In an area like ours where we are proud to boast a strong arts culture, “firsts” are hard to come by. But The Main Street Youth Theatre is presenting not one but two area “firsts” with their upcoming production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

Of particular interest is the unique collaboration with The May River Theatre.  These two dynamic production companies decided to join forces on this musical for a number of reasons.  MSYT Board President Cinda Seamon explains, “The May River Theatre has been without a home for some time as the Ulmer Auditorium is part of the Town of Bluffton’s renovation project.  We saw this as a way to help out another important entity in our area and join forces on this powerful musical.”  Jennifer Green, May River Theatre Board President adds, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to combine our efforts and resources and bring our community something totally unexpected.”

And unexpected is just what you will find with “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”.  This is the first time this musical has been produced in our area and while some may be familiar with Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel or the 1996 Disney animated film, the show brings the story to life on stage with an unforgettable blend of both.  Masterfully crafted from the Oscar-winning team of Alan Menken (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid) and Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin), this sweeping, grand-scale musical features music by Menken, lyrics by Schwartz and a book by Peter Parnell. It is the classic story of Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bell-ringer of Notre Dame who desires to one day be a part of the outside world.  It is a story of love, acceptance and what it means to be a hero.  Memorable songs include “Out There”, “God Help The Outcasts” and “Someday”.

The show brings together an impressive blend of adult and young adult talent; part of Main Street Youth Theatre’s recipe for success.  “Each year we want our line-up to consist of a Spring Junior Production (up to age 14), a Summer blockbuster that will primarily feature high school age students and a Fall musical with a blend of adults and youth,” Seamon explains. Leads roles include Daniel Cort as Archdeacon Frollo, Grant Grace as Quasimodo, Jacey Robinson as Esmeralda, Keegan Crotty as Phoebus and Daniel Derrer as Clopin.  An additional 25 cast members round out the ensemble and choir which are paramount to the storyline and complex musical numbers.

The show’s production team includes Travis Marshall Hornsby (Director), Josh Wall (Music Director), Sonya Jacobs (Choral Director) and Dawn Rosa Miller (Choreographer). There will be 10 performances total at the Seahawk Cultural Center in the Hilton Head High School; October 17ththru 28th; evening performances at 7pm and 2pm matinees on Saturday & Sunday (10/21 & 10/28).

Tickets are $19 for adults and $12 for students and are available online at MSYT.org and MayRiverTheatre.com or by calling the box office at 843-689-6246.