Summer musical based on gothic novel

Summer musical based on gothic novel
Lee Elliott

Larry Sams, left, Nathan Bond, Mykala Aldergate and Francis Brogan rehearse a scene from The Little Theatre summer musical, “Hunchback of Notre Dame.”


Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County’s summer musical, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” opens this weekend. The production, based on Victor Hugo’s classic gothic novel, showcases music from Disney’s animated film and new music by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz.

Assistant Director Kait Gallagher Wilsterman said audiences should be aware that while adapted from the Disney film, the show is a darker and more mature version, closer to Hugo’s novel. It contains adult themes and situations including death, harassment and assault. Strobe and fog events are used.

“This is my directorial debut,” Director Mary Maxwell said, “and it is the most challenging show I have ever worked on. We were very lucky to have been able to purchase our set from the Columbus Children’s Theater. It was so large we had to cut it down a little, but it is so beautiful and appropriate that other upcoming productions will be able to use parts of it.”

Maxwell said she was assistant director for the production at Ohio State University while working on her degree in stage managing and dramaturgy.

“I love research,” she said, “so I am happy to have been able to bring some of the original elements of a literary work to this rendition. I believe the audience will be impressed with the Greek Chorus philosophy governing the show. A choral ensemble with music in hand is on stage throughout the production. From beginning to end, everyone on stage is there to tell the story of Quasimodo, the hunchback.”

The Dover High School graduate praised the cast. “Every character has taken ownership of his or her part, from the symbolic costumes to learning a lot of Latin,” she said. “A former supervisor told me once to ‘Let the chefs cook.’ I believe this philosophy has served us well in this production. Each person contributes his part of the story as Quasimodo transforms from a beautiful young man into a monster.”

Maxwell said her father introduced her to theater when he took her to see “Les Miserables” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

“Strangely, I never desired to be on stage,” she said. “I love working backstage and behind the scenes. I thought I was going to be an English professor, but I fell into theater instead.”

Joining Maxwell as her crew are Megan Sams, music director; Jennica Cochran, choreographer; Daelyn Carpenter, stage manager; Josie McCutcheon and Shavonne Mcmillan, producers; Matt Spies, technical director; Joe Compton, lighting designer; Larry Sams, Spies and Compton, set design; and Mikey Rogers, photography.

Performances will run June 28, 29 and 30 and July 5, 6, 7, 12, 13 and 14. Friday and Saturday performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 330-308-6400 or visiting

The production is sponsored by Levco Striping Services and the Fraternal Order of the Eagles #515-Dover. The Little Theatre is located at 466 Carrie Ave. NW in New Philadelphia.

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