Full Stage view during the Bells of Notre Dame King's Academy Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Full Stage view during the Bells of Notre Dame King’s Academy Hunchback of Notre Dame

The stage that the King Academy used for their production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is divided into a few parts. The lowest level is used for dance number and one could say it represents the streets of Paris and a few of the principle cast use this level. Then there is a ramp to the next level with is sort of like Sanctuary of Notre Dame as well as other setting like Square of Notre Dame. Then you have the upper most level which is the Bell tower. There is also the sides which the ensemble uses but Esmeralda appears there during the Esmeralda song.

At first I thought the fact that most of the action takes place at the upper level would impede the viewing experience for an audience but I think I was wrong. From a video vantage point that could be true, if you are watching it from the camera’s angle but just in a wide shot the action in the bell tower would look remote. However from the audience they would be able to see the action clearer as they have to look up and there would nothing to block their view. I sort of recall seeing a play that had a similar height presentation and I’m pretty short so it worked out for me.

Otherwise the staging is fairly straightforward there are not too many surprises, a character sings and they pretty much stand still while the ensemble does a little choreography while singing and the dancers dance at the lowest level. Well, there was one surprise, the gargoyles are suspended and swing around a little bit but still pretty much in one spot but it was a nice touch.

Also before I end this, the Notre Dame set was really great.

Frollo, Quasimodo and Ensemble performing Esmeralda King's  Academy Hunchback of Notre Dame   picture image

Frollo, Quasimodo and Ensemble performing Esmeralda King’s Academy Hunchback of Notre Dame

The King’s Academy version of the Hunchback exist as step between Der Glockner von Notre Dame and the official American musical version of La Jolla and Papermills. The King’s version has some core differences of Glockner and even the Disney movie. Also Please note, I’m working off of memory, I had hope to re-watch it and make a list but I couldn’t do that so I probably will miss things.

So the big difference and something that I find a unforgivable is Phoebus or rather not Phoebus. This version calls him Edgrick, I’m not sure why they changed his name. The did change the gargoyle names back to there original Disney name of Victor, Hugo and Laverne instead of the Glockner names Charles, Loni and Antoine. Also in this production Phoebus does not sing. This Phoebus’ signature song of Ein bißchen Freude or Rest and Recreation does not occur. Also Out of Love is cut which is also cut from the La Jolla version. He also doesn’t sing in Esmeralda instead Frollo sings Phoebus’s part which doesn’t make that much sense as the Frollo asks why he hears her words inside his head I have no idea what he would be referring to, though the lyrics have been changed somewhat.

King’s version
Why do I long for Esmeralda?
Why do I hear her words inside my head?
Why do I think of Esmeralda?
With all the Gypsies Beggars left for Dead

Yes my Duty calls for
Paris is Burning
Lit to expose that furtive pair
Sneaking about
Out There

What have I done for Esmeralda?
Why do I hear her voice inside my head?
Why do I think of Esmeralda?
With my career and prospects left for dead?

Once more my Duty calls
Paris is Burning
Lit to expose that furtive pair
Sneaking about
Out There

I wish Phoebus or Edgrick had sung in Esmeralda be it harkens to the basis of the book three guys and how they hearts are made different with regard to one woman. Plus it adds rich to the big act ending song.

Another cut song from the Glockner version is Tanz auf dem Seil or Dance on the Rope which served as Esmeralda’s introduction. Instead she appears dancing before a crowd like in the movie. The La Jolla version also cut Dance of the Rope and opted for keeping the dance angle but added the song Rhythm of the Tambourine.

The King’s Academy also cut Tanz der Zigeuner, Dance of the Gypsies and reintroduced The Court of Miracle from the original. Minor change really.

Clopin doesn’t narrate the tale as a beggar which he does in Glockner. In the King’s versions he is in his jester costume at the start. Minor change.

However the big change is at the end, no one dies and I mean no one, well except Quasimodo’s mother. But Frollo lies, he is about to attack Quasimodo and Esmeralda but he just walks off. This could be because he said care for the child.

A curious addition and not really a change but it needs to be mention is Djali isn’t in this version but one of Hugo’s lines mention Djali not by name but he does say “the one in the dress ain’t bad either” referencing to the nonexistent Djali.

Again I’m probably missing other difference between the shows but those are the one I remember and can find

Next Time -Direction and Staging

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Ensemble performing God help the Outcast King's  Academy Hunchback of Notre Dame   picture image

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Ensemble performing God help the Outcast King’s Academy Hunchback of Notre Dame

So the La Jolla production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame musical is in full swing and the Papermill playhouse show is on the horizon. The La Jolla veriosn is considered to be the American debut of the German musical Der Glockner von Notre Dame which was based on the Disney movie. But you know it was not the first time the musical was adapted in English.

Esmeralda and Quasimodo singing On Top of the World King's  Academy Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Quasimodo singing On Top of the World 

In 2013 the musical was performed at King’s Academy in Palm Beach County Florida which is private catholic high school. The musical was done in collaboration with the school and Disney. However it has some differences with the Glockner version that warrant discussing.

