The Hunchback of Notre Dame brings kindness to Georgia.

This weekend my son and I attended the opening weekend production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Admittedly as a child this was not one of my favorite Disney movies. I didn’t have high expectation of this show simply based off that. However, I’ve attended multiple plays at the Aurora from Into the Woods, In the Heights, Sweep and Split in Three. I know this theatre is amazing and continues to produce fantastic shows.

Needless to say, the opening number completely blew me away. The very first song of this show had me hooked! The vocal quality bouncing off the walls of this theatre and into my ears was fantastic. It felt like a musical hug. I was in awe and in shock of how much these voices filled the room. I caught myself saying “wow” so many times during this show simply because my neighbor was saying wow just as much.

This cast is remarkable. David De Vries as Dom Claude Frollo is a man that captures the stage. As we watch his character transform from a sweet and gentle soul into a man dealing with human emotions attempting to fight his flesh, the audience is lured into his love triangle and you can’t help but to hate this character while feeling empathy at the same time.

Julissa Sabino as Esmeralda grabs the audience immediately. This was no surprise. After seeing Julissa in In the Heights and Grease at Serenbe Playhouse I knew she could sing and dance. However, Esmeralda was a different character. Julissa completely embodied the gypsy goddess that Esmeralda is. She is absolutely a knock out and continues to dominate the stage in every role I’ve seen her play.

Mr. Kevin Harry, as Clopin Trouillefou opens and closes the show with this enchantingly loud voice. His tone is so magnificent and his sound is full. He character is a bit of a jokester and he keeps you on your toes never knowing when he may appear. When he opens his mouth, he leaves you speechless. His voice kind of reminds me of a warm hug and you can’t help but to smile while listening to him.

Hayden Rider as Quasimodo is the most amazing thing you will see in theatre right now. I mean this humble young man literally transforms into his character before our eyes. To watch him become the Hunchback on stage is such an amazing dramatic effect. It lures the audience into the tales and for some time we are completely transported into Quasimodo’s world. Hayden is incredibly believable as this “monster.” His vocal ability is far beyond anything I expected. His voice changes throughout the production and gives so much life to his character.

The ensemble in this production is so incredibly talented. All summer my family and I have been touring various venues checking out different shows. During the opening number when the cast “unveils” themselves we say so many people from other amazing productions. From the Dancing Granny, to Grease, to In the Heights, to Sweep, I am convinced that the production team at the Aurora handpicked this ensemble. Their combined voices are phenomenal and will give you chills up and down your spine. From the lowest notes to the highest this cast did not miss a beat.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is running at the Aurora for five more weeks (until August 27, 2017). I encourage you to pack up the family and go experience this for yourself. Go with an eager spirit and open mind. Be prepared to be transformed back in time and escape the real world for a short period of time. Honestly, I think this show may be one of my top five shows in the Atlanta area.

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