Monday, July 16, 2018

LONJ's 'Hunchback' a spectacular DON’T MISS event.

The LONJ production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, directed by Jeffrey Fiorello with musical direction by Stephen Fox and choreography by Michael Scannelli is a spectacular DON’T MISS event.

This exciting, beautifully staged retelling of Victor Hugo’s tale of Quasimodo, the deformed bellringer at Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral has the makings of becoming a musical theater classic in the same league as Phantom of the Opera and Victor Hugo’s Les Miserable (all set in Paris). This Light Opera of New Jersey production has it all, great music, great voices, exciting choreography, marvelous costumes, excellent set, lighting and sound effects. Major credit, of course, must go to the Disney creators: Peter Parnell  for the book based on the Disney film, score by Alan Menken (Disney's The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin).

And cast….the leads, all with superior voices worthy of any stage (watch video), include Will Carey with a star-turn as the tragic Quasimodo (top photo), he particularly impresses in his eight musical numbers, including two solos…”Out There” and “Heaven’s Light.” Carey in full view of the audience makes the highly effective transformation into the grotesque hunchback.

The exceptional voiced, Ken Garcia as Dom Claude Frollo, archdeacon of Notre Dame and Quasimodo’s “protector.” He and Quasimodo combine early in the first act with "Sanctuary" where he informs Quasimodo that his home is to be the bell tower of the cathedral...never to venture into the world below. Garcia was also a stand-out in last year’s LONJ production of “Sweeney Todd.” (photo right)

Erica Nadera as Esmeralda (below), the beauty to Quasimodo’s beast. With her qualities of looks, voice and dance skills, she captures the hearts of Quasimodo, Captain of the Guard Phoebus and the celibate Frollo.

Playing the Captain is Michael Barthel (photo above). He loses his position for the love of Esmeralda (remind you of Don Jose and Carmen?) His standout moment is his Second Act duet with Esmeralda “Someday,” a plea for a better life. 

Dante Sterling (photo right) deserves special mention for his spot-on swagger as the leader of the Gypsies. He excels in two musical numbers with the Gypsies….”Topsy Turvey” and “The Court of Miracles.”

The outstanding supporting cast includes: Dan Malloy (Jehan Frollo); Ally Borgstrom (Florika); Jonathan Wells (Father Dupin and King Louis XI); Ethan Lynch (Lt. Charlus); Kevin Ohlweiler (Tribunal); Tracey Lynne Haskell (Madam); and Will Roper (St. Aphrodisius).

The Congreation:
Christopher Centinaro, Kevin Farrelly Samantha Kaplan, Anna Lovallo and Susan Ramirez.

The marvelous choir: Robert Allen, Cardarious Bonner, Caroline Brazelton, Ron Buesser, Teresa Carlomagno, Jason Cilento, William Corson Anchal Dhir, Christina Eliades,  Laura Farmer, Megan Fry, Julie Galorenzo, Troy Giel, Carly Hatcher, Joanna Hoty Russell, Changkuo Hsieh, Steve LaMaita, Jodi Maloy, Barbee Monk, Zachary Morehouse, GianMarco Scotti, Andrea Thibodeau, and Heath Weisberg.

Director Jeffrey Fiorello’s support staff: Bill Corson producer, Pamela Wilczynski stage manager, Scott Baird assistant stage manager, Rob Cruz sound design, Beau Kennedy scenic design, Kevin Ohlweiler Fight Captain,  Barbara Canace costume mistress, Beth Gleason hair and makeup design, Brian Butterfield ASL coach, Eileen Cooper Sedek social media, Diane Gianngreco lighting/graphic designs, Christine Hahn, Kate Pierce props design. Costumes by Scaramouche Costumes LLC of Chester, New Jersey.

The Orchestra: Stephen Fox musical director and conductor, keyboard one Lois Buesser, keyboard two Charles Santoro, horn Erica J. Arango, trumpet Chris Arnold, cello Sariah Mourik Johnson, Reed one Jon Bencivenga, Reed Two Nancy Vanderslice, Reed Three Andrew Pecota,  violin Graham Cohen, drums/ percussion John Leister.

Recommended Ages: 12 and up
Running Time: 2+ hours

Remaining performances are: July  20 and 21, 2018 at 8pm
July  22, 2018 at 2pm
Tickets: $20-45, available online at

SOPAC (South Orange Performing Arts Center)
South Orange, New Jersey

Student tickets are available at the door! Bring your Student ID and enjoy the performance for $20-$25!

Read about Bill and Lauran Corson, the founders of the Light Opera of New Jersey in this article.

Top Photo: Will Carey, center, stars as Quasimodo with, from left to right: Kevin Ohlweiler, Ethan Lynch, Samantha Kaplan, Eric Roper, Susan Ramirez, Dan Malloy, Tracey Haskell, Christopher Centinaro.(Lauran Corson)

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