The stage musical adaptation of Disney’s 1996 animated pic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” which premiered in Germany in 1999 but never made it Stateside, will have its American preem as part of the 2014-15 season at La Jolla Playhouse, alongside the west coast bow of Elizabeth Egloff’s historical drama “Ether Dome.”
The stage version of “Hunchback,” a rare team-up of songwriters Alan Menken (“Little Shop of Horrors,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Newsies”) and Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked,” “Pippin”), has been in the works for a while now with the aim of retooling the title for future life. Whereas the original 1999 adaptation, which played Berlin for three years, had a book by James Lapine (“Sunday in the Park with George,” “Into the Woods”), this new version has a book by Peter Parnell (“The West Wing,” “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”). Scott Schwartz, the legit helmer who is Stephen Schwartz’s son, directs.
With music by Menken and lyrics by Schwartz, “Hunchback” recounts the Victor Hugo tale about bellringer Quasimodo and the beautiful gypsy Esmerelda. Josh Bergasse (“Smash”) choreographs. La Jolla produces the tuner by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Prods., which previously teamed with La Jolla on an early run of “Peter and the Starcatcher.”
Egloff’s “Ether Dome,” meanwhile, is based on the true story of the discovery of anesthetic ether. Michael Wilson (Broadway’s “The Trip to Bountiful”) directs.
“Ether Dome,” co-produced with the Huntington Theater, is lined up for a run July 11-Aug. 10, while ”Hunchback” plays La Jolla Oct. 28-Dec. 7. The two productions join a 2014-15 lineup at the theater that also includes “The Orphan of Zhao,” “The Bald Soprano,” “Kingdom City” and a workshop staging of “Chasing the Song,” the new musical from the “Memphis” team.
Better late than never, even though it took 15 years. Even though I am more of a Notre Dame de Paris girl when comes to theatre adaptations I am glad this is finally coming to the states. Just waiting for the day I can see this amazing song live,