MEET NICK KUELL

Talk to us a little bit about your character and what he/she brings to the story.

Phoebus is an interesting guy. A huge theme in this story is the oppression of marginalized people by the established authorities. Quasimodo and Esmeralda are “outcasts” throughout this piece, and Frollo is securely seated in a position of power, representing the established morality/government. Phoebus is a huge part of the plot because he starts out as an agent of the establishment. He is a well-to-do soldier working for Frollo. However, over the course of the show Phoebus realizes how cruel Frollo is, and changes his allegiance as he falls in love with the kind Esmeralda. In the end, Phoebus plays a huge role in inspiring the people of Paris to fight against oppression and injustice. I think his character is extremely important because he shows the audience what can happen when a person of privilege and position is willing to stand up for those who are marginalized in a society.

Were you familiar with The Hunchback of Notre Dame prior to this production? (Disney, Novel, etc.)

The Disney adaptation is one of my all-time favorite Disney films. The music is absolutely beautiful, and I was so excited when I was cast in this show to see many of the major musical themes are taken directly from the beautiful Disney score.

What is the biggest challenge you face in this role?

I predict my biggest challenge will be the fight choreography! Unfortunately, I had reconstructive surgery on my knee at the start of August. It is going to be a challenge to rehabilitate my leg and get into shape in order to play a tough soldier man. But I love a challenge. And Phoebus is injured for half the show anyway, so that helps.

What is your favorite song in the show?

My favorite song in the show is “Esmeralda,” which ends Act One. In part, it’s my favorite because it is the turning point for my character, where he openly defies Frollo and protects Esmeralda. However, I also love it because the ending of the piece is breathtaking from a musical standpoint. It combines great lyrics, powerful choral singing, and themes from throughout the show in a powerhouse finale to the first act. Plus, it features a brief trio where Phoebus, Quasi, and Frollo are all singing over one another about the titular Esmeralda. An important theme in this piece is the way these three very different men view the same woman, and what her beauty, charm, wit, and kindness represents to each of them. This exploration is one of my favorite facets of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and its prominence in this song really sets this piece apart for me.