In a nutshell Der Glöckner von Notre Dame follows the plot of the Disney movie. So please forgive me for rehashing the Disney plot, more or less. Also please forgive me, it’s a little hard to review this as I can’t watch the show in it’s entirety.
Der Glöckner von Notre Dame starts with Clopin dressed as an old Beggar, telling the origin tale of Frollo and Quasimodo, in which a group of Gypsies try to illegally enter Paris and are ambushed by the Minster of Justice, Claude Frollo. One of these gypsies is a mother who attempts to flee and tries to claim sanctuary in Notre Dame but Frollo accidently kills her. The Archdeacon guilts Frollo in taking care of baby who is deformed, Frollo agrees to raise the baby, which he named Quasimodo and hopes he can raise him to think like him.
Twenty years later Quasimodo is the bell ringer of Notre Dame. Quasimodo is shy, awkward, and is of few words. His only friends are imaginary Gargoyles, Antoine, Charles, and Loni. The gargoyles encourage Quasimodo to venture outside for the Festival of Fools. Frollo visits Quasimodo and tells him that if Quasimodo were to leave he’ll only confront the cruelty of the world but the Gargoyles keep telling him to disobey Frollo. After Frollo leaves, Quasimodo’s desire to spend one day outside wins over his loyalty to Frollo.
As the Parisians prepare for the Festival of Fools, Clopin, the King of Gypsies and leader of the Court of Miracles prepares the Gypsies for the festival. A newcomer to the Court of Miracle becomes the focus of their attention. This newcomer is a young dancer named Esmeralda. While this is occurring, Phoebus is returning to Paris and if excited about his new promotion and hoped to get to a little rest and relaxation in this new post. He also takes this time to flirt with a local girl. His flirting is interrupted with a gypsy accused of theft is fleeing. the gypsy pleads their innocence but Frollo arrives of the scene and orders the soldier to arrest the Gypsy. Frollo tells Phoebus he plans on finding the Court of Miracles eliminating the Gypsy.
As the Festival begins Quasimodo dresses in a disguise to hide from Frollo’s gaze. However Frollo’s gaze follows to Esmeralda as she dances for the crowd. After her dance, the King of Fools contest starts. Thinking Quasimodo’s face is a mask, Esmeralda pulls him on stage where is he then crowned the King and then the crowd turns on him and he humiliated. Esmeralda helps Quasimodo and openly insults Frollo for his cruelty. Frollo orders Phoebus to arrest her but Esmeralda disappears. Frollo then scolds Quasimodo for disobedience and sends hims back to Notre Dame.
Esmeralda follows Quasimodo into Notre Dame but Phoebus catches her in the cathedral and Frollo arrives to arrest her but the Archdeacon orders Frollo to leave because she is protected under sanctuary. Frollo orders guards at every door of the cathedral to ensure that Esmeralda can’t escape. Esmeralda then prays for her people and the down-trodden.
Esmeralda follows Quasimodo up to the bell tower. Once up there, Esmeralda becomes captivated by the view of Paris. The Gargoyles encourage Quasimodo to talk with Esmeralda. Quasimodo tries a little bit but then in order to repay her kindness he helps her escape. Before leaving Esmeralda gives Quasimodo an amulet which will lead him to the Court of Miracles should he ever need her and she give a kiss on the cheek. After she takes her leave, Quasimodo expresses his tender feelings of love for her while Frollo expresses the torment she brings him and feelings of lust.
Frollo hears that Esmeralda has fled the cathedral. Frollo asks Quasimodo where she has gone and Quasimodo lies to Frollo by claiming her doesn’t know. Phoebus then realizes Frollo is insane and defies him. Frollo orders Phoebus to be executed but Esmeralda saves him while Frollo and his men begin the search for her by burning Paris to ground. As Phoebus is fleeing he is shot by an arrow and falls into a river.
Frollo’s men continue their search while Esmeralda rescues Phoebus and tells him to seek sanctuary at Notre Dame while she returns to the Court of Miracles. Meanwhile the Gargoyles convince Quasimodo that Esmeralda has romantic feeling towards him and is safe from Frollo’s madness. The Archdeacon then bring Phoebus up to the bell tower knowing that Esmeralda is friends with Quasimodo asks him to hide Phoebus.
Frollo then turns up at the Bell Tower and finds out that Quasimodo helped her escape. Frollo then tells Quasimodo that he knows the location of the Court of Miracles he plans on attacking at dawn. After Frollo leaves Phoebus asks Quasimodo to help him find the Court of Miracles and warn Esmeralda. Quasimodo refuses to leave the cathedral but Phoebus and the gargoyles tell him about the values of devotion and selflessness, and Quasimodo agrees.
Quasimodo uses Esmeralda’s amulet to find the Court of Miracles. The Gypsies assume that that they are Frollo’s spies but Esmeralda assures them that they are their friends. Phoebus tells them about Frollo’s plans. Clopin orders the Gypsies to leave. Esmeralda and Phoebus decide to leave the city together while Quasimodo watches them and is heartbroken as Esmeralda prepares to leave with the man she truly loves. However before anyone can flee the Court of Miracles, Frollo’s men show up and arrests everyone and reveals that he followed Quasimodo.
Quasimodo is taken back to Notre Dame where he is tied up. The Gargoyles implore him to help Esmeralda but Quasimodo tell them to leave him. Frollo visits Esmeralda in jail and offers her freedom by becoming his women. She tells Phoebus that she would except Frollo’s offer if only to save him but Phoebus tell her to do it for herself but she tells him that a life with Frollo doesn’t seem like living. As Esmeralda awaits her execution she hopes that humanity learns to live in peace.
Esmeralda is tied to the stake and she refuses Frollo and he lights the pyre. Quasimodo seeing Esmeralda in pain rescues her and takes her into the safety of Notre Dame. Frollo’s order an attack on Notre Dame and Phoebus and the other Parisian stand up against Frollo. Quasimodo defends the cathedral with molten lead and as he tells Esmeralda he has won he sees her die. As Esmeralda is dying she thanks Quasimodo for being an good friend. Quasimodo mourns her as Frollo breaks into the room to try to kill him. In a fit of rage Quasimodo throws Frollo off of Notre Dame. The Gargoyles try to console Quasimodo by saying the world is full of good and evil. Quasimodo then carries Esmeralda’s body though the Square with Phoebus by his side. Clopin appears and brings the show full circle and ask what makes a monster and what makes a man.
Next Time – Characters of Der Glöckner von Notre Dame MusicalFollow thehunchblog