The Hunchback Variations OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • TM

  • BACKSTAGE

Opening Night:
June 10, 2012
Closing:
July 1, 2012

Theater: 59E59 Theaters / 59 East 59th St., New York, NY, 10022

Synopsis: 

The Hunchback Variations dramatizes a hilarious and melancholy panel discussion between Quasimodo, hunchback of Notre Dame, and Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, on their attempt to create a mysterious sound effect called for in Anton Chekov's The Cherry Orchard. Playing out over eleven musical scenes, or "variations," the story details the duo's collaboration -- one doomed by their deafness, unpleasant working conditions, and the fact that Beethoven has not fully committed to the process.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Hunchback Variations

    Beethoven and Quasimodo Put Their Heads Together

    Zachary Woolfe

    June 10, 2012: Variations pose a challenge for a composer: take a theme — a melody, bass line, whatever — and progressively transform it, but never beyond recognition. It’s harder than it sounds to change while staying the same. In a blog post about Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” the pianist Jeremy Denk writes, “Think very similar thoughts for 79 more minutes, winding around the same basic themes, and then you will have some idea of what it’s like to experience — you might even say survive — the ‘Goldbergs.’ ” You would also have some idea of what it’s like to experience, not to say survive, “The Hunchback Variations,” a cutely but tediously absurdist chamber opera with music by Mark Messing and a libretto by Mickle Maher at 59E59 Theaters.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF The Hunchback Variations

    The Hunchback Variations

    Andy Buck

    June 11, 2012: Punctuating a scene in The Cherry Orchard, Anton Chekhov wrote: "Suddenly a distant sound is heard, coming as if out of the sky, like the sound of a string snapping, slowly and sadly dying away." That one sentence -- one of the greatest stage directions in western theater -- has baffled sound designers for over a century. So Chicago's Theater Oobleck has decided to confront the mystery in its own characteristically audacious fashion, with The Hunchback Variations, now at 59E59 Theaters

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  • BACKSTAGE REVIEW OF The Hunchback Variations

    'The Hunchback Variations'

    Andy Propst

    June 11, 2012: As concepts go, the one behind Mickie Maher's libretto for "The Hunchback Variations" (based on his own play of the same title) couldn't be quirkier. The chamber opera brings to life a series of presentational talks featuring Ludwig von Beethoven (George Andrew Wolff) and Quasimodo (Larry Adams), who are exploring a disastrous collaboration they had in 1825, when they tried to create an "impossible sound." Though this two-person work—with a score for piano and cello by Mark Messing—has the potential to be an utter snoozer, it turns out to be a thoroughly riveting piece.

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