Hey all, I’m sorry I haven’t been updating and I’m sorry that I haven’t finished watching/reviewing The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo. I’m not going to go into reasons or excuses as to why as they pertain to matters of my personal life and I am not going there on this platform. All I really can say I’m not sure when I will get back to those review posts. Just know that I would like to at some point. For now posts will remain sporadic.

And now an unrelated story.

Helene Segara as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris picture image
Helene Segara as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris

So I also write Hunchback content on Hubpages. Way back in the before times of 2011 I did a page on Esmeralda’s green costume from Notre Dame de Paris. She wears this costume throughout the first act. You can see that hub here.

On this page I compare the different versions of the costume from production to production. Mostly the costume is fairly consist from cast to cast with minimum differences in the overall design. Basically aside from the Italian version, which deviated in design very early on from the Original French version and the Korean version being darker, the costume has remained mostly unchanged from the original 1998 design.

There some changes though. For instance the costume was getting tighter and shorter especially from 2012 to 2015. Good for sex appeal but not for dancing. In 2021 I decided to update all my hubpages which is still an ongoing thing since many require a lot more work. I should mention that prior to my update of the Esmeralda’s green costume page I hadn’t updated it since 2015, a year before the current World Tour production, can’t really say cast since the cast has changed since 2016.

In the 2015 update of my page, I added an observation which basically said that the costume needed a redesign because the newer iterations lacked movement. And in 2016 they did update the costume along with some others in the musical.

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda 2016/2017 Notre Dame de Paris picture image
Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda

The new version of Esmeralda’s green costume has lots layers of lightweight fabric to show off the performer’s movement.

COINCIDENCE?

Maybe. It is suspect though given the timing. Perhaps my obsessive breakdown of the costume gave the production the idea to do a redesign. Perhaps it was parallel thought. Perhaps my page was one voice amongst many asking for a change. I do not know. More than likely it’s a case of parallel thought and the production and I had the idea independently of each other. The simplest explanations are typically the most likely.

Would I like to think I had something to do with it? Yes I would.

It is nice to see that the costume got more movement since that should add to the overall experience for the audience who is watching the musical live. And I guess I can comment on that further when I see it next month (July 2022) in New York City!

It’s Spooky Season

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame , picture image
Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

The time has come to start getting our Halloween plans in gear. For many costume-goers the go to Esmeralda costume for Halloween is Disney.

And that is great but diversity is the spice of life, so more Esmeralda costumes are needed. If I wear to dress-up as Esmeralda for Halloween I would go with the Gina Lollobrigida version of Esmeralda.

Why? Because while I love the Notre Dame de Paris green dress it doesn’t read as Halloween costume, Gina Lollobrigida’s costume does even if people don’t recognize it. Plus it’s more of a costume of Lollobrigida more than Esmeralda herself. Like when people don a pink strapless gown with a short blonde wig and wear some diamonds, are they dressing up as Lorelei from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes or are they dressing up as Marilyn Monroe???

So let’s just say you’re lazy or not the best at sewing what can you purchase to assemble to get a costume of Gina Lollobrigida’s Esmeralda? Here are the elements you will need. Don’t be afraid to cut them up to get a more authentic look to Gina’s costume. And should have some of this on-hand already? Lucky you, you’re one step closer to costumes and candy and an Esmeralda costume!

Wide V Neck Shirt

For the shirt, go for a red fitted shirt with a wide v-neckline. You can of of course cut a deeper v-neck and add some cuts to the sleeves for that tattered effect. For the more enterprising type you get some fabric paint for the stitching details

Red Skirt

For the skirt make it long and red. If you can get one with a slit so much the better. Flowiness for dancing is a plus

Red Hip Scarf

For the hip scarf, try to go for an unadorned one. Of course if you want to go for the belly dancing ones with the coin go for it.

Belt

Ideally go for a brown belt with gold studs but any brown belt should do. You could always paint or stud the details yourself if you want.

Red Veil

A simple red scarf should work for Esmeralda’s red veil. Just bobby pin it in place.

