Updated: Sep 17, 2018
It’s been 1 month since MoonAmie’s Hunchback of Notre Dame closed, and even still, I can’t help but think of this show every single day. Back in May, when we were all sitting in one giant circle for our very first read through, there was not a dry eye in the room by the time we had finished reading the finale. I don’t think anyone in that space knew how special the next 3 months would be.
There was an overwhelming excitement when MoonAmie announced The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. Students spent months talking about the show, and it's script, and it's soundtrack - everything. So many people had dreamed of doing the show, and couldn’t believe that they had the opportunity to do it with their MoonAmie Family. It felt like auditions couldn’t come soon enough, but they finally did in April. At the very end of Callbacks, the group of people who would become MoonAmie’s cast of “Hunchback” gathered around the piano to sing the first song in the show, “Olim.” Voices filled the room, as though they were blessing the walls and the floor and ceiling. Magic was created in that moment. Right then and there was a feeling that this show would be different than every other show MoonAmie had ever done. Every one sensed it, no one new quite why, but it was there.
It would only grow from there, as the cast took on the challenge of conquering the show physically and emotionally. The score took much training in order to fully master, as did the many dances that elevated the story telling. Each actor in the show faced their own challenge that came with their character. The cast as a whole would have to face the heart wrenching finale, as we discovered how to best tell the ending to such a beautiful story.
This was an entirely new experience for many because it was the first tragedy MoonAmie had produced. Don’t get me wrong, the story is gorgeous from beginning to end. It made you smile and laugh, but it also most definitely made you cry. I can say without a doubt in my mind that my two favorite moments of the entire rehearsal process for Hunchback of Notre Dame happened after our first full run through of the show, and the second after our final performance. Both were similar moments, but filled with different emotions.
Right after we sang the very last note of the show after the first run through, there was a pause and a breath of relief. Immediately after, with tears still flowing from our eyes, every single person in that cast began to give each other hugs. We all felt so proud of the show we created. We also all felt so much love for the people around, with whom we were able to create magic. Once again, everyone in the room could feel how special the show was. Now it was becoming more and more clear that this show would impact our lives unlike any other.
The second of my favorite moments took place right as the curtain fell for the very last time during our closing show. Even before the curtain completely closed, everyone started hugging each other. Everyone was crying and crying - people who we had never seen cry were crying (boom - exposed). Just like the first time, there was so much love in that space. We were all so proud of the show we spent the last 3 months working on as it was all coming to an end. This was the very last time any of us would be performing the Hunchback of Notre Dame with each other, at MoonAmie, in the Olympia Theater. After months of spending every single moment with each other, we couldn’t bear to separate. It was heart wrenching to have to leave behind the show that we had come to love with all our hearts.
Now, over an entire month later, the cast is still thinking about memories we made during the show. We are all anxiously awaiting the next time we get to spend hours and hours together every day in rehearsal: Newsies. But that isn’t until spring time... so I guess for now we’ll continue reminiscing on the past, and preparing for the future!