The Hunchback of Notre Dame (musical)
|The Hunchback of Notre Dame|
|Book||James Lapine (German version)
Peter Parnell (American version)
|Basis||The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
by Victor Hugo
and The Hunchback of Notre Dame
by Walt Disney Animation Studios
2013 West Palm Beach
2014 San Diego
The musical premiered in 1999 in Berlin, Germany as Der Glöckner von Notre Dame ("The Bellringer of Notre Dame"). It was produced by Walt Disney Theatrical, the company's first musical to premiere outside the U.S. It ran for three years, becoming one of Berlin's longest-running musicals. An adaptation was presented at The King's Academy college-preparatory school in West Palm Beach in 2013.
The English-language musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame had its American debut at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, California on October 28, 2014 and ran until December 7, 2014. Subsequently, the show went on to open on March 4, 2015 at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. The show closed on April 5, 2015, after it was announced that it would not move to Broadway.
The german version of the musical relies on a series of musical leitmotifs, which are reprised either instrumentally or vocally. Each of the central characters has a theme ("Out There" for Quasimodo, "God Help the Outcasts" for Esmeralda, "Hellfire" for Frollo, and "Rest and Recreation" for Phoebus). "The Bells of Notre Dame" acts as a narrative device to tell parts of the story.
An adaption of the musical, debuted in 2016 at the Music Circus in Sacramento, embraced the novel's assertion that Quasimodo was deaf after constantly ringing bells all his life by incorporating sign language into the show. A surrogate singer (one of the Notre Dame saints) sings Quasimodo's songs for him.
- 1 Der Glöckner von Notre Dame
- 2 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- 3 Principal cast
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Der Glöckner von Notre Dame
Originally rehearsed in English, then retaught in German, the musical opened on June 5, 1999, for the opening of the Musical theater Berlin (now Theater am Potsdamer Platz). After a successful run, it closed in June 2002. Directed by Lapine, the German translation was by Michael Kunze, choreography by Lar Lubovitch, set design by Heidi Ettinger, costume design by Sue Blane, lighting by Rick Fisher, sound by Tony Meola and projections by Jerome Sirlin.
This was Disney's first musical to premiere outside the US, and it became one of Berlin's longest-running musicals to date. As with Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame opened three years after the release of the movie on which it is based.
The musical is a darker, more gothic adaptation of the film. The gargoyles' names have been changed from Victor, Hugo, and Laverne to Charles, Antoine, and Loni - after actors who have played Quasimodo in the past. The gargoyles' comedy in the musical is greatly toned down; they sing in many more songs and they are also firmly established as figments of Quasimodo's imagination. Frollo's past is expanded to include the fact that he was a priest, which was featured in the original novel. Esmeralda's death is also retained and Quasimodo kills Frollo by throwing him, as opposed to the film version, in which Frollo merely loses his balance and falls.
According to translator Michael Kunze, he was "campaigning to allow Esmeralda to die at the end, as she does in the book. There was a feeling that the audience would be depressed if Esmeralda dies. I feel that a European audience would see this as a very romantic ending ... two lost souls finally find each other. People will cry, but they'll be moved." The producers wanted to see how preview audiences reacted before making the final decision.
The set for the production utilized many large hydraulically controlled boxes that can be placed at any height, onto which projections were used in every scene for scenery and effects. The finale of act one shows Phoebus' plummet from a bridge over the Seine after being shot by an arrow.
In 1482 Paris, Clopin, an elderly gypsy beggar, narrates the origin of the titular hunchback ("Die Glocken Notre Dames" - "The Bells of Notre Dame"). A group of gypsies sneak illegally into Paris, but are ambushed by the Minister of Justice, Claude Frollo, and his guards. One of the gypsy women attempts to flee with her deformed baby, but Frollo catches her and kills her outside of Notre Dame. He also tries to kill the baby, but the cathedral's Archdeacon intervenes and accuses him of murdering the gypsy woman. Frollo accepts the Archdeacon's offer to raise the child as his son, naming him Quasimodo.
