Review: Musicals by Moonlight: Hunchback – Aurora Theatre

Saturday night was a perfect night for a concert under the stars punctuated by a beautiful full moon. The Aurora Theater provided stellar entertainment for an Arts in the Park event at the Lawrenceville Lawn. For those of us fortunate enough to see The Aurora’s production of  Hunchback last summer (I couldn’t stay away and saw it 3 times), this was an added bonus. For those who hadn’t taken the opportunity to see it before, this was a special treat. Many of the original performers returned to deliver another breathtaking performance. Those who assumed roles that had been played by former cast members also filled in beautifully. We were also able to see something we aren’t able to at the Aurora–the live orchestra under the incomparable direction of Ann-Carol Pence. Every performance was “Keynote-worthy”, but especially those of Haden Rider as Quasimodo, Bryant Smith as Frollo, Chani Maisonet as Esmerelda, Lowery Brown as Phoebus, and Kevin Harry as Clopas. The concert-style production didn’t stop Esmerelda from leaving the stage to entertain the crowd during Rhythm of the Tambourine. Quisomodo sported a hunchback and played his character as if he were on stage in the theatrical production. The Festival of Fools included confetti and audience members of all ages (including dogs), enjoyed the festival atmosphere that can only be provided when sitting outside on blankets and in camp chairs. The only way to describe the evening was magical. I found myself being swept up in the story and feeling teary-eyed at the ending all over again.

If you missed your opportunity to see this spectacular performance, you can take advantage of another evening of moonlit music from the Aurora on May 5th at 8:00 PM at the Duluth City Hall when the Aurora presents Hairspray–the Broadway Musical. While the concert is free, you can also opt to take advantage of  VIP tables for the event including a catered dinner which is available for purchase at

For more information about the Aurora Theatre–visit their website at

-Jody Key

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