Boyertown Musical: Curtain Will Rise on "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"


by Lesley Misko

A classic story of unrequited love set in 5th century Paris comes to the stage of Boyertown Area Senior High (BASH) when the curtain rises on this year’s musical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Four performances are scheduled: Thursday, Feb. 29 – Sunday, March 3.  All are at 7:00 PM, except Sunday, which is a 2:00 PM matinee.

Based on an 1831 French novel written by Victor Hugo, who also wrote Les Miserables, the story revolves around a disfigured man named Quasimodo whose ugly appearance makes him live in isolation from society, and his love for a gypsy girl named Esmeralda. Though he longs to live a normal life, Quasimodo inhabits the darkness, hidden away at Notre Dame Cathedral, where he rings the bell in the tower. The Cathedral figures prominently in the show. Quasimodo’s guardian is Archdeacon Frollo, who is unscrupulous in his treatment of Quasimodo and has ill-intentions towards Esmeralda.

The novel has been adapted for stage and film countless times, but the best known to modern audiences is the 1996 Disney animated version. The music for that version was composed by Alan Menken, who also wrote the music for many of the other popular Disney animated movies, and it is Menken’s music that tells the story in the Boyertown production.

The show poses some interesting challenges for a high school cast. Most musicals tell their story through dialogue between characters with songs periodically breaking up the dialogue. However, Hunchback’s story is almost entirely told through song with only occasional dialogue.

Mr. Jeffrey K. Brunner, Director of BASH Choirs and musical director of the show points out, “This is the first show that is ‘sung throughout’ since we did Les Mis, and the show’s music rivals Les Mis in beauty and difficulty.”

Brunner shares, “At the beginning, students thought it was an unusual choice of show, but now that we are deep into rehearsals, they are realizing the level of challenge, and loving the music, dance, and beautiful story to be told, even though it is a sad one.”

“John (Hazel; drama director) and I were looking through a list of shows and discussing the talented students with whom we are blessed. We wanted to challenge ourselves and our students, and we knew we had the talent to do it. We were still undecided, but then I was approached by a friend who teaches in another school district. Her school had just done the show, and she said, ‘If my school district could pull this off as well as they did, a Boyertown production would be absolutely spectacular.’ That clinched it for me. I always look ‘for a sign’ that tells me, ‘Do this one; this is the one you should do,’ and I was convinced her comment was that ‘sign,’” Brunner continues.

Describing the show’s music as “each song being better than the one before,” Brunner mentions some tunes that may be familiar to the audience from the Disney film. They include “Out There,” “Heaven’s Light,” and “Hellfire,” the villain’s song that reveals the internal struggle between good and evil, sung by the Archdeacon of Notre Dame, a powerful person who uses his power to hurt instead of help. The lyricist for the show is Steven Schwartz, who also wrote lyrics for blockbuster hits like “Wicked,” “Pippin,” “Godspell,” and “Pocahontas.”

Brunner also shares that the show features one of the largest student casts ever in BASH history and adds that the stage will be magnificent as it becomes Notre Dame Cathedral. The set will be a combination of rented professional pieces and other  pieces built by a group of local adult volunteers, who make magic happen by transforming the stage for each year’s musical production.

Senior Jack Burrell is likely to impress audiences as he brings the role of Quasimodo to life. Audiences may remember Burrell from his performances as Curley in Oklahoma and Danny Zucko in Grease. Other named characters include Anthony Scheponik as Dom Claude Frollo; Nolan Hetrick as Jehan Frollo; Abigail Breidenbach as Florika; Daniel Freed as Father Dupin; Anthony Moser as Clopin Trouillefou.

Also, Joseph Casey as Phoebus De Martin; Harrison Maxymillian as Frederic Charlus; Rosalie Camper as the alluring Esmeralda; Austin Parker as King Louis XI; Kolby Grim as an Official; Emmalynn Adams as Madame, Liam Glackin as Saint Aphrodisius, and Ava Puleo as Marie. 

Anastasia Escott, Cassidy Nuss, Deb Villette, Emily Gates, Kailey Reinboth, and Maya Lopez will perform in the dual roles of Principals and Gargoyles.

In the roles of Congregants, Revelers, Soldiers, and Gypsies will be Adam Pensyl, Ashtyn Ehst, Cole Major, Ella Albright, Jamie Kelly, Kaitlyn Mcllhinney, Kamilah Jenkins, and Shane Speaker.

The Choir is comprised of Madeline Benn, Natalia Bradley, Elijah Brown, Keira Comfort, Kacie Dieser, Molly Dunlap, Samuel Elliott, Sadie Hanish, Gracie Heffner, Leo Heft, Delanie Jackson, Madeline Kunsch, and Regan Kretovich. 

Hana Lafond, Shawn Marie Moser, Ivy Metzler, Addison Moyer, Katelyn O’Connor, Hannah Paul, Lyndsey Peterman, Sydney Peterman, Aiden Powell, Brynn Ressler, Riley Rogers, Alison Shapin, Carson Snyder, Daniel Villette, Reagan Vining, Emma Wyatt complete the Choir.

As opening night nears, expectation for another outstanding Boyertown musical is growing. “John and I are both very excited about it. Don’t miss this one. It is a beautiful story and will wow the audience and tell the epic tale that explores themes about good and evil, beauty and ugliness,” Brunner concludes.

Purchasing Tickets:

All seats are reserved. Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased with cash, check, or credit car Wednesday evenings from 6:00- 7:00 PM at the ticket window in the BASH auditorium lobby, located on North Monroe Street in Boyertown, PA 19512.

Tickets are also available online at:

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