Twenty years later, Quasimodo develops into a kind yet isolated young man who dreams of seeing life outside the bell tower. A trio of living stone gargoyles, Charles, Antoine and Loni, serve as Quasimodo's only company and friends. Despite Frollo's warnings that he would be shunned for his deformity, the gargoyles urge him to disobey Frollo, ("Zuflucht" - "Sanctuary") and Quasimodo decides to go out for just one day ("Draußen" - "Out There").
While the Parisians continue their preparations for a festival, the gypsies prepare to attend the festival in their hideout, the Court of Miracles ("Tanz auf dem Seil" - "Balancing Act"). Their attention is taken by a newcomer, a young gypsy dancer named Esmeralda. Meanwhile, Phoebus of Frollo's guard arrives in Paris excited about his new promotion as its captain ("Ein bisschen Freude" - "Rest and Recreation"). He flirts with a young girl but is suddenly interrupted by a fleeing gypsy accused of theft. The gypsy pleads innocence, but Frollo arrives and orders his soldiers to arrest the gypsy. Frollo tells Phoebus that the city has become overrun by gypsies and that he plans to find the Court of Miracles and eliminate them all.
As the festival begins ("Drunter drüber" - "Topsy Turvy"), Quasimodo attends it and he is celebrated for his bizarre appearance, only to be humiliated by the crowd after Frollo's men start a riot. Frollo refuses to help Quasimodo, but Esmeralda intervenes, frees the hunchback, and uses a magic trick to disappear. Frollo confronts Quasimodo and sends him back inside the cathedral.
Phoebus refuses to arrest her for alleged witchcraft inside Notre Dame and has her confined to the cathedral. Esmeralda, encouraged by the Archdeacon, offers a prayer to God to help her and the other outcasts ("Hilf den Verstoß'nen" - "God Help the Outcasts"). Meanwhile, Frollo orders Phoebus to post a guard at every door to ensure that Esmeralda does not escape.
Esmeralda finds and befriends Quasimodo to the bell tower and is captivated by the view of the city ("Hoch über der Welt" - "On Top of the World"). Quasimodo helps her escape Notre Dame out of gratitude for defending him. Esmeralda entrusts Quasimodo with a pendant containing a map to the Court of Miracles. Quasimodo expresses his feelings, as he has been touched by Esmeralda's kindness ("Das Licht des Himmels" - "Heaven’s Light"). Meanwhile, Frollo soon develops lustful feelings for Esmeralda and, upon realizing them, he begs the Virgin Mary to save him from her "spell" to avoid eternal damnation ("Das Feuer der Hölle" - "Hellfire").
After discovering that Esmeralda escaped, Frollo instigates a citywide manhunt for her, which involves setting fire to countless houses in his way. Phoebus is appalled by Frollo's evil reputation and defies him. Frollo sentences him to death. Phoebus is briefly struck by an arrow and falls into a river but Esmeralda rescues him. ("Esmeralda").
The soldiers continue searching the city ("Trommeln in der Stadt" - "City Under Siege"). Esmeralda tells Phoebus to seek refuge at Notre Dame while she returns to the Court of Miracles. Meanwhile, the gargoyles convince Quasimodo that Esmeralda finds him romantically intriguing, and they reassure him about her safety ("Ein Mann wie du" - "A Guy Like You"). The Archdeacon brings Phoebus to the bell tower and Phoebus, knowing Quasimodo to be a friend of Esmeralda's, asks Quasimodo to hide him.
Frollo returns to Notre Dame later that night and discovers that Quasimodo helped Esmeralda escape. He bluffs to Quasimodo, saying that he knows about the Court of Miracles and that he intends to attack at dawn. After Frollo leaves, Phoebus comes out of hiding and asks Quasimodo to help him find the Court of Miracles and warn Esmeralda. Quasimodo refuses to leave the cathedral again, but Phoebus and the gargoyles teach Quasimodo the value of devotion and selflessness ("Weil du liebst" - "Out of Love").
Using Esmeralda's amulet as their guide, Quasimodo and Phoebus find the Court of Miracles to warn the gypsies. Esmeralda and Phoebus decide to leave the city together while Quasimodo, heartbroken, watches Esmeralda leave with the man she truly loves ("Weil du liebst" - "Out of Love" (Reprise)). However, Frollo follows them and captures the gypsies present.
