession and heroism as reimagined by this truly powerhouse creative team."

The musical is co-produced by La Jolla and Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., where it is set for a March 2015 engagement, by special arrangement with Disney.

The creative team includes Brent-Alan Huffman, music director; Chase Brock (Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark), choreographer; Michael Kosarin (Newsies), music supervisor and arranger; Michael Starobin ("Tangled"), orchestrator; Alexander Dodge (Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin), scenic designer; Alejo Vietti (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), costume designer; Howell Binkley (Memphis, Jersey Boys), lighting designer; Gareth Owen (A Little Night Music), sound designer; and M. William Shiner, production stage manager.

Tickets and more information are available by calling (858) 550-1010 or visiting

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