“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is based on the novel by Victor Hugo, and songs from the Disney film set, with music by Alan Menkin and Stephen Schwartz  and the book for the musical written by Peter Parnell. It is one of the Slow Burn Theatre Company’s largest physical productions and consists of a cast of 15 plus a choir of 18.

On the surface the story is about three men who fall in love with a Gypsy woman while the underlying stories are about being different, unwanted immigrants, religious faith and conflicts along with the differences between a man, a monster and a hero.

Quasimodo (Bobby Cassell) is a hunchback who rings the bells in the church ofNotre Dame which have made him partially deaf, lives in isolation and refers to his uncle as “Master’, the latter having promised his brother upon his death to take care of the child. Quasimodo falls in love with Esmeralda one afternoon when he leaves the sanctuary of the church to take part in the Festival of Fools and is elected as the Pope of Fools ‘winning’ a contest for being the ugliest fool in Paris. Later when he is being beaten by the townspeople she is the only one to give him water when he begs for it and he falls in love with her for the very rare kindness she shows him.

The uncle, Frollo, (Matthew Korinko) is the Archdeacon of Norte Dame, tortured by his lust for power and, upon seeing Esmeralda, his lust for her, betraying his own faith and setting off a chain of events that will effect everyone.

The third man is Captain Phoebus (Landon Summers) who saves Esmeralda from being abducted and becomes intrigued with her as she becomes infatuated for him.

Esmeralda (Shenise Nunez) is a Gypsy street dancer filled with fire and passion who is use to the attention of men and sees herself as their equal and demands respect from them.

Another main character is Clopin (Trev Whittaker) who aside from narrating the story is also the King of the Gypsies and is a standout of the cast.

The use of a choir of 18 singers is both a blessing and a curse. They make many of the songs soar but at the same time, in many cases, they drown out cast members when they sing along or behind them.

The 8 piece band, led by Caryl Fantel, does a good job of the score by Menkenand Schwartz while the production staff, from the scenic design by SeanMcClelland, the costume design by Rick Pena along with the lighting design by Becky Montero, add to this production.

The main problem with “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is not anything done by the Slow Burn Theatre Company but by the almost impossible task Peter Parnell had of condensing the Victor Hugo novel of over 900 pages to a book for a 2 hour 10 minute musical. It just doesn’t work though it makes for an interesting time in the theatre.


It’s been a long time since I spent a couple of hours with my friends in and around Notre Dame. Okay, I’ll confess–it has been over 50 years since I have read Victor Hugo’s classic novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” or seen Charles Laughton in his memorable role of Quasimodo but, like old friends, I am sure it will be as if we saw each other yesterday!

In the pictures taken by Jim Hall you see Shenise Nunez as Esmeralda, BobbyCassell as Quasimodo, Matthew Korinko as Frollo, Trev Whitaker as Clopin and Landon Summers as Phoebus.

When was the last time you read or saw “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, if ever?

I am looking forward to the Slow Burn Theatre Company’s musical production tonight and I hope you are looking forward to my review tomorrow!

Posted October 22, 2016 by greatmartin in Uncategorized, ENTERTAINMENT, MUSICAL THEATRE


Walking into “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”, starring Tom Cruise, you should know what to expect and that’s what you get with a little more humor than usual. Of course, as with any action film, you have to check the logical part of your brain outside the auditorium.

Come on, it is great, it is fun, seeing Cruise, at the age of 54, fighting 5-6 guys without losing any energy or breathing hard. He wrestles a guy, they fall off a building and he gets punched, kicked in the stomach, legs, in the head and still get up and demolish the other guy!

Does it make a difference what the story is? You know it is about some big organization and the mean CEO and the good guys/gals going after them and you don’t even have to be told who will win.

A bit of a difference here is that he partners with Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) who keeps up with him running—and there is a lot of running—and fighting the enemy. Another female in the movie is teenager Samantha (Danilka Yarosh), who could or could not be Reacher’s daughter, who brings some humor and smarts as only a teenager can.

Yes there is one fight too many and each is a bit long while we have the action movie mandatory car chases and let’s not forget the hissable villain here played by Patrick Heusinger.

All the heroes, heroines and villains do their job well in the movie and Cruise, though no longer with a 6 pack stomach, but has a shirtless scene, has nothing to be ashamed of and when he threatens to break a man’s arms, legs and neck he does just that, in that order, as easy as he jumps off another building.

“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” is a fun movie, a movie that we use to run to as kids on a Saturday afternoon and practice the star’s moves on the walk home. Go ahead and relive your childhood or have a second one at a movie house near you. And don’t forget to get a bag of popcorn!

Movie Trailer


Posted October 21, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized



Starting this evening, October 20, and continuing until November 6, in the Amaturo Theatre, at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” will be paying a visit with a production by the Slow Burn Theatre opening their new season.

Along with Bobby Cassell as Quasimodo and Shenise Nunez as Esmeralda also featured is the award winning Everglades Legacy Chamber Singers, the majority of the 21 member mixed choir are from Everglades High School.

Adapted from the classic novel by Victor Hugo by Peter Parnell for the stage with lyrics and music from the award winning Alan Menkin and Stephen Schwartz, this production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is directed and choreographed by Patrick Fitzwater, the Artistic Director of the Slow Burn Theatre Company.

