Fall Drama Preview

As October comes to a close, preparations for the fall drama are well underway. This year’s drama will be the Hunchback of Notre Dame. This play was based on the novel by Victor Hugo and follows the story of Esmeralda, a beautiful dancer kidnapped and raised by a Romani clan, as she meets and is admired by several men, including the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame, his adoptive father the archdeacon, and several others. Senior Marisol Medina will take the stage as Esmerelda, the bold and talented gypsy, accompanied by Ian Lertola as Quasimodo, the ‘hunchback’ who is kind but attacked by society. Michael Oestreich plays Archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, the main antagonist. The cast includes an additional 34 students, as well as involvement from many people who work behind-the-scenes on the crew, music, and set-building team. However, this show will be a little different than last year’s drama, Mermaid, or the 2017 drama The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. In the past few years, Central Theatre has done many shows involving a lot of ensemble movement and physicality. However, Mr. Hogan has revealed that, although Romani dancing is involved, this show will not be as physical as the previous two. “After doing two back-to-back physical shows, I think Hunchback will take the audience by surprise,” says Mr. Hogan, who also reports that the show is coming together nicely and is on track for the performances.

Mr. Hogan has had a history of award-winning performances, and the cast has been invited several times to award ceremonies at venues such as the Montclair Foxy Awards and Papermill Playhouse’s Annual Rising Star Awards. One of his most famous shows was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, centering around a high school boy who attempts to overcome his mental disability while unraveling the mystery of the murder of his neighbor’s dog. This show won awards for outstanding achievement in choreography, outstanding performance by a lead actor in a drama, and outstanding overall production. Our amazing director has put on spectacular shows, including Irena’s Vow and Mermaid.

Not only, however, does West Morris boast a great teacher for drama, but the musicals are outstanding as well! Mr. Hogan has been known for straying from the beaten path with musicals like Bright Star, The Pirate Queen, and Jesus Christ Superstar, all of which received several award nominations. For more information on these productions, feel free to check out the archives on the Central Theatre website.

While productions with Mr. Hogan are undoubtedly professional and impressive to the eye, involvement in Central Theatre has also had other benefits for the students. When asked for his opinion on how Hunchback was going, senior Ian Lertola responds “It’s going great. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people who I wasn’t super close with before.” Being involved with a group that meets every day, especially through theatre, can help people to form relationships and make new friends. Lertola agrees that theatre helps even shy students to come out of their shell, to explore their full potential. In many situations, a student could discover a new aspect to their personality.

Furthermore, Bianca Rosiak, a sophomore and member of the ensemble, says “It’s really fun, experiencing the Romani culture.” Theatre can be a great way to learn about other cultures, world events, or areas in which society is influenced that one might not know about previously. Surely, this production promises an immersive and engaging trip back in time to 15th-century Paris.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame will be having its performances on Thursday the 15th at 7:30pm, Friday the 15th at 7:30pm, and on Saturday the 16th at 2:00 and 7:30pm. The cast and crew urge everyone to come and see the show!

To find out more information on Central Theatre and its productions, visit the website at https://wmrhsd.learning.powerschool.com/30jeffhogan/centraltheatre/cms_page/view