Jewelry

For the jewelry you will need gold coin earrings and lots of gold bangles with coin details. For the earrings two tiers are closer to the costume. You should be ok with any gold bracelets so along as they are not too detailed or have stones. You will want a few on each wrist.

Other add-ons

The other things you can add is the knife prop and the glamorous 50s’s cat eye. You can also throw in a wig if you want. I couldn’t find a good enough knife/dagger on amazon. If I do I will add it.

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) with Phoebus (Jean Danet), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image
Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) with Phoebus (Jean Danet), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Remember this all for fun. And have a safe fun halloween.

Esmeralda from Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image
Esmeralda from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame

I have been obsessed lately with Jenny Nicholson’s video on Pandora- The World of Avatar at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. Also she drops a Hunchback reference, so if you haven’t seen that video, go see it. I have seen it multiple times and it’s and it’s like an hour long and I have no attention span.

In Jenny’s video she talks about the history of Animal Kingdom and how there was supposed to a medieval fantasy section called Beastly Kingdom as the concept of the park was explore animals of the present, past and myth but they ran out of money and went for the Dinosaur part. Long story short, after Disney lost out on Harry Potter to Universal, the management of Disney went for another cultural significant movie franchise experience that was insanely immersive, so they went with Avatar, not the Airbender one, the Dances with Wolves in space.

Unlike Harry Potter or Star Wars, the buzz and staying power of Avatar haven’t held up over time so it’s odd that Disney just went for this concept but the land looks really cool and does speak to the fantasy element and conservation angle. But it also of speaks to Disney’s influencing power. It maybe a generalization but kids haven’t seen the movie, it was rated PG-13, came out nearly a decade ago and is really only good in an imax setting but Disney went for it and kids can now adopt Banshee puppets for $65 dollars a pop, $90 if you include the perch. FYI I think the Banshee puppets are cute.

It really fascinates me that Disney pushed so hard on this project and yet a lot of their own properties get ignored within the parks, like Hunchback. So I have been on a slight deep drive into Disney parks, learning what I can about them, mostly via Youtube videos since I have no plans as right now to go to any of the parks.

First let’s talk about the Characters, the Face characters, though I guess Frollo and Quasimodo are not technically Face Characters but all I mean is characters that you meet. The Question is can you even see/meet/greet any of Hunchback Characters at any of the Disney parks worldwide?

According to  Fill my Passport, you can but not a Disney Land or Disney World. This information is a bit old as it’s from 2017.

According to Fill my Passport Quasimodo makes extremely  rare appearance at Disneyland Paris. Esmeralda can often see at Tokyo Disney and once in a while at Disneyland Paris. Frollo can be see at Halloween at Tokyo Disney. He used at appear at Disney USA parks during Halloween but not so much now. Clopin can be see at Disneyland Paris. And Phoebus doesn’t show up anymore. Fill my Passport as talks about other rare Disney characters in the Disney park so do check out that blog.

However videos from a year ago show a rare meet and greet with Esmeralda and Clopin. It seemed to have occurred at DVC Moonlight Magic Special Event during after hours in the Magic Kingdom, in early 2018.


Here is a meet and greet with Phoebus from 3 years ago at the France pavilion at Epcot.

Hunchback characters meet and greets seem to be extremely rare these days so if you see a hunchback character walking around try to see them, if you like that experience.

Tadashi Shoji Marquis Evening Gown picture image

Tadashi Shoji Marquis Evening Gown

 

This gown is by Tadashi Shoji. It resemble Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris costume in both the green color and lacy texture but the tiers are akin to Disney’s Esmeralda. But also the tiers have flamenco vibe which works Esmeralda’s personality in most any version.

You can buy this gown on Tadashi Shoji’s website,

(The Hunchblog is not affiliated with Tadashi Shoji in anyway, nor sponsored in anyway)  

Vamp Vampire Esmeralda Halloween 2018 picture image

Vamp Esmeralda

Happy Halloween.

This was made using Azalea Dolls. Haven’t done one these posts in while and tried to go for a “spooky” Vampire Esmeralda.

