Hartford Players director shares unique connection to 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame,' opening Friday

NOW: Hartford Players director shares unique connection to ’The Hunchback of Notre Dame,’ opening Friday

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HARTFORD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- It's opening weekend for latest production from the Hartford Players Theatre Company.

Emily Kittell is making her directorial debut in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

"You come across a passion project, like this show, and you're like, I have to do it. I have to be the captain of this ship, because this is my story to tell," Kittell said.

A story that everyone can relate to at some point in their life, but Kittell said she especially identifies with two of the main characters.

"Even though I've had the same challenges as Quasimodo, I've lived my life a little bit more like Esmeralda," Kittell said.

Like Quasimodo, Kittell lives with a physical disability.

"My twin sister and I were born conjoined twins, and we were separated when we were four months old," Kittell said.

Like Esmeralda, Kittell doesn't let her differences hold her back.

"That just made me want to fight harder," Kittell said.

Kittell's perspective and experiences helped the lead actors dive into their roles.

"The characters just go as deep as you want to dig," David Pecsi playing Quasimodo said. "It's a really special role."

"It takes a lot of empathy to try to put yourself into her shoes," Rebecca Ruiz said about preparing to play Esmeralda.

Kittell hope people walk away with more than a few hours of good entertainment.

"I hope that people see me, and see my cast, and story we're putting on, and know that they can take on the world in whatever way they want to," Kittell said.

Tickets are available on the Schauer Center website. The musical will be performed July 15-17 and July 21-23.

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