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'Hunchback' opens Friday
Hunchback - touches his face.jpg
Esmeralda, played by Alexis Phillips, touches the face of Quasimodo, played by Elijah Hernandez, during a dress rehearsal for Dream Reality Group’s production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” The musical opens Friday at 7 p.m. at Park Theater.

Is it possible for a beast of a man, the fabled hunchback, to find love and acceptance?

The journey of Quasimodo, a ghastly bellman, is the focus of Dream Reality Group’s latest production, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” 

The musical begins this weekend with shows Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. It continues next weekend with shows Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“This is the most enjoyable show with the most enjoyable cast I’ve had in years,” said director Logan Taylor. “I’ve never had a cast that was this focused on the endgame. Everyone sees this as a show of grandeur and they want to make this show great.”

The musical tells the story of Quasimodo, played by Elijah Hernandez, a simple creature who longs for a life that’s more than the toils of ringing a bell in the confines of Notre Dame Cathedral. When he summons the courage to attend a festival, Quasimodo is ridiculed by a mob, tied up and whipped.

An enchanting gypsy named Esmeralda, played by Alexis Phillips, rescues Quasimodo by offering him water after the savage beating. Esmeralda has a certain allure that catches the fancy of Frollo, played by Brian Ferguson, and also Phoebus, played by Christian Weeter.

Esmeralda showers the hunchback with attention, even gently touching his face. She sings to him atop the bell tower and he is mesmerized by her charm.

But the devious Frollo, a deacon, wants Esmeralda for himself so he berates Quasimodo and tells him he should not be weak and succumb to physical attraction when around the gypsy.

The tension builds between Quasimodo, Frollo, Phoebus and the gypsies, who are somewhat like the hunchback in that they’ve been exiled to live secretly in the forest. It sets up a climatic – and tragic – ending to be remembered.

In a first, Dream Reality Group is using the services of a select choir organized by longtime vocalist Donna Campbell.

“The choir adds a new element to the show,” said Taylor. “The voices fill the room so much bigger and stronger.” 

Added Taylor in closing, “I genuinely feel like this has been the best experience for me by far as a director. This show just keeps going. When you see it live and in person, it’s out of this world.”

Tickets are available before each show at the Park Theater or in advance from the Park Theater website.