Students perform The Hunchback of Notre Dame!
Annandale High School students perform The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The world is safe inside the cathedral, blocking out the hate and temptations of Notre Dame, but love and acceptance may also be waiting beyond the walls. Annandale High School's beautiful rendition of The Hunchback of Notre Dame pulled at heartstrings with every pull of a bell.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a story with a rich history, which contributes to the timeless themes of the modern musical. First penned by Victor Hugo in 1831, it has since been adapted into a multitude of films, most notably the 1996 Walt Disney Pictures animated version. The musical opened in 1999 in Germany, featuring songs from the movie. It follows Quasimodo, an orphaned hunchback born of a gypsy. Raised by his uncle, Frollo, a priest for the Notre Dame cathedral, Quasimodo has been kept away from the world his whole life. Upon entering the streets of Notre Dame for the first time, he finds himself falling in love with Esmeralda, a kind gypsy. Tables are turned, however, when Frollo orders that Esmeralda be killed.
The abused Quasimodo was performed with grandiose by Kyle Dalsimer, whose unsure demeanor and actions when in the presence of Frollo contrasted with his powerful, soaring voice when alone. Dalsimer perfectly captured Quasimodo's character arc as he began to develop his own morality and falls for Esmerelda, played by Holly Ramia, with whom he possessed an endearing chemistry. Ramia was also notable in her own right: her melodious and skilled vocals stood out in each song, and the authentic emotions she emanated enhanced her performance.
Another onstage standout was John Lopez, playing Frollo. His mature voice was a definite highlight of the night, as he captivated the audience with his commanding solos as well as harmonizing mellifluously with other cast members. Contrasting Frollo's stern manner, the gypsy girls were vivid and vivacious, performing playfully as they twirled through the streets. The gypsy leader, Clopin, was played by Hidaya Hussen, whose expressive facials and bold movements helped her shine.
Thoughtful technical elements transformed the stage into a "place of miracles." The props possessed a clear attention to detail, with small coin pouches, handmade ropes, and even small puppets helping to move the plot along. Colorful and detailed costumes adorned the cast, who performed on a beautifully textured and effective set. Lighting designs, complete with a gorgeous stained glass window, shadows, and spotlights, made for many chilling moments. The large orchestra was constantly in sync and performed beautifully, enhancing each wonderful song.
Everyone has felt like an outcast before, and Annandale High School gracefully captured this sentiment in their touching performance of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Complete with a talented cast and crew, the production left every audience member with a reminder to accept others, and to approach life with kindness and love.
Editor's Note: This review of Annandale High School's performance of The Hunchback of Notre Dame was written by Katherine Kelly of McLean High School.