Festival of Fools

Grant Holland, as Quasimodo, and Abby West, as Esmeralda, join the company of The Hunchback of Notre Dame for a preview Tuesday afternoon at Cullman High School.

Cullman High School students are wrapping up their previews of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in preparation for community performances that are set for this weekend.

After shows in front of elementary students during the beginning of the week, CHS students will be performing the play for the public on Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Cullman High School Theatre Director Wayne Cook said preparations for “Hunchback” began with auditions and casting before Christmas break, and students got started on rehearsals as soon as the new semester began and have been finishing their preparations with the shows for elementary students.

“We’ve had some preliminary performances to get ready, and now we’re ready for the real thing this weekend,” he said.

Cook said the school’s performance of “Hunchback” has some elements from the Disney movie that many people may know, but it has a more serious atmosphere and tone while still being family friendly.

There is also a lot of music in this version of “Hunchback,” and the CHS choir students, led by director Sarah Jane Skinner, have joined the theatre production to add their voices to the songs, he said.

“It’s very musically driven, and the music is very beautiful,” he said. 

Along with the choir students lending their talents to the performance, the Cullman High School dance and art departments are also involved in the play, meaning there are more than 150 students working on “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” 

“It’s a collaboration between all of the fine arts people,” Cook said.

So far, the reaction from the elementary performances has been good, he said.

The performances for the elementary students don’t include the entire play, but are portions that will likely resonate a little better with younger students and hopefully inspire them or spark an interest in the performing arts, Cook said.

“It’s just something for them to gain an appreciation for the theatre,” he said.

Tickets for the community performances are $10 for adults and $5 for students, and the quality of the show that the students are going to put on is well worth price of admission, Cook said.

“It’s going to be a fantastic show,” he said. “I don’t think people will be disappointed.”

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