As I have already discussed the Disney version and the Glockner version before and I hope to discuss the musical more in future (hint hint) I’m not going to spread too long talking about it and as the performers are high school students (or at least were), I’m going to go easy them in terms of acting and singing.

So for the next five weeks, we will look at this version.

Also please note, the whole thing was on youtube a few weeks ago and I did watch it  but now most of it not available but I won’t let that stop me, Gwahahahahahaaa.

La Jolla Hunchback Poster picture image

La Jolla Hunchback Poster

I have been looking for pictures or videos of the new Hunchback musicals since it began and I have found next to zip till now. While searching for the sets of show I found http://enseeseven.tumblr.com and when I looked back there a few days later I found this http://lajollahunchback.tumblr.com which has some of the recordings of the song from the show. So very briefly I will just go through the recording and give my thoughts.

Rhythm of the Tambourine –  I have to assume this is Esmeralda’s introductory song and it’s a new song. I gotta say though, it’s not doing much for me and I’m a little bummed that it not an Esmeralda only song that was a big issue for me with Glockner.

Made of Stone – I have to admit Michael Arden sounds a bit like Colm Wickinson here. I also wish he was angrier sounder, he sounds more sad but it’s a fine version of the song. I’m curious about the Ensemble/Gargoyles roles.

Finale Ultimo, Part 1 – They kept the stabbing angle? Neat! I don’t really like the pep talk with Quasimodo and the ensemble, seems un-necessary with the Made of Stone song. Overall it’s good.

The Tavern Song (Thai Mol Piyas) – Another new song! It’s fun. I’m not sure where this song goes in the play but I like it.
Apparently Thai Mol Piyas might mean “And wine we drink” in Romani.

Sanctuary (Reprise) – OMG, the red door scene! At first I thought it was the jail scene but it’s clearly not. This could have been in the original Glockner because it was in the King’s Academy version although less adult.   I’m glad to hear some lines from the book though.

God Help the Outcasts – They play this very straight to the original Disney movie which is fine by me because I hated Quasimodo part of the song as it took Esmeralda’s only solo away. At first I though Ciara Renee was going to be belt-y with this song but she isn’t, it’s nicely done.

The Bells of Notre Dame – This is very different. The example Frollo backstory prior to Quasimodo.  Frollo has Jehan back in the version. Frollo and Jehan lived at Notre Dame. Jehan gets Frollo a Gyspy prostitutes for his birthday but they get caught Jehan get kicked out. Frollo then rises to the ranked of Archdeacon. Frollo finds Jehan who dying and his Gyspy wife has died. Jehan asks Frollo to take his baby, i.e Quasi. He doesn’t want to but then does.

I’m not sure how to feel about this version of the song. It’s a good mitigation between the novel and Disney version but it lacks the drama and intensity that the Disney version had. However it could be way better on stage. They also mispronounce Jehan.

Hellfire – Much like God Help the Outcast, they play this one straight to the Disney version.

The got rid of A Guy like you, City under Siege, Out of Love, Dance of the Gypsies, Balancing Act.

What do you think of these songs?

We have a Cast! (I’m late on this news)

Michael Arden as Quasimodo Us Cast of Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo


Michael Arden as Quasimodo






Patrick Page as Frollo Us Cast of Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical picture image

Patrick Page as Frollo


Patrick Page as Frollo





Ciara Renee as Esmeralda Us Cast of Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical picture image

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda


Ciara Renee as Esmeralda





Andrew Samonsky Phoebus  Us Cast of Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical picture image

Andrew Samonsky Phoebus


Andrew Samonsky as Phoebus





Erik Liberman as Clopin Us Cast of Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical picture image

Erik Liberman as Clopin


Erik Liberman as Clopin




Nothing I can find on Gargoyles or the Archdeacon, since they were in the original German version. We’ll see.

I will see if I can for later posts  find any info on these actors. I’m sure I find something.

These are the two posters from the Stage production of the Disney version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. A note, the poster for La Jolla is used on their website and it may not be the official poster.

One is from the German version Der Glöckner von Notre Dame and the other is the poster from the upcoming La Jolla English language version.

Both posters are quite different. While both do have bells imagery Glöckner’s only hints at one while La Jolla’s makes it a focal point.

Der Glockner von notre Dame German Musical of Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Der Glockner von notre Dame German Musical of Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Glöckner’s simplified Quasimodo gives the illusion that the show could have an upbeat tone but its lack of color does add a flavor of melancholy. I reviewed the show but I have not seen it but the show is bright and colorful but does have a sad ending. The square and vertical text work echos Notre Dame in a way. Otherall the poster is simple yet interesting.

La Jolla Hunchback Poster picture image

La Jolla Hunchback Poster

Where the Glöckner’s poster used a cool purple and black gradient for it overall color, La Jolla is the opposite, opting for a warm yellow tone. While the color yellow is typically cheery and bright this poster seems to have a shade of sadness. It’s a bell on a wooden bean with the logo on the bell. Behind is a setting sun. Setting suns usually indicate death. Moreover the lines on the bell and the wood make it look old and broken. There is no characters on it just the bell.

