THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

This adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel (book and lyrics by Gary Lamb, music by William A. Reilly) is more like an old-fashioned operetta (with a dash of 19th-century melodrama thrown in) than a modern musical. There's something enduringly touching about the hopeless love of the hideous, deformed bell ringer, Quasimodo (Bill Mendieta), for the beautiful Gypsy girl Esmeralda (Amy Bloom), who misguidedly loves Phoebus (Derek Knight), the caddish captain of the guard. But the adapters have been too faithful to the original novel: The Gypsy is so totally deceived by the transparently vicious guardsman that she often seems like a ninny, and the obsessed Archdeacon Frollo (Vsev Krawczeniuk) is so relentlessly villainous he strains credibility. In Act 2, the piece focuses in on the hunchback's shy adoration of Esmeralda and becomes quite moving. Mendieta, with the assistance of an eloquent, knobby mask created by Joanne McGee and Lamb, achieves genuine nobility. This rendition, directed by Thomas W. Ashworth and Lamb, is more concise and stripped down than the production 12 years ago at the Ivy Substation, but loses some impact without the spectacle and richness of musical resources. There are solid performances by Alissa-Nicole Koblentz and Melissa Bailey.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m., 2008