And a few words with the Director
The Dogwood Summer Youth Theater will present "The Hunchback of Notre Dame – The Musical" on July 28, 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. The Dogwood Summer Youth Theater is directed this summer by Casey Webb and involves area young people in all facets of the production.
Based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney animated feature, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" story begins as the bells of Notre Dame sound through the famed cathedral in fifteenth-century Paris. Quasimodo, the bell-ringer, observes all of Paris reveling in the Feast of Fools. Held captive by his devious caretaker, he escapes for the day and joins the boisterous crowd, only to be treated cruelly by all but Esmeralda. Quasimodo isn’t the only one captivated by her spirit. The handsome Captain Phoebus and Frollo are equally enthralled. As the three vie for her attention, Frollo embarks on a mission to destroy the Roma, and it’s up to Quasimodo to save them all.
Admission is free with ticket. Donations accepted at the door to support Dogwood programs. The production is on the Dogwood Main Stage with general admission seating.
For more information please contact the Dogwood Center at 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
We caught up with Ms. Webb to ask a few questions about the production.
N3- A bit of personal background please?
I started stage acting in middle school and continued into college. I studied theater, film, and dance in college with an emphasis on character work, comedy, and Shakespeare. After college I took a few classes at Second City in Chicago focusing on improv and sketch writing before moving onto films behind the scenes. I worked my way up in the production department working on film sets and reality television shows. There were times that I missed the stage, so I would do stand-up comedy. After spending years working and experiencing life, I moved back to the area and accepted a job working for Dogwood Center as their Program Director.
N3- Have you directed other shows?
I co directed ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged’ in college. Since then, I directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Robin Hood, Tom Sawyer, and Comedy of Errors for Dogwood’s Summer Youth Theater.
N3- Any mentors when it comes to directing?
My mom. She spent many years working in theater in high school and has a knack for looking at the big picture. She has been the assistant director of summer youth theater since the beginning.
N3- Why The Hunchback of Notre Dame?
The music. I wanted to do an adaptation of the original story for a Summer Youth Theater production and started to write my own. I would listen to the music as inspiration and instantly fell in love. I knew there was no way I could adapt something that I felt was already a masterpiece. So, I had to convince my family, who also moonlight as my production crew, to hop on board for our first musical in the 17 years since SYT started
N3- How many young folks are involved? In what capacities?
We cater to ages 12+. We try to include new and returning actors, no matter their age. We have many of our kids who have younger siblings who have never done theater or don’t have much of an opportunity, so we try to have smaller walk-on roles for them. But a majority of our group tends to be high school and college age.
N3- Tell us a bit about casting process in this show.
We encouraged everyone to audition, no matter their experience. We love to take chances on new actors, so they get to grow, have fun, and learn something new. We also try to find a place for everyone, so no one feels turned away. We do our best to pair experienced actors with new actors, so they have a chance to learn together.
N3- What are the challenges involved in Youth Theater?
We have such a short amount of time to teach them everything that goes into a play.
N3-What are the benefits?
Making new friends and watching the growth of each actor while they learn how much work goes into a play.
N3- Any surprises during the course of rehearsals?
A few of our kids have never done a musical before and it has been challenging to not just focus on the acting side of things but also the music and choreography; this group of actors have been troopers.
N3- Why should people come to the show and what should they expect?
Besides the fact that this show is absolutely beautiful, in my opinion, we are currently at a time in the world where people are feeling lost and unsure of where they belong. This story focuses on the prejudices that others have for people who are different like Quasimodo and the Gypsies. At the end of the day, we are all human and the lines are more blurred than others may think.
N3- Any other comments?
This has been one of the most challenging years as a director, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my family and my amazing cast and crew. A lot of them have stepped up to take on various roles and have been amazing role models. I couldn’t have asked for a better group! We hope everyone has a chance to come out and see the show, it’s one you do not want to miss!
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