Awhile ago I did an Anti-Hypothetical Casting Post for Kim Kardashian and while she best worst choice (as far as people involved in Keeping up with the Kardashian go), Kylie and Kendall seem more topical and in the right age range to play Esmeralda.

Kendall Jenner picture image

Kendall Jenner

 

I guess Kendall makes more sense than Kylie but honestly these two run together for me, I’m not sure which one is which. I thought of Kylie first since I tend to watch make-up/nail polish content of youtube but Kendall  seems to have more a filmography and she did that social justice Pepsi commercial. So let’s just consider Kendall Jenner for this post.

 

Kendall Jenner in a Lil Dickie Music video picture image

Kendall Jenner in a Lil Dickie Music video

I can’t pretend that I know Kendall Jenner’s acting prowess but I’m going to assume it’s low to bad.  But she is a model who was on a reality show, has been in a bad music video singing about her vagina and a not self-aware soda commercial so she seems like she’ll do whatever for notoriety.

 

Kendall Jenner picture image

Kendall Jenner

Since she “sang” in that horrible music video and since she has that Social Justice Pepsi ad maybe she could play Esmeralda in a musical version. Maybe a Disney live action version. I mean Disney likes popular people in their movies. And for some reason  she is popular, I still don’t get it and I never will. Also Disney really doesn’t live Hunchback version much but wants to curtail to fans so maybe casting a reality show star turned model turned some form of celebrity is a good bet for them? You know, for money.

 

Kendall Jenner picture image

Kendall Jenner

She does have a good look for Esmeralda. So that is one thing working for her.

But would Kendall Jenner even want to play Esmeralda? I honestly don’t know enough about her to say but maybe. Though the Pepsi commercial did cause some pushback maybe she would want to double-down on it and want to play a beautiful, desirable, social justice warrior of a repressed people. Or at least just a character who is beautiful and desirable and in some versions and known as a social justice warrior, like Disney’s version. Activist by association!  

 

Kendall Jenner picture image

Kendall Jenner

This casting idea scares me. It’s just  bad. I wouldn’t want it in a so bad it’s good way. Kendall Jenner would be a bad choice.  I hate it!

Isabelle Guerin as Esmeralda Roland Petit Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Isabelle Guerin as Esmeralda Roland Petit Notre Dame de Paris

What can one really say about analyzing characters in a ballet? Yes, they have some traits of the characters from Hugo’s but nothing in depth. And that is okay.

With this version of Esmeralda we get that she is flirty at least when she dances and is generally kind.  She doesn’t have the innocence or superstitious streak that she has in the book but she does seem a bit shy about sleeping with Phoebus, so at least there is virginal quality of Esmeralda’s character is there in this ballet.

She doesn’t seem to fear Frollo as much until his attack on Phoebus. Unlike the book where she fears him very early on. In this ballet she does seem to be uncomfortable with his leering but it doesn’t seem like fear. This is not a big deal as many Esmeraldaa rarely fear Frollo from the onset.  

Esmeralda is sweet, kind, flirtatious and tragic in this version. So we have a baseline version of Esmeralda.  And for a ballet that is all she really needs to be.

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda and Martin Giroux as Phoebus Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda and Martin Giroux as Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda & Martin Giroux as Phoebus

I have been watching videos of the most recent cast of Notre Dame de Paris and I noticed something about Hiba Tawaji’s portrayal of Esmeralda that was just off. It was something I couldn’t place but it was something I didn’t like. It was like she was trying to do too much but not succeeding. She  just wasn’t coming off as natural but forced.

Just so we’re clear this has nothing to with her as singer or person, this is just in her acting. She is fine as a singer.

Hiba Tawaji singing Bohemienne picture image

Hiba Tawaji singing Bohemienne

The weirdness in her acting was further noticeable when you watch the preview when the cast was announced. She is singing Bohemienne and she was coming off as sweet, happy and natural. From that video she seemed like the perfect Esmeralda. But then you watch the performance and she has a weird expression on her face and she trying to be sultry and playful and doing weird arm movements.

