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Make time to see Town and Country’s “Hunchback”


Unlike the Disney version of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” the current production by Town and Country Players in Buckingham does not have a happy ending.

But it does have a message of what really makes a man into a monster, a fabulous ensemble that sings and performs from the heart, and a dedicated director who has dreamed of doing the show for years.

John Neuman is at the helm for this ambitious production that musically tells the tale of a crippled bell-ringer at the legendary Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the gypsy girl who is kind to him when others reject him for his misshapen form.

Seasoned actor Brady Love takes on the title role, covering his natural good looks with makeup and relinquishing his lithe grace to become the hunchback who is treated as a slave by the cathedral’s archdeacon, who only hints to the boy that he is his uncle.

Love uses two voices for the role; a harsh guttural one when speaking as Quasimodo, the hunchback, and his natural voice when communicating with the stone gargoyles who are his only friends. It’s with that voice that he mesmerizes the audience with songs such as “Heaven’s Light.” Love is both a gifted singer and actor and was a perfect choice for a role that is crucial to the production.

Lee Damon and his wife, Jenny McNiven Damon, are cast as the star-crossed lovers, Captain Phoebus de Martin and the gypsy Esmerelda. The pair transfers their private love to the stage in demanding roles that allow both their acting and singing talents to shine.

McNiven Damon steals the show when she performs numbers such as “Rhythm of the Tambourine” and “Top of the World.” They both shine in their duo, “Someday.”

Fans of Town and Country will be familiar with the work of Michael Schiumo, who takes on the role of the driven and tormented Archdeacon Claude Frollo. When first we meet Frollo he appears to be a good man who loves his brother. But time and experience turn him into a twisted villain who is beyond redemption. Schiumo does an outstanding job in this role, showing us the darkest reaches of the man’s soul.

The ensemble itself deserves its own kudos; each actor appears to embrace his or her role with talent and joy.

Neuman deserves praise for undertaking a complex production, choosing the right actors and successfully bringing it to the small Town and Country stage. The show continues for two more weekends (visit and is worth making time to see.