Esmeralda rejects Frollo's advances exchange for becoming his mistress. Tied up in the bell tower, Quasimodo refuses to help and tells the gargoyles to leave him ("Wie aus Stein" - "Made of Stone"). As dawn approaches, Esmeralda awaits her execution in the dungeon with Phoebus, hoping that one day the world will be a better place ("Einmal" - "Someday").
Frollo prepares to burn Esmeralda at the stake, but Quasimodo rescues her and brings her to the cathedral. Phoebus then frees himself and the gypsies and rallies the citizens of Paris against Frollo and his men, who attempt to break into the cathedral. Quasimodo calls upon the saints and the gargoyles before pouring molten lead onto the streets to ensure no one enters, but Frollo himself successfully breaks in. In the cathedral, Esmeralda thanks Quasimodo for being a good friend and dies from smoke inhalation. Frollo arrives and, after asking Quasimodo if she is dead, tells the hunchback that they are finally free of her poison. Encouraged by Antoine, Quasimodo throws Frollo to his death in the molten lead. The gargoyles comfort Quasimodo and tell him the world is full of good as well as evil. The citizens watch as Quasimodo carries Esmeralda's body through the square with Phoebus by his side. Clopin appears again and asks what makes a monster and what makes a man ("Finale Ultimo" - "Grand Finale").
Matt Wolf of Variety said, "The prevailing tone, indeed, is far and away the most somber of the three Disney film-to-stage shows yet." He wrote that "the design is likely to be the show's talking point in any language, coupling as it does the best of British and American talent with a new $100 million dollar-plus playhouse specifically adapted to accommodate the demands of the piece. The aquamarine stage curtain, Gothic tracery already encoded within it, rises to reveal set designer Heidi Ettinger's ever-shifting array of cubes that join with Jerome Sirlin's projections to conjure the medieval world of the Parisian belltower inhabited by Sarich's misshapen orphan Quasimodo, his unyielding master Frollo (Norbert Lamla) and a trio of very chatty gargoyles."
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
In 2008, lyricist Stephen Schwartz revealed, "I think we're starting up Hunchback of Notre Dame, hopefully, next year." In a November 2010 interview, composer Alan Menken confirmed that he was working on an American production, and that they would use James Lapine's book.
On January 9, 2013, it was announced that the musical would finally be produced for a Broadway performance with a new book by Peter Parnell and new songs by Menken and Schwartz, who did the songs for the movie and the original musical.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame had a workshop in February 2014, and its North American premiere at La Jolla Playhouse on October 28, 2014 and ran through December 7, 2014, directed by Scott Schwartz. The production featured a 32-voice chorus, appearing onstage during the entire show. The La Jolla Playhouse production transferred to the Paper Mill Playhouse from March 4 through April 5, 2015.
The style of the show is a "Victor Hugo adaption with the score of Disney's Hunchback". "The Bells of Notre Dame" is rewritten to include Frollo's past as a priest as well as his relationship with his brother Jehan before becoming the cathedral's archdeacon. The gargoyles, Victor, Hugo, and Laverne (Charles, Antoine, and Loni in the Berlin production), who are the comic reliefs in the 1996 movie, are cut. Quasimodo speaks with a "strangled slur", rather than his pure voice in the movie. He relies on a form of sign language that he has invented, and while he is unable to articulate, the statues of Notre Dame serve as figments of his imagination, which provide insight into his thoughts and attitudes as a Greek chorus. Some of the original characters from the novel are added, as well as songs such as "The Tavern Song", "Rhythm of the Tambourine," "Flight into Egypt" and "In a Place of Miracles".
The ending was proposed by director Scott Schwartz, who turned to the original source material for inspiration. After Michael Arden, who played the role of Quasimodo in this version, read the book and discovered that Quasimodo is actually deaf from bell-ringing, he incorporated this aspect into his character, including a sign language-based form of communication. He had to selectively choose the moments to forgo the ailment in order to sing, such as moments when Quasimodo is alone; from his perspective he does not see his deformities. Michael Arden said of his part that he would retire from the role in future incarnations of the show.
