Interlochen Arts Academy Sets the Stage for ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’

A feeling of hope for the future. Hope for happiness and kindness in the world.

That’s what Interlochen Arts Academy Senior Ciara D’Hondt hopes audiences take away from their production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” on May 10 and 11.

Just about two weeks ago, the world watched as a fire seriously damaged the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

This is the final show of the year for the theatre department, and one that has special significance to the school itself.

Two academy alumni have played the original Quasimoto, one in the animated movie and the other in the original musical.

But more than that, Director of Theatre William Church says this story falls into a theme that many of their shows have had this season.

“Hunchback is a gorgeous story, we really think of it as an urgent plea for compassion in difficult times,” he says. “I really think that speaks to our students today. It’s a powerful story of inclusion. It asks important questions like what is a monster? What makes a man? What is the role of an outsider in our society? How do we treat each other?”

A powerful story told through beautiful costumes, sets, and song.

For Ciara, it’s a first lead role for her final performance as a student here.

“Esmerelda is so strong, and this is probably like the strongest character I’ve ever played,” she says. “She’s so—she just knows what she wants. She knows what she believes in and she sticks to that and she fights for that.”

She’s one of a cast of 36 who will take the stage along with dozens of gifted musicians.

Learn more about show times and tickets at tickets.interlochen.org.

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