This is the Southeastern premiere, and only the fourth production of the show in the USA, and making it the largest production ever presented by the Slow Burn Theatre Company.

I will be seeing the show on Saturday evening solook for my review here on Sunday. You can buy tickets online at BrowardCenter.org

Shenise Nunez as Esmeralda and Bobby Cassell as Quasimodo




For those who don’t believe in climate change this is a prime example of what is happening in South Florida.

We live on Karen Bay which feeds off the Atlantic Ocean. 3-4 times a year there is what is known as King High Tide when the full moon, earth and sun line up and tides raise higher than usual. Wikipedia defines it as “King tides are simply the very highest tides. They are naturally occurring, predictable events. Tides are actually the movement of water across Earth‘s surface caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon, Sun, and the rotation of Earth which manifest in the local rise and fall of sea levels. Tides are driven by the relative positions of the Earth, Sun, Moon land formations, and relative location on Earth. In the lunar month, the highest tides occur roughly every 14 days, at the new and full moons, when the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun are in alignment. These highest tides in the lunar cycle are called spring tides.

With the oceans rising just a few inches every year, every decade it only adds to the flooding and damage that takes place when these tides come in. In the picture, looking out from my window this morning, even though we have passed the highest tides points you can see that the water at 11:30 AM has risen high enough to cover our walkways and flood some of the grounds.

It does get worse each year and some have predicted that my 3rd floor apartment will soon be a ground floor apartment, on the water, within ten years or less. I plan to hang around and see what happens!


Posted October 19, 2016 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, WEATHER

MY OLD HOME (1943) MY OLD JOB (1954) & MORE   Leave a comment

One day on a facebook page regarding Pelham Parkway I asked how come there weren’t any pictures of where I lived on Bogart Avenue and the next day there was my old home (1) except the huge fir tree in the front yard was gone!

After that I thought I would google Piccolo’s, the restaurant where I learned how to be a professional server in 1955-1960 and there it was (2) looking exactly as it did then though it no longer exists!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Broadway musical (NO! NOT THE MOVIE VERSION! UGH!) “A Chorus Line” and have seen it 101 times on stages all over. Many years ago when I met Richard he gave me a copy of the show and now over 30 years later he sent me the latest book about the show (3) which I am reading and loving!

Allen and I went to see “The Illusionists” and had our picture taken (4) and I took Rafa’s picture (5) and wrote a blog about how he became a STAR that night!

On Tuesday I went to The Gateway Theatre to see “The Birth Of A Nation”. One of the things I love about the theatre is the comment board they have where people will tell you how they felt about the movie they just saw and the board (7 & 8) for “Nation” was full of raves.

Friday, after going to see “The Accountant” I was really in the mood for a cheeseburger so we went right down the street where there is a Burger-Fi (9 & 10) and I paid $11+ for a cheeseburger, fries and soda!

On Thursday we went for lunch at my latest favorite restaurant, Cabo Blanco, where I am working my way through the lunch specials and this was number thirty-two  ((11) which was a delicious fillet of fish in a garlic sauce with a side of rice—only have about 26 more to go!

Whenever we go to the Regal Theatre we stop at Sweet Tomatoes (12) and before we go to Miami to the theatre, in this case to see “The Illusionists”, we stop at The Quarterdeck and have Jambalaya. Walking in I saw this sign (13) and had to send it to rivergirl in Maine!

It is rainy season and though we dodged the bullet with Hurricane Matthew we are getting some days with rain but it doesn’t last long and the birds (14, 15 & 16) always come out and the plants look a little taller.

And what would be a weekly post without a selfie, or two, of me?!? (17)




Posted October 18, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized



It has been 2 years, actually October 6, 2014, since I saw my first production, “The Marvelous Wonderettes”, put on by the Slow Burn Theatre Company at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Shortly after that they had a deal with the Center to present their shows in the 500 seat Amaturo Theatre plus a couple of shows in the smaller ABDO New River Room.

The Slow Burn Theatre Company was established in 2009 in the Boca Raton area by Artistic Director Patrick Fitzwater and Executive Director Matthew Korinko to give South Florida, who has a very diverse audience, a very diverse selection of theatre as their presentations were up to and including their 2016-2017 season.  In the past they have done musicals that you would have had to travel to New York to see as many weren’t being done here.

They seem to have no fear presenting shows by Stephen Sondheim such as “Assassins” and “Sweeny Todd” along with musicals from “The Rocky Horror Show”, “Next To Normal”, “Parade” to last season’s “Dogfight”, “Violet” and “big Fish” including many local talents both behind and in front of the stage.

The 2016-2017 season opens with “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” based on the Victor Hugo novel and the Disney Theatrical Productions using some of the score written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz who have also added new songs to the book written by Peter Parnell.  The show opens October 20 so look for my review this weekend and more information about this production over the next few days.

Following “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” will be “Titanic The Musical”, “Big River; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida: The Timeless Love Story” in the Amaturo theatre while “Avenue Q” and “Xanadu” will be presented in the ABDO New  River Room.

Putting on 6 musical shows in a season is no easy feat but judging by past seasons the Slow Burn Theatre Company will deliver the goods to their audiences. 



Posted October 17, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE, Uncategorized

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