In 1482, the congregants at Notre Dame narrates the origins of the hunchback. Orphaned brothers Jehan and Claude Frollo are taken in by the priests of Notre Dame. Jehan is mischievous and deviant while Frollo is pious. After Jehan is caught with a gypsy woman named Florika in his room, he is kicked out of Notre Dame by Father Dupin. Jehan leaves with Florika, and is not heard from again in years. After becoming the archdeacon of Notre Dame, Frollo gets a letter from Jehan, pleading to meet him at another location. When Frollo arrives, he finds that Jehan is dying from the pox. Jehan explains that his wife had died 3 months ago from the same ailment and that his baby boy needs to be taken care of. When Frollo sees the deformed baby, he tells Jehan that he will get rid of him. Jehan dies and as Frollo is about to kill the child, he feels the glances from Notre Dame’s statues and decides against it, feeling that it is a test from God. He names the baby Quasimodo and raises him in Notre Dame as his own son. A male actor comes onstage and poses a question: "What makes a monster, and what makes a man?" He uses his fingers to paint a series of lines (deformities) on his face, straps on a "hunch," and covers it with his signature green cloak to become the character of Quasimodo right before the audience's eyes ("Bells of Notre Dame").
Twenty years later, Quasimodo, now a young man, has gone partially deaf from ringing the bells. He speaks to the objects in the cathedral such as the bells, statues, and gargoyles. He daydreams about going to the Feast of Fools. Frollo arrives at the bell tower and asks him who he is speaking to. When Quasimodo answers that he has been speaking to his friends, Frollo reminds him that stone cannot talk. They recite the biblical story of the flight into Egypt and Saint Aphrodisius, whose name Quasimodo has a hard time pronouncing. After that, Frollo complains about how he must attend the Festival of Fools ("Sanctuary Part I"). Quasimodo offers to accompany him for protection. Frollo declines and warns him that he would be shunned for his deformities. ("Sanctuary Part II). Quasimodo reminisces about his "sanctuary" and how he would love to spend one day out there ("Out There").
Down below, the Feast of Fools begins ("Topsy Turvy Part I"). Meanwhile, Captain Phoebus of the Paris Guard arrives at the city and flirts with some women ("Rest and Recreation"). Frollo later welcomes Phoebus and tells him that there is no time for "rest and recreation" as they must get rid of the city’s scum. At the Festival of Fools, Esmeralda, a kind gypsy, dances for the crowd ("Rhythm of the Tambourine"). After that, they get ready to crown the King of Fools, who ends up being Quasimodo, who was entered to the contest by Esmeralda ("Topsy Turvy Part II"). In the middle of the celebration, he is humiliated by the crowd after a citizen starts a riot. Frollo refuses to have Phoebus intervene, but Esmeralda rescues the hunchback and uses a magic trick to evade arrest. Frollo intervenes and stops the riot, and then asks Quasimodo if he is now aware that he was right about how cruel and wicked the world is. Quasimodo tells him that he will never leave the bell tower again ("Sanctuary Part III").
Esmeralda follows Quasimodo inside Notre Dame, but Frollo tells her that her kind isn’t allowed in the church and tells her that Quasimodo is his responsibility. Esmeralda asks if he has any charity, to which Frollo responds that he may be able to save her. After Frollo leaves to conduct mass, Esmeralda prays to the Virgin Mary and asks God to help the less fortunate ("God Help the Outcasts"). Phoebus finds Esmeralda and they both argue and fight. Phoebus tells her not to cause anymore trouble and that he’s simply following orders. She tells him to please let her go so that she may see Quasimodo. Phoebus tells her not to fight battles that cannot be won, but she says that she cannot help it.
