Heaven’s Light – There isn’t much to say on this version of the song. Arden performs it very well and is a better singer that Hulce in the movie. Though I would say, at least in the cast album, it seems like Arden is fighting the impulse to sing in that broadway nasal style, which doesn’t work with the soft, light quality of stye song. Not saying he doesn’t capture the song because he does. Anyway solid version of the song and the last note Arden holds is lovely. I can understand if people prefer Arden’s version to the movie version, he puts passion into it and not that school boy crush of the movie.
Hellfire – The Disney movie’s Hellfire is a hard act to replicate as it one of the highlights of the movie and is one of best songs in the Disney Pantheon. I would say the musical should have made this song more of its own instead of trying to emulate the movie. In stage show they did, to a point, I mean they striped it down to just Frollo and a red lighting effect but the song is just Hellfire with Patrick Page singing instead of Tony Jay. Jay’s version is just so perfect that this version feels lukewarm at its hottest. No disrespect to Page, he is a great singer but much like Norbert Lamla in the German version of the musical, he is channeling too much of Tony Jay. Though to be fair, people want Hellfire and that is what the musical gave them. It’s a damn if they don’t and damn if they do since the animation and Tony Jay made Hellfire.
However there is another issue with Hellfire in this version that bridges the movie and the book. In the Disney movie, Frollo is a more in touch with his anger and how it relates to his control over the city, so it makes sense that his lust is channeled through his anger IE Hellfire. In the book, Frollo valves his purity as means to keeping his control over himself and his lust is channeled out through self-loathing till it explodes with stabbing Phoebus.
As it is in the musical there is a disconnect between Frollo’s personality and Hellfire. Yes, he does get mad when Esmeralda calls him out on the way he looks at her but then he goes out searching for her and his part in Tavern Song sounds more desperate than mad which makes Hellfire seem more out of place in the scheme of things. I think the idea is that Hellfire at first showcases his desperation for control and he gets more consumed as the song goes on. Though in the book Frollo wasn’t that mad that Esmeralda was dragging him off to Hell, he rather welcome it, sure it made him go crazy to the point where he wanted to kill her but he was more mad that she going to give her virginity to someone who didn’t deserve her and that she didn’t want him. I don’t think book Frollo would sing this song. I will say that it’s a tough task merging Book Frollo with Disney Frollo since they are very different from each other but the causality of it seems to be Hellfire.
Or this could all be my head and I’m seeing an issue that isn’t there, or I didn’t explain my point very well. Both are possible. As it stand this a very tepid version of the song though the chorus is great.
I agree, the Hellfire song and scene don’t really fit with Claude’s character in the musical. And the song on the album, while still a good song is just Patrick Page singing-the original emotion isn’t there.
And this was one of those scenes in the show that needed to be big and needed to show a struggle, but didn’t.