With inspiration and determination, the Younts Theatre staged one of the most ambitious, successful and moving stories dared by any upstate theater. Directed and designed by Melody Yasi, with musical direction by Tim St. Clair and Stephen Griner and Kimberlee Ferreira’s choreography, Hunchback boasted the exceptional talents of leading characters, Neel Patrick Edwards (Frollo), Joel Dupont (Quasimodo), Akasha Nelson (Esmeralda), Sawyer Pollack (Phoebus) and Josh Broome (Clopin). The 13 member story-telling ensemble and 20 voice choir, including voices from the Palmetto Statesmen Barbershop Organization, let audiences “see themselves in their characters’ lives.”* and made this beautiful story ring clear over the chorus of popular musicals heard on other stages this spring. “We are fortunate to be part of such a rich theatre community in the upstate,” says Yasi.
Encased in stunning lighting design by Brooke Dersch, (shout out to Matt Polowczuk and Productions Unlimited) costumed by Danae Harris, sound by Blake Ferguson with stagecraft and effects by Joseph Hawks, Nate Hawks and Matt Jones, and enormous bells, generously donated by Del-Tec Manufacturing, anyone smart enough to have filled a seat for this show should consider themselves the luckiest of audience members indeed!
The casting process began last June and was only finalized a couple months before opening night. “My cast and choir for this show were a DREAM TEAM! They worked with such commitment and diligence, and boy, did their work pay off,” beams Yasi. “I think many actors and others in the area didn’t believe we could pull this show off,” she reflects, “so they either didn’t sign on or chose not to commit after the initial casting process. That’s unfortunate. After we opened, however, I imagine there were at least a couple who saw the show and recognized we did, in fact, pull it off quite well!”
The vision for the show began over 12 months ago. “If I can see it in my mind, I know it can be done.,” states Yasi. “I could see Hunchback at the Younts, but the cast, choir and technical team far surpassed even my expectations! To them, I am deeply humbled and grateful. — Beyond that I want to thank those who came and experienced this show — some more than once! We knew it was a beautiful show, but the outpouring of deep sentiment and response by those whose hearts were moved left us equally touched. What a very special lifetime treasure!”
The Younts will continue to grow and explore new theatre and classic theatre in fresh ways, so there will be other chances to be part of the magic seen on stage with this show! Yasi hopes folks will pay attention and continue to come see and support the work they are doing at the Younts Theatre. She welcomes anyone interested (whether financially or on stage, back stage or volunteering in one or more of the many related areas) to join them in the process of creating beautiful and powerful stories on stage at the Younts Center for Performing Arts!
Moving forward, all eyes will be on the Younts Theatre, as people eagerly await the upcoming season announcement and the new opportunities to experience fresh, daring theatre from a front row seat in a beautiful theater in the heart of Fountain Inn, South Carolina!
The first full season at the Younts Center for Performing Arts closed this past Saturday night with an uproarious standing ovation for their stunning “Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Resounding praise and reaction from both critics and the community as far south as Aiken validate the work Artistic Director, Melody Yasi, Executive Director, Debbie Alphin and their staff have invested to give the performing arts venue a relevant voice in the theatre and arts education conversation once more.
The Younts management, staff and CAFFI Board extend their deep and sincere thanks to all who have come to the Center for our theatre shows or to enjoy one of our traveling artists, as well as to those who have taken advantage of our venue rental. You make the Younts Center for Performing Arts, the heart of Fountain Inn!
With exceptional entertainment and one of the best values in the Upstate, everyone should sit up, take notice and buy in! Yes, this big city entertainment is happening right here in Fountain Inn! Their 2019-2020 Season is due to be announced within the month, so stay tuned and make it a point to support this little theater who dares great things! Check out their website at www.yountscenter.org for more events! ♦