Juan Castro stars as Quasimodo in the colorful and passionate new production of 'Hunchback of Notre Dame' at Cabrillo Stage.
(Jana Marcus)
City Life

Last weekend to catch ‘Hunchback’ at Cabrillo Stage

With the final weekend coming up for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” Cabrillo Stage blends the fresh energy of new artistic leadership with the steady hand of an experienced crew.

This story was originally featured in this week’s Weekender newsletter. Be the first to hear about arts and entertainment news in Santa Cruz County — sign up for Wallace’s email newsletter here and and text alerts here.

One more weekend for ‘Hunchback’

Cabrillo Stage’s new production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” heads into its final weekend at the Crocker Theater on the campus of Cabrillo College.

If you haven’t checked in on Cabrillo Stage in a while, it’s true that the company has new leadership, as well as new energy, with first-year artistic director Andrea L. Hart. But that doesn’t mean the acclaimed musical theater company is back at Square One. Keep in mind that the elements that have made Cabrillo Stage a huge part of the Santa Cruz County summer are mostly all still in place, including the visionary set designer Skip Epperson, costumer Maria Crush, choir director Cheryl Anderson, and music director Mickey McGushin, all accomplished and familiar artists in their own right. With that kind of backbone, Cabrillo Stage will always put on memorable shows.

And “Hunchback” is destined to be one of those memorable shows. Based, of course, on the nearly 200-year-old Victor Hugo novel, the stage play is a swirl of constant motion in song and choreography. Mindy Pedlar, who is part of the huge ensemble, told me she has 16 costume changes (nope, not a typo).

With well-known songs by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, “Hunchback” tells the story of the tormented bell ringer Quasimodo and his beloved Esmerelda in post-Revolutionary Paris. The musical is known for its passion and energy, as well as its dark and alluring look.

‘My favorite song in the show is actually its finale,” said Mindy, “both for the beauty of its message and the sheer whoomf you get as an audience member, when every single actor and choir member unleash[es] all the sound they can give for the show’s main musical themes. You can’t escape that tingle, and I’ve never been in a show where the audience literally starts applauding before we’ve even finished the final note. I mean, they’re getting the tingles.”

“Hunchback” is playing for four moreperformances Thursday through Sunday. Be sure to catch it.