When the call to perform was made, the stage was set, the audience was seated, and the lights went dim. The Fullerton College Theatre arts department stepped up to deliver an outstanding opening night performance of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” on Thursday, Mar. 10. Every member of the production from those behind or below the scenes, to the cast on stage, delivered a stellar performance.

During the dress rehearsal before opening night, Quasimodo, played by Jon Armijo, and Esmeralda, played by Gisela Flores, sing a duet surrounded by the gargoyles.

During the dress rehearsal before opening night, Quasimodo, played by Jon Armijo, and Esmeralda, played by Gisela Flores, sing a duet surrounded by the gargoyles. Photo credit: Gigi Gradillas

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is a story set in 15th century Paris that tells the tale of Quasimodo, a disabled bell ringer of Notre-Dame Cathedral. Quasimodo’s story includes love and tragedy alike and this adaptation of the French literature delivered lots of emotion. The Theatre Arts department offered powerful vocals, soulful acting, and enchanting dance performances which made it a show to be remembered.

“Having the choir there definitely adds that layer. Excellent orchestra, they’re all professionals. Everything coming together, tech and everyone just trying as hard as they could and having it come together in this beautiful masterpiece,” said Jon Armijo, who played Quasimodo. All of the cast members had plenty of positive things to say about their production team and even the crowd who came out that night.

The ensemble gathers around Quasimodo after being beaten by the crowds moments after being crowned king of "Topsy Turvy Day."

The ensemble gathers around Quasimodo after being beaten by the crowds moments after being crowned king of "Topsy Turvy Day." Photo credit: Gigi Gradillas

After the performance, Tiayo Inoue, the actor who played Phoebus said, “I’ve definitely been building toward it. I’ve done smaller things with friends or smaller groups, things like that. But this is the first time I’ve performed at Fullerton College and the first time I’ve performed on such a large stage.” If there were nerves, it certainly didn’t stop him from giving it his all.

The dance choreography was a highlight of the evening. Zachary Quinn, the actor who played Clopin, had an acrobatic performance in addition to singing and dancing. To be able to hold perfect song while performing various acrobatics on stage was worthy of all applause given by the audience.

Esmerelda, played by Gisela Flores, sings "God Help The Outcasts" in the church scene just after meeting Quasimodo.

Esmerelda, played by Gisela Flores, sings "God Help The Outcasts" in the church scene just after meeting Quasimodo. Photo credit: Gigi Gradillas

The performance was one that, on a smaller stage like Fullerton College, gave a feeling of intimacy and let the power behind the performer’s vocals be felt. While the play didn’t deviate intensely far from the source for this performance, there were many aspects to appreciate. The choir filled the room with vocals that were impactful while still keeping the size of the theatre in mind.

The musical accompaniment in all regards was top of the line. The cast also seemed to greatly enjoy themselves on stage, which made the whole performance memorable.

Colin Pinedo’s performance displayed a deeper vocal range for a number of songs and did an excellent job as he portrayed the antagonist Claude Frollo.

During the scenes taking place in the bell tower of the Notre-Dame, a bell installation lowered down and rang throughout various songs.

During the scenes taking place in the bell tower of the Notre-Dame, a large bell installation lowered down and rang throughout various songs. Photo credit: Gigi Gradillas

“Honestly, the moments in between the scenes, during tech when sets need to be changed or mics need to be fixed, where we are just hanging out as a group and as an ensemble… It’s fun to hang out as just a big group of friends because that’s what it is, right? A big game of dress-up that you get to play with your friends and I think that’s really cool,” said Pinedo.

That feeling of community amongst the cast certainly lent itself to the fluid and natural performance displayed. The bells of Notre Dame will ring for two more nights at the Campus Theater.

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