Esmeralda runs up the stairs to the bell tower and befriends Quasimodo. Encouraged by the bells and gargoyles, Quasimodo gets to speak to her ("Top of the World"). Quasimodo rings the bells and tells them to "sing for her". Frollo runs up to the tower, confused as to why he is ringing them at completely the wrong time. Frollo is shocked by Esmeralda’s presence because he thought she had left. He offers her shelter at the cathedral so that he may save her soul, but she rejects his offer. Frollo orders Phoebus to escort her out of the church and that she is to be arrested if she ever sets foot in Notre Dame again. Frollo lectures Quasimodo for thinking that Esmeralda is kind and tells her that she is a dangerous person sent from Hell.
Having developed lustful feelings for Esmeralda, Frollo starts to roam the streets every night. After walking down an unknown alley, he discovers the gypsies celebrating with wine and dance ("Tavern Song (Thai Mol Piyas)"). Phoebus pays them a visit to have a little fun, and discovers that Esmeralda is there. The dancing resumes as Frollo, despite his efforts, is unable to look away.
Up at the tower, some of the objects tell Quasimodo not to think of Esmeralda because Frollo forbade it, while others tell him that no one should be able to dictate his thoughts. Quasimodo thinks about the many times he’s observed couples in love, and how he never thought himself worthy of being loved until now ("Heaven’s Light"). Frollo, meanwhile, begs the Virgin Mary to save him from Esmeralda's "spell" to avoid eternal damnation ("Hellfire").
At the Bastille, Frollo arrives unexpectedly to ask King Louis XI for special powers to stop a gypsy witch in order to protect the citizens. The King tells him to do whatever he feels is necessary, but to be prudent. Having obtained the necessary permission, Frollo instigates a citywide manhunt for Esmeralda, eventually ending up at a brothel known for hiding gypsies. When they do not yield what he is looking for, Frollo orders Phoebus to burn it down. Phoebus defies him and Frollo orders his arrest. Esmeralda shows up to stop him, and a fight breaks loose. During the commotion, Frollo stabs Phoebus and frames Esmeralda for it. Esmeralda and Phoebus escape and Frollo continues the hunt, while Quasimodo grows worried about her whereabouts ("Esmeralda").
Esmeralda returns to Notre Dame, and asks Quasimodo to hide Phoebus, who is badly injured. She gives Quasimodo a woven band which doubles as a map to the Court of Miracles, and she leaves. Despite the gargoyles' warnings not to help Esmeralda, Quasimodo becomes inspired by the story of Saint Aphrodisius to go out to the world and help her ("Flight into Egypt"). Frollo returns to Notre Dame later that night and asks Quasimodo about Esmeralda's whereabouts, but Quasimodo tricks Frollo into not knowing where she is. A guard comes up to the tower to tell Frollo that they know where the gypsy is. Frollo cheerfully tells Quasimodo that they will now be successful in capturing her and leaves.
Using the map Esmeralda gave him, Quasimodo and Phoebus find the court to warn the gypsies ("Court of Miracles"). Phoebus discloses that Frollo will attack at dawn, and the gypsies start to pack up to relocate. When Phoebus asks Esmeralda to go with her, they embrace and acknowledge their love for each other. Quasimodo looks on, heartbroken that his love will never be returned ("Heaven's Light (Reprise)/In a Place of Miracles"). Frollo interrupts and thanks Quasimodo for helping him find the Court of Miracle and arrests the gypsies present as well as Phoebus.
Frollo visits Esmeralda at her prison cell, and tells her that he can save her if she accepts being with him. When Esmeralda refuses, he threatens Phoebus' life as well. He tells her that his love for her burns like hot lead and attempts to rape her ("Sanctuary (Reprise)"). He halts when a guard shows up with Phoebus. Frollo thinks that allowing her to have a final conversation with Phoebus will make her rethink his offer. Esmeralda tells Phoebus that the only way to save both of their lives is to give herself up to Frollo. Phoebus pleads that she does it so that she may save herself, which Esmeralda refuses. They speak about a day when life will change for the better ("Someday").
At the bell tower, the gargoyles try to encourage Quasimodo to free himself so that he may save Esmeralda. Quasimodo refuses and tells them to leave him ("Made of Stone").
