Redemption theme strong in high school’s ‘Hunchback’ musical

Photo courtesy Kim Elzinga
Pagosa Springs High School students rehearse dramatic scene from the spring musical “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” The play is set to be performed March 20-24.

By Kim Elzinga
Special to The PREVIEW
Pagosa Springs High School’s (PSHS) spring production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel of the same name, features a strong theme of redemption and acceptance, said Boni McIntyre, an accomplished actress and director working with Thingamajig Theatre Company and directing this year’s production.
The 43-member cast of high school students will perform March 20-24 at 7 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium.
The story follows disfigured Quasimodo, the bell-ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, who is taken in yet locked away by his uncle, the pious Claude Frollo, archdeacon of Notre Dame. With only gargoyles to keep him company, Quasimodo longs to be with other people, leading to his chance encounter with the enchanting gypsy Esmeralda. When the beautiful young woman catches the attention of Quasimodo’s guardian, Frollo, Quasimodo must help to keep her out of his clutches.
“Even though the original story is fraught with dark and disturbing ideas, the overall theme is full of redemption,” said McIntyre. “Just because Quasimodo is crippled doesn’t mean he’s stupid. He has a heart of gold. He’s easy to love.
“I think the show’s ultimate message teaches us that we need to treat every person like a human being, no matter how different they are. Plus, in the character of Frollo, we see that just because you’re pious doesn’t mean you’re good. The story is set in 1482, but in many ways reflects life in our own world today. It speaks to the world we live in now,” she commented.

Photo courtesy Kim Elzinga
Pagosa Springs High School students learn dance moves from spring musical director Boni McIntrye. The play is set to be performed March 20-24.

Although the storyline may be dark, the production has plenty of spunk — filled with lots of drama, music, dance and even a bit of stage fighting. The production’s costumes, designed by Nanette Cheffers, capture the colorful spirit of 15th century Paris.
PSHS Music Director Dan Burch, accompanied by pianist Venita Burch, brings out the best in the lively musical score, written by Alan Menken with lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. We will have a full pit orchestra of local musicians from the Pagosa Springs Community Band.
Others involved in directing the show include PSHS students Ahia Kaeser as assistant director, Jeremy Medina as stage manager and Sally Neel as a rehearsal accompanist.
PSHS students who make up the cast include Kaya Knox (Esmeralda), Hunter Swinehart (Father Dupin), Tate Hinger (Frederick), Marissa Medina (Frolika), Alex Foster (Frollo), Hunter Smith (Jehan), Keanan Anderson (King Louis), Antonia Bussoli (Madame), Brayden Shulda (Phoebus), Adrian Roque (Quasimodo), Sydney Mitchell (St. Aphrodisius) and Miles Roque (Clopin).
The congregants at Notre Dame, who narrate the story throughout the play, include Sophia Raymond, Kayla Nasralla, Hayden Kiker, Emma Happ, Ethan Mazur, Ella Blechman, Anika Thomas, Grace Thompson, Ella Hemenger and Elsa Lindner.
Members of the choir include Crystal Jaramillo, Jasmine Dixon, Dallas Stephenson, Maya Nasralla, Elizabeth Thomas, Grace Thomas, Izzy Mijares, Maddie Peart, Stella Schuchart, Laura Delgado, Sarah Ross, Alex Rountree, Liberty Bonin, Nina Smith, Emma Heidelmeier, Daily Valdez, Diana Scott, Colton Castro, Dalton Lucero and Trevor Bryant.
McIntyre received her masters degree in vocal performance from the University of Northern Colorado. Credits include lead roles in “1776,” “Macbeth,” “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” “Into the Woods,” “The Little Foxes,” “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and “The Rainmaker.” Regional credits include “Blithe Spirit,” “Sister Act” and “Les Miserables.” Recent favorite performances feature “Master Class” and “Kismet.” Last summer saw the premier of her one-woman show “The Evil Diva Cabaret.” McIntyre is the recipient of Henry and Ovation award nominations and has received two Marlowe Awards, most recently as Best Actress in a Musical for “Sweeney Todd.”
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” premiers March 20 and runs every evening through March 24. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with curtain at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.

This story was posted on March 1, 2018.