Cabrillo Stage Hunchback of Notre Dame
A scene from Cabrillo Stage’s production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
(Via Jana Marcus Photography)
City Life

Improved audience numbers buoy Cabrillo Stage in first season under new leadership

“Compared to the last post-COVID audience numbers, we’re still increasing,” artistic director Andrea L. Hart says after wrapping up her first season at the helm of musical-theater company Cabrillo Stage. No word yet on 2024, but Hart has her eye on “things that feel magical.”

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Congratulations to Cabrillo Stage, which just finished its 2023 season with an eye-popping production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” which I had a chance to catch in its final week. This summer marked the debut of the company under the leadership of newly hired artistic director Andrea L. Hart.

The four-week, 15-performance season followed up a tough 2022 season, the last under longtime artistic director Jon Nordgren, which saw small audiences and a canceled final week, all due to lingering effects of COVID.

Reflecting on her first season, Hart said the company did not reach the audience numbers it enjoyed pre-pandemic, but that audience numbers were an improvement on last summer. “Compared to the last post-COVID audience numbers, we’re still increasing,” she said. “I’m hoping that trend will continue next year and we’ll be kind of at pre-COVID numbers.”

Another big change at Cabrillo Stage was the number of shows. In recent years, the company was staging two big shows per summer, but decided this year to stay with the single production of “Hunchback.” Hart said the company will almost certainly continue with only one show during the summer, at least next year.

As for her thoughts about what show might be in store for local audiences in the summer of 2024, Hart said it was way too early to make any kind of announcement on that. But she did say, “One thing I think a lot about is doing shows that feature some kind of magic [in stage effects]. You know, things that feel magical.”