Outside of the cathedral, Frollo reads off Esmeralda's crimes, which include entering Paris illegally, stabbing a soldier of the church, and witchcraft. He declares that her sentence is death, but Frollo gives her one last chance to save herself and tells her to think of his offer. Esmeralda answers with spitting on his face. Angered, he lights the pyre to which Esmeralda is tied. Quasimodo rescues Esmeralda and takes her back to the cathedral. Phoebus convinces the people of Paris to fight against the guards, but they are still able to make their way to the cathedral and they try to break into it. Upon seeing this, Quasimodo dumps a cauldron of molten lead onto the guards, but Frollo manages to enter. In the cathedral, Esmeralda thanks Quasimodo for being a good friend and she dies of smoke inhalation. Frollo comes in and asks Quasimodo if she is dead, which he confirms. Relieved, he tells Quasimodo that they are finally free of her poison. Encouraged by the gargoyles, Quasimodo throws Frollo to his death in the molten lead below.
Devastated, Quasimodo realizes that everyone he's ever loved is now dead. Phoebus arrives and discovers that Esmeralda has perished and tries to carry her away, but is unable due to his injuries. Quasimodo carries Esmeralda's body outside and sets her down in front of the crowd. Afraid he will be blamed for her death, he starts to retreat. A girl emerges, and twists her body to show that she is just like him. The rest of the crowd follows suit, accepting him at last. The company addresses the audience with a question asked in the beginning of the show, "What makes a monster, and what makes a man?" Quasimodo, now without any of his deformities, as well as Esmeralda and Frollo (who have painted deformities on their faces), join the rest of the company onstage ("Finale Ultimo").
On May 15, 2015, it was announced that the Paper Mill cast would be releasing a cast recording of the show. Recorded on September 28–30 at Avatar Studios, the album features a 25-piece orchestra, with a 32-strong choir. The recording was released by Ghostlight Records in January 2016. The cast album was released to critical and commercial acclaim.
|Cast Albums Sales||1|
|Top Album Sales||17|
|Billboard 200||47|
The English version of the musical received positive reviews. The New York Daily News wrote, "This stage musical smartly excises comic relief from the film’s giggling gargoyles...The look of the show is also very good. Alexander Dodge’s lavish bell-tower, Alejo Vietti’s gritty period costumes and Howell Binkley’s dynamic lights lend to the atmosphere." The New York Times deemed it a "surprising[ly] self-serious...polished but ponderous musical" with a "simultaneously impressive and oppressive" stage and "rich choral singing". The Hollywood Reporter said "Menken's uncommonly complex, classically-influenced score often soars". AM New York called the musical "an unusually dark and chilling piece of musical theater which explores physical deformity, religious extremism, sexual repression and even genocide".
Awards and nominations
The run of The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the La Jolla Playhouse was nominated for six Craig Noel Awards as determined by the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle: Outstanding Resident Musical, Brent Alan Huffman for Outstanding Musical Direction, Patrick Page for Outstanding Featured Male Performance in a Musical, Howell Binkley for Outstanding Lighting Design, Alexander Dodge for Outstanding Scenic Design, and Scott Schwartz for Outstanding Direction of a Musical. The show would win Outstanding Featured Male Performance in a Musical for Patrick Page, Outstanding Lighting Design, and Outstanding Scenic Design.
|Character||Original Berlin Cast||La Jolla Playhouse Cast||Paper Mill Playhouse Cast|
|Quasimodo||Drew Sarich||Michael Arden|
|Esmeralda||Judy Weiss||Ciara Renée|
|Phoebus||Fredrik Lycke||Andrew Samonsky|
|Clopin||Jens Janke||Erik Liberman|
|Frollo||Norbert Lamla||Patrick Page|
|Charles||Valentin Zahn||does not appear|
|Loni||Yvonne Ritz Andersen||does not appear|
|Antoine||Tamàs Ferkay||does not appear|
|The Archdeacon||Carlo Lauber||does not appear|
|Lt. Frederic Charlus||does not appear||Ian Patrick Gibb|
|Jehan Frollo||does not appear||Lucas Coleman||Jeremy Stolle|
|St. Aphrodisius||does not appear||Neal Mayer|
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