The South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado has announced the cast members for this summer's musical production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
The musical, sponsored by Murphy USA, will run July 18-21 and 24-28.
"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is the story of a misshapen and sensitive man who remains ensconced in a cathedral before the beauty and compassion of the gypsy Esmeralda transforms him. He rescues her from burning at the stake and makes the Parisians realize his worth and dignity.
The musical version elevates the story into a new dimension with its soaring ensemble musical numbers.
Talking statues, a colorful festival, and the massive cathedral complete with the bells of Notre Dame grace the stage and make for eye-catching scenery.
Playing the part of Quasimodo, the bell-ringing recluse, will be Joshua Purvis, a new face to the SAAC stage. He attends Texas A&M Commerce in Commerce, majoring in theater education.
Esmeralda, the beautiful gypsy girl, will be played by Lainey Walthall, a long-time SAAC stage veteran. Seen recently as Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and Sally Brown in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” Walthall has been a big part of the face of SAAC theater for several seasons.
Dom Claude Frollo, the not-so-priestly priest, will be portrayed by Roland Bradfute, also an experienced SAAC actor. His recent characters include Lurch in "Addams Family -- The Musical,” the understudy for Cogsworth and Maurice in "Beauty and the Beast,” and William St. Claire in "The 1940's Radio Christmas Carol.”
Jonathan Randle will play the role of Clopin Trouillefiou, the narrator in the story, and also the King of the Gypsies. Randle is a familiar face on the SAAC stage, as well. He has recently been seen as Jose in "Breakfast at Tiffany's,” Captain Scott in "Peter and the Starcatcher" and Shermy in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Phoebus De Martin, a man constantly in his own way, will be played by Joel Cheshier. His SAAC credits include the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz,” Gaston in "Beauty and the Beast" and the pirate Blackstache in "Peter and the Starcatcher.”
The Gargoyles are an integral part of the cast on stage as they reflect the emotions of Quasimodo. Fear, happiness, excitement and strength, among others, are represented by Kesynce Brewster-Daniel, Carmelo Brown, Josie Denson, Hannah Hopson and Maggie Phillips.
The "Congregation" plays a plethora of roles. This ensemble will be playing townspeople and church-goers in addition to many other walk-ons. The Congregation will be filled out by Kenneth Burns, Clay Evers, Abby Cate, Nathan Gunter, Jacarllus Hill, Tallis Kyle, Mike Means, Lani Misenheimer, Bob Stephenson, Abby Triplet and Jazz VanAssche.
One of the most striking elements of the production is the Cathedral Choir, who are literally singing from the rafters of the stage. The choir is comprised of Addie Bosanko, Deanna Hopson, Charlsie Langley, Betsy Phillips, Hali Pinson, and Tracey Wilson-Rice, Braelyn Allen, Daisy Bright, Bekah Gunter, Lynn Gunter, Shana Williams and Lauri Wilson, David Kinard, Mike McAvoy, and Richard Wharton.
The Cathedral Choir is the musical equivalent of the "Rose Windows" of Notre Dame, taking the audience to places both light and dark.