Hunchback of Notre Dame Brings Paris to Capitol Theater

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Photo of Esmeralda from Hunchback of Notre Dame. Photo from Audience of One Productions.

A new musical version of the classical tragedy “Hunchback of Notre Dame” will bring 15th century Paris live to the Capitol Theater in Lebanon, Tennessee February 2 through February 5, 2023. Show times are 7:00 p.m. on February 2 through February 4, an additional 1:00 p.m. show on February 4, and a 3:00 p.m. performance on Sunday, February 5. The Audience of One Productions cast features Macy Ruggiero as Esmerelda, Nick Gehring, as Captain Phoebus de Martin, Daven Dee as Quasimodo, and Tanner Buttery as Dom Claude Frollo.

The play is based on the 1831 book written by Victor Hugo, which he wrote to highlight fading French culture during his time and to bring attention to the destruction of Gothic Renaissance structures. Loss of architecture and culture are being experienced in our own time as we tear down historical structures and question our way of life. Couldn’t be a better time to produce the play.

According to Britannica.com, the story begins when “Quasimodo first meets Esmeralda at the Feast of Fools, an annual festival parodying ecclesiastical ritual and cardinal elections. During the festival, Quasimodo is elected ‘Pope of the Fools’ and subsequently beaten by an angry mob. Esmeralda takes pity on him and offers him a drink of water. Quasimodo thereafter falls in love with the [gypsy] dancer and decides to devote himself to protecting her.” 

Most people have heard of the poor deformed and deaf bell ringer Quasimodo and his ill-fated love for the beautiful gypsy girl Esmeralda, but this story touches on other issues that we face today like a powerful man who lusts after a beautiful woman and punishes her when she refuses him. Esmeralda could say #MeToo. It also touches on religious extremism, political corruption and life on the edge of society.

While many of the themes are very modern, the story takes place in Paris of the late Middle Ages. The musical blends much of the story from the book with music from the Disney movie. However, it is actually neither. All comedy from the movie has been removed for the play, making it much more operatic in its musical score and production. But like the Disney movie, some of the characters from the book have been removed to streamline the story.

Audience of One Productions is the brainchild of Angie Dee. She had the vision in 2015 of producing professional quality theatrical productions in Wilson County. She envisioned talented young actors performing Broadway shows on the Capitol Theatre stage. The first production was a sold-out “Into the Woods” in 2015. The number of shows and performances has grown every year. They were even able to perform shows through the pandemic. 

“We anticipate our new season to be the best ever,” said Angie Dee on Facebook.

Located on Lebanon’s historic square, the Capitol Theatre is home to live theatre, concerts, comedy shows, dance performances, public events, the latest films, and it is available for rental. Originally opened in 1949, and given an Art Deco makeover in the 1950s, the building was vacant for a number of years until Bob and Pam Black bought it in 2009 and converted it into a multi-purpose showplace that opened in 2013.

Tickets to the musical will be $15 to $17. They can be purchased here.

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