Sound the Bells: Red Lion puts on production of ”The Hunchback of Notre Dame”

By Margaux Rentzel

Social Media Editor
Senior Mitchell Wise lays in sorrow on the ground while the cast expresses emotion behind him at the musical assembly on February 27. Izzy Schopf and Logan Smith share a loving moment for the scene. “Hunchback of Notre Dame” runs Mar. 5-8. Photo by Julia Beiler

Every March, Red Lion High School’s stage is transformed to fit that year’s musical. It has gone from River City, Iowa in the Music Man, the big city of Los Angeles in Rock of Ages, and even Urinetown, in last year’s production. But this year, the stage will be converted to 15th Century Paris, in the “Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a story about a hunchbacked bell ringer named Quasimodo who dreams of the outside world. 

“For me, Quasimodo is the simplest version of emotions that are possible.” senior Mitchell Wise, who is playing Quasimodo in the musical, said. “To me he is the perfect example of a washed human.” 

The musical encompasses emotion, power, and a whole new realm of musical that Red Lion has taken on. The musical will be taking place March 5, 6, and 7 at 7 p.m. and March 7 and 8 at 2 p.m.

“’Rock of Ages'” was lighthearted and fun,” director and choreographer of the musical, Dr. Ayala, said. “And even though Urinetown had death in it and was a little bit dark, it was a fun, lighthearted dark.” 

The show is dark and has emotions, which Dr. Ayala says people should be excited for. 

“[People] should not expect a lighthearted, happy, story,” Dr. Ayala said, “It’s dark and kind of tragic, but sometimes out of the most dark stories comes the most meaning and emotion.”

Mitchell Wise, who has played leads in the years past, is playing Quasimodo in this year’s musical.

“Having been the lead in the past four years,” Wise said, “It’s definitely a good one to end on.” 

Some other leads include Micah Summwalt as Dom Claude Frollo, Isabella Schopf as Esméralda, Sarah Foess as Clopin, and Logan Smith as Phoebus. 

“I am more excited about this show than any I’ve done so far,” Ayala said.  

The cast works hard from the beginning of the school year to fundraise, and all the way up to February practicing. 

“We were here every day from 5:30 to 9, and that will be the case in all of February,” Ayala said. “So we are all really tired.” 

Every year there is also a student director that helps out with almost everything in the musical. This year, the student director is Giovanna Davis. 

“Before this year, I truly never understood how much work, time, and effort goes into the production,” student director Giovanna Davis said. 

The musical does not only appeal to theatre kids, it also has opportunities to get all students involved. Students can get involved by auditioning for the cast, help out with costumes, makeup, and props, they could be a part of the stage crew, help paint sets, and could even help out with lighting and sound. 

“I love being able to have a creative vision,” Ayala said. “And see it come to life through students.” 

Not only can the students get involved with the musical, but so can the whole community. 

“We have an adult choir that we recruited community members and teachers for,” Ayala said. “And they are going to be sitting up on the choir loft up on the stage.”

The pit every year also works to incorporate the sounds of the musical so the audience can feel it. In past years, the pit has not been as big, but this year that has changed. 

“We have 33 members in our pit, which is huge,” Ayala said. “So big that they can’t be on stage.” 

Tickets are $10, and $8 on Thursday for Red Lion students and employees, and for senior citizens. People can visit for tickets. 

“[People] should definitely expect to feel emotions,” Ayala said. “And to feel changed, in a way, after they leave.” 

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