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‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ is ‘biggest show the Players has ever done’

  • Laura Iwaskiewicz, as Esmeralda, and Darik Velez, as Quasimodo, act out a scene during rehearsal of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” presented by The Community Players of Concord, at Concord City Auditorium in Concord on Nov. 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • The cast performs a Feast of Fools scene during rehearsal of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” presented by The Community Players of Concord at Concord City Auditorium in Concord. Elizabeth Frantz photos / Monitor staff

  • Laura Iwaskiewicz, as Esmeralda, dances in a scene from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” at Concord City Auditorium this weekend.

  • Jakob Stone, as Dom Claude Frollo, and the ensemble reherse a scene from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” presented by The Community Players of Concord.

  • Joel Iwaskiewicz, as Captain Phoebus De Martin, rehearses a scene from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” presented by The Community Players of Concord, at Concord City Auditorium in Concord on Nov. 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Darik Velez, as Quasimodo, acts out a scene during rehearsal of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” presented by The Community Players of Concord at Concord City Auditorium. Elizabeth Frantz photos / Monitor staff

  • Laura Iwaskiewicz, as Esmeralda, and Darik Velez, as Quasimodo, act out a scene from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

  • Jakob Stone, as Dom Claude Frollo, acts out a scene during rehearsal of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," presented by The Community Players of Concord, at Concord City Auditorium in Concord on Nov. 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff



Concord Insider
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Community Players of Concord are celebrating a big birthday this year – 90 years old. That’s a lot of shows going into its tenth decade.

But somehow the Players have outdone themselves once again. They’re the first community theater group in the state to perform The Hunchback of Notre Dame – ever.

“We’re billing it as the biggest show the Players has ever done,” said director Bryan Halperin.

So why not head down to the Concord City Auditorium this weekend, and see theater history in the making?

The musical was just released to non-professional acting groups earlier this year for the first time ever.

“It’s so new, I really didn’t have it on my radar until I saw it at the Ogunquit Playhouse in summer 2016,” Halperin said. “Then I pitched the show to the Players (last winter) before the rights were even available.”

Once it was open to a community theater company production, Halperin and the Players jumped at the chance.

And it’s quite the undertaking. The musical calls for a cast of 27 storytellers and a 24-person choir. Add in a professional 10-piece orchestra and that’s a lot of moving parts to be ready for on opening night.

“It’s a very big show, one of the more complicated shows I’ve worked on,” Halperin said.

In traditional storytelling theater fashion, it was up to Halperin to make it come to life. He wanted to find a way to justify having such a large choir – for there to be a purpose for the group to be on stage.

So he decided to create a version of the story where the tale of Quasimodo is set in a gothic church. The choir is, well, the choir, while the storytellers are the congregation.

Archdeacon Frollo, played by Jakob Stone, begins the show with a sermon of “What makes a monster? What makes a man?”

The story is then told through the imagination of the congregation as they listen to the sermon.

Quasimodo is taught that people like him don’t belong in the world.

“But he yearns to be part of something bigger,” Halperin said.

There are five major roles in the production: Quasimodo is played by Darik Velez. Stone is the Froll, who is Quasimodo’s caretaker and uncle. Husband and wife (in real life) Joel and Laura Iwaskiewicz play Esmeralda and Phoebus, who play love interests in the show. Clopin, the king of the gypsies, is portrayed by Adam Beauparlant.

Halperin compares it to another one of Victor Hugo’s classics.

“If you like Les Mis, then this is one for you,” he said.

Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for juniors (17 and younger) and seniors.

For more information, visit communityplayersofconcord.org.