I like both posters in different ways. I like the singular bell of the La Jolla poster and I like the sad little Quasimodo figure. Both are very simple and that is their strength. If I had say what I dislike about them I would I say I don’t really like the shadow on Glöckner’s and I think the glow on the sun is too strong and white on the La Jolla poster.

Which poster do you like better, Glöckner or La Jolla?

Quaismodo Bells of Notre dame reprise Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quaismodo Bells of Notre dame reprise Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Most of you already know this, but the debut of  the stage version of the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame has a location. It will debut at La Jolla Playhouse. It will be part of the 2014-2015 season in October. La Jolla Playhouse is a not-for-profit  professional theatre-in-residence located on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. It is unclear if Disney has plans to bring the show to Broadway after its run at La Jolla Playhouse but the Aladdin ran in Toronto before it went to Broadway,  so it hopefully will happen for Hunchback too.  It’s very exciting news!

Source – http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/BREAKING-DISNEYS-HUNCHBACK-OF-NOTRE-DAME-to-Have-US-Premiere-at-La-Jolla-Playhouse-20140124



Hunchback, Musical Belfast picture image

Hunchback, Musical

There is a new Hunchback musical in the world, this time in Belfast and it’s a Rock musical. The tag line is ‘Love – Friendship – Passion’

The cast is interesting and by that interesting I mean weird. Let’s see if you can spot the weirdness in the cast,


Quasimodo – Christopher Finn
Esmerelda – Ciara Louise Baxter
La Tortura – Kate England
Clopina – Roxanne Saili
Phoebus – Julius Metson Scott
Frollo – John O’Mahony

Clopin is a women???!!!!!!! I don’t have too big of an issue with that. Maybe the actress is the embodiment of Clopin or they had to take what they could get, But pray tell who is La Tortura? and why is she listed above most of the cast? and there is no Gringoire.


Ciara Louise Baxter as Esmeralda & Christopher Finn as Quasimodo Hunchback musical belfast

Ciara Louise Baxter as Esmeralda & Christopher Finn as Quasimodo, Hunchback

The song that is on the site  and in the video promo “Like I can” I really don’t care for. The music isn’t dynamic and the sentiment while in it’s the novel it’s just not that likable. Basically it’s Quasimodo telling Esmeralda that he’s better and shame of her for not seeing it.

I can’t judge the show based on one song or the cast but if that is the song they are pushing I’m not sure about it. Could be good or bad.


For more info;



Esmeralda dancing Der Glöckner von Notre Dame Picture Image

Esmeralda Dancing Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

Auditions have started for the Broadway version of the German musical version of the Disney movie version of Hunchback of Notre Dame……. (blinks) yay!

Alright so what types are they looking for?

Quasimodo has to be a strong tenor but dextrous and flexible.

Frollo is an old Baritone with a rich register. I too want rich register ^_~.

Esmeralda has to “ooze with sexuality.” Sigh, she’ll probably have a red costume to match her secreting sexuality. I just hate overly sexy Esmeraldas, hate hate hate. They seem to want the actresses to sing contemporary pop theatre. That could annoying.

Clopin and Phoebus are both tenors though Clopin is high tenor.

Curious, there is no mention of the Gargoyles. I wonder if they will be like the German version or the Disney version. OR in this version at all? WE can dream can’t we, though they were not as bad in the German version.

I must despite my jabs, I’m very happy that this is coming to Broadway. Maybe I will get to see it ^^.

Read more; http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Auditions-Announced-for-HUNCHBACK-OF-NOTRE-DAME-Stage-Adaptation-Developmental-Lab-20131025 

Les Miserables and Notre Dame de Paris are both originally by Victor Hugo, both have been  given the popular musical treatment and they have very similar endings. Both endings deal with death and dying  But which one is more tragic or dare I say “Miserable?”

Les Miserables Finale picture image

Les Miserables Finale

If you want to get all technical, it’s Les Miz because they tote the name but when I first saw it I thought, “Dear god, this ending is pretty uplifting!” So at the end Jean Valjean is dying and he seems pretty cool with it. Cossette doesn’t want him to die but Fantine, who is a like a vision, is all like Jean you have been awesome now come to Heaven it’s awesome here.  Sure Jean is dying but he’s not sad, in fact this musical makes death look pretty nice. Everyone who is died seems pretty happy and they’re super hopeful. I guess the Miserable people are still alive?  This musical promised me Miserable people and you  don’t really get it at the end. Don’t misunderstand, I love the ending and it’s great but miserable it is not.

Garou as Quasimodo & Helene Segara Danse mon Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris  picture image

Notre Dame de Paris Ending

Now if we compare it to the Notre Dame de Paris ending proper, Le Miz is even more upbeat.  Esmeralda has just been executed and Quasimodo is mourning her while asking her to dance once again and heavily implies his own impending death. This ending is so sad that after the curtain call the tradition is to have the cast reprise the opening song while smiling so that audience is totally bummed.

Which ending do you find more Tragic? Clearly, I’m in the NDdP camp.