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Local

"Hunchback of Notre Dame" comes alive in St. Charles

Play to be performed until Feb. 25

ST. CHARLES – The Disney musical “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” will come alive on stage from now until Feb. 25.

The Broadway-adapted show, based on Victor Hugo’s novel, is put on by Natural Talent Productions, located at 619 W. Main St., St. Charles.

Jacqueline Schultz, president and CEO of Natural Talent Productions and director of the musical said “Hunchback of Notre Dame” takes place in 15th century France. The main character is Quasimodo, a deformed hunchback who resides in a bell tower of Notre Dame Cathedral.

“The story is just about him trying to find acceptance and family and figure out his place in the world while also learning love,” Schultz said. “He ends up falling in love. And he’s also dealing with an abusive caretaker who ends up being quite evil.”

That caretaker is Claude Frollo, who is Quasimodo’s uncle. His actions prove to be unkind.

“ … He forces Quasimodo to live in the bell tower,” Schultz said. “He never lets him go outside because he’s constantly telling him that he’s ugly, that he’s deformed and that nobody will love him or care for him except for him.”

Zach Gibson, a Glen Ellyn resident, 31, plays Quasimodo.

Gibson listed the ways Quasimodo has been portrayed: lovable, approachable, naive and adventurous.

“People can expect to see that but maybe portrayed in a different way than what we’ve seen in Disney or the novel,” Gibson said.

Gibson will portray his character in a curious and cautious manner.

“He is free to let his imagination wander,” Gibson said. “And he imagines these people that he observes from above – he would imagine what it would be like to talk with them or what it would be like to be around them. So, he lets that wonder happen while he’s in his safe place of the bell tower.”

Gibson confirmed that later in the show Quasimodo follows his heart.

During the show there will be lots of music, complete with a band. There will be the musical’s original songs, with about 10 additional pieces

Some songs also incorporate Latin. “Tavern Song” will be sung in the Romani language.

“They sing about how they’re having a good time tonight and how they’re going to find love and they’re going to drink some wine and enjoy themselves,” Schultz said. “So, that’s a fun song, too. That’s a big dance number.”

The sounds of the cathedral’s gong bell also will be heard.

Schultz explained why the "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is a must-see show now.

“It has a perfect message for the world right now because it centers around love and acceptance and community coming together and not judging people based on their beliefs or race or anything like that,” Schultz said.

Performances are held at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays with additional shows at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday until Feb. 25.

Tickets cost $20 for students and seniors and $25 for adults. Tickets can be purchased at the door or by going to naturaltalentproductions.com.

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