OGDEN — Imagine living in 1924, getting dressed up for a night on the town to attend the new and elaborate Perry’s Egyptian Theatre in Downtown Ogden to see the black and white silent film “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” starring Lon Chaney as Quasimodo.  What an amazing night of theatre and entertainment that would have been! Now, 100 years later, Ogden Musical Theatre proudly presents The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Concert as a nod to one of the very first films ever shown in the theatre. 

With book by Peter Parnell and music by Alan Menken and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a moving and powerful musical based on the book by Victor Hugo.  Although many of the songs come from the Disney film, the storyline varies from the Disney version and stays closer to Hugo’s classic book, even using quotes verbatim from the original text.  

Directed by Jennifer Hughes, with Musical Direction by David Martin and Orchestra Direction by Michael Palumbo, Ogden Musical Theatre presents a show that is complete with an outstanding cast of talented performers and musicians. This is a show that is definitely a worthwhile venture. 

The Chamber Orchestra Ogden led by Palumbo started off the evening with a beautiful overture which turned into a jaw dropping sight as the full cast of singers rose up through the pit holding candles as if in a church choir. As this show is a concert style show, the orchestra was set centerstage with chairs and music stands for the ensemble behind the orchestra.  The pit area, now full height of the stage, was where the soloists and small ensemble groups came out to perform.  With no set, minimal props, and a little acting, the concert left a great deal to the imagination.  However, the talented singing and professional level music truly carried the night. When both the orchestra and full ensemble sang full strength together, as in the song “Esmerelda”, the music and emotions were overwhelming and satisfying to behold.

The heart of the show, the Hunchback Quasimodo, was played by Sean Bishop.  With kindness and hope in his acting and expressions, Bishop played kind hearted and innocent Quasimodo who was longing for human connection with more than Frollo and the stone gargoyles in Notre Dame’s towers.  Although Bishop has taken a few years away from the stage, his performance looked natural and easy as if he had never left.  With a hopeful rendition of “Out There”, Bishop lit up with excitement as he sang “I’ll have spent one day out there!”

Ricky Parkinson as Claude Frollo played a disturbed and evil man as he manipulated Quasimodo to do whatever Frollo wanted. As Parkinson and Bishop sang the duet “Sanctuary”, Parkinson rang out an impressive low note at the end that resonated deeply and harmonized seamlessly with Bishop. Parkinson sang “Hellfire” with dynamic vigor while projections of fire and flames and an infrared projection of Esmerelda danced behind him.

Esmerelda (Lean Campbell) was cheerful and optimistic as she light heartedly danced at the Feast of Fools and led Quasimodo onto the stage.  Campbell was powerful and moving in “God Help the Outcasts” especially as she stepped forward holding a candle and sang “I ask for nothing, I can get by.”  With strong acting and an easy grace in moving around the stage, Campbell beautifully acted such as in “Someday” when she became teary eyed and emotionally charged.  

Nick Balaich played a stoic Captain Phoebus de Martin.  His singing was exceptional as he sang a sweet love song with Campbell “In a Place of Miracles”.  Although the show was in concert with minimal acting, Balaich’s stiff manners seemed a little emotionless compared to Campbell, with little connection. 

Absolutely stealing the show for the night was the King of the Gypsies, Clopin Trouillefou played by Adam White.  Wearing a fashionable ankle length black suit embellished with pearl polka dots and a mustard yellow turtleneck, White stood out as a character to watch throughout the show.  White’s facial expressions were engaging and dramatic and his singing was theatrical and energetic.  Brilliantly, White strutted out on stage after intermission and with finesse and a wink led the orchestra and choir congregation in a quick and invigorating “Entr’acte”. Palumbo then walked onto stage and took the conductor’s baton back with much audience applause. 

Seeing The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Concert at the historic Egyptian Theatre is a delightful treat.  Audiences of all ages will enjoy this beautiful celebration of 100 years of entertainment at the Perry’s Egyptian Theatre in Ogden.  

The Hunchback of Notre Dame In Concert by Ogden Musical Theatre Plays at Perry’s Egyptian Theatre in Downtown Ogden 2415 Washington Blvd Ogden UT Feb 22nd at 7:30 pm, Feb 23rd at 7:30 pm, Feb 24th at 2pm and 7:30 pm, Feb 25th at 4pm, and Feb 26th at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20-28. For more information see ogdenmusicaltheatre.org.