Summer is a super-duper time to be out and about. While I like hiking, I realize that this season demands less-challenging hikes. Most times, it's about being indoors and going to see a musical like The Hunchback of Notre Dame with my wife because it's too risky to face the exposed heat.
With regard to my experiences with Mr. Hugo, I couldn’t read the French names in Les Miserables when I was in 7th grade, so I tried to abbreviate them. Too many similar abbreviations led to me not finishing that book, and uh, yeah… I’m a slacker.
A few years ago, my wife and I went to a performance of that show in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and I learned that “to love another person is to see the face of God.” I also learned that our local theater (the Fulton) is spectacular. I bet yours is, too. This theater is huge, so you would kind of expect off Broadway, but to us, it’s hard to see the difference (even for my wife who has “experience” with this stuff). Even the Ephrata Performing Arts Center, our local town playhouse, is always spot on for the couple hundred people who can fit in the room.
As a result, you don't need to travel to the Big Apple to enjoy musical culture, so consider an escape from the heat in someone else's air conditioning!
Our previous favorite was Beauty and the Beast. This time, we debated if the 100+ person cast took Hunchback over the top. After all, it included a huge choir behind 5 huge bells and a 3-level almost 30-foot bell tower. In the end, my wife, my mom, and I decided it was wrong to compare 2 next level awesome shows.
I get that musicals aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. My dad tried West Side Story a long time ago, and he still reminds my mom he did. Nevertheless, he feels musicals are a punishment, like “the cooler” in The Great Escape.
Prior to meeting my wife, I only saw a few musicals / plays. I went out for Annie Get Your Gun to be with a high school girlfriend. I saw Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night with a former girlfriend. Finally, I saw Aristophanes’ Lysistrata because I like Greek plays. At least I enjoyed the latter 2!
It took my wife to convince me that I could be a “musical guy” (sometimes), too.
Hunchback shows universality on many levels. The evil of Claude Frollo was played with bright red lights to portray him as the devil. Here, he personified a "Me, Too," villain as he lusted after Esmeralda, offering her unethical choices or death. I have to say that even though this was a Disney play, the idea of possession of another person, with or against their consent was played off as the crime against humanity that it is.
Additionally, Quasimodo’s true inner spirit wrestled with his outer disabilities and lack of confidence in grand fashion. Occasionally, he broke through to show true strength. What's more, he fell in love with Esmeralda, who was ostracized for her beauty.
Additionally, the quest for identity wages as the Gypsies battle for the right to be. In a battle against tyrannical control, the only hope is to show the world that they matter.
Times haven’t changed in 500 years. Heroes haven’t changed either. No matter who we are, we have the chance to let our voice be heard. The powerful statement of love that culminates this experience is not a Disney kid’s story, but instead, it is 2 people from 2 different worlds who have found one another to be 1.
No matter what group we are a part of online, it's a good place to be. However, we need to mix and mingle with the world, too. We may not be as good at belting out tunes as Rebecca Ferguson (Jenny Lind) in The Greatest Showman, but we have the right to speak and be heard by the world. Even if we find our voices growing quieter, the right people will stop and listen. The point is to open ourselves up to the world. Never let a person make you feel inferior, unworthy, or voiceless.
So on these 100° days, when you have the choice of a day out at a minor league baseball game, a walk in the park, or being in the air conditioning, ask yourself if you want to risk Parkinson’s heat injuries or needing to drink gallons of water to equalize hyperehidrosis’s evil powers. I may like baseball, but I love being 98.6° for the people who love me.
You do, too. Protect yourself this summer with smart temperature-related choices. If musicals aren't your thing, consider going to the movies or playing fun games with others. Whatever you do this summer, have fun with it!