This led me to watch every Bohemienne performance I could find to see what the other Esmeraldas were doing since there is a bit of a disconnect from Segara’s original performance to what other Esmeraldas do with the song. I say this because I’m most familiar with Segara’s version but it’s not the standard anymore.

 

Helene Segara as Esmeralda and Patrick Fiori as Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda and Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris

Bohemienne, under at least Segara, starts off mysterious and somewhat aloof. Some Esmeraldas maintain some mystery but in other parts of the song.  The reason why Segara’s Esmeralda starts this way was because of changes to the lead-in to the song. In the original Frollo starts off by ordering Phoebus to arrest the refugees in which he immediately  runs into Esmeralda and then she starts her song after he asks her who she is. There is a threat here with Phoebus, as he was starts pursuing her and then tries to flirt. She is aloof because she on her guard.

 

In subsequent versions Phoebus gets his orders, there is a scene shift and then runs into Esmeralda already dancing for the people. She is unaware of Phoebus’ orders. So the song is already upbeat and happy at the start.

 

Lola Ponce as Esmeralda Italian Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Lola Ponce as Esmeralda Italian Notre Dame de Paris

Most Esmeraldas perform Bohemienne in a happy upbeat playful manner. Dancing varies but most try to move in a dancing like fashion whether or not it looks natural. Probably the best Esmeralda at conveying the spirit of a dancer and  a playful flirtatious attitude is the Italian cast Original Esmeralda, Lola Ponce. She is very natural in this performance. However the trade-off is her singing suffers. While it’s not bad she does get breathy and out breath in places but you can forgive it as she commits.

Many Italian Esmeraldas follow Ponce’s example in the playful flirty persona. Some try and focus more on singing so they don’t commit as fully. Some are just less natural in their movements and you can see them aiming to hit the next mark.

Other Esmeraldas it’s  just hard to tell if their happy and succeeding in the choreography because the quality of footage is bad.            

 

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda & Jay as Clopin Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda & Jay as Clopin

   

So it’s a question of choreography vs singing vs an Esmeralda who is natural with their movements.  It would be unfair to put the blame solely on Tawaji as the choreography is weird at times. Like when she gesturing out towards the audience, why? Or maybe she’s just not super comfortable trying to move sensually while trying to be playful, effervescent and flirtatious while maintaining good vocals. It’s a tall order if not impossible   But then you watch Tawaji perform other songs in the show there is still that awkwardness with her movements so I don’t know. She could not be a very adept actress, great singer and not good in the acting department, she wouldn’t be the first singer not great at acting.

However there seems to be awkwardness with Daniel Lavoie’s movements in this version opposed to his original performance,  so I really don’t know what to think. Could be the director? Or maybe this all better live and the videos are not doing the performances any justice?

The point is in the case of Bohemienne  there is no right way to perform the song. The performer can be more playful, aloof,  flirtatious, sensual, wistful, youthful etc. However it does seem like sometimes the minor choreography can get in the way of the performer’s natural movements and that is when an Esmeralda can look mechanical or awkward and that is something an Esmeralda should never be.   

The trend of 100 layers of stuff maybe over but I lost my mind, so here is 100 layers of Esmeralda.

100 layers Esmeralda picture image

100 layers Esmeralda


Michelle Newell as Esmeralda & Warren Clarke as Quasimodo 1977 The Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Warren Clarke as Quasimodo & Michelle Newell as Esmeralda

If you like the 1977 version, I understand. I get the appeal of it. As of now it is the most book accurate movie version that exists.  But being book accurate does not necessarily make for a good movie.

Accuracy to the source material can’t hide that this version is dull. From the sets, to the cinematography, to the depictions of the characters; everything is underwhelming.

Even when I first saw this movie is my early Hunchback obsession days, I thought this version was a Feast of Snores.

The good news is that I don’t think this version was out to be a seminal version. How could it be when they don’t even have even a model for Notre Dame?  Or any exterior sets. It was just a version made for TV with a limited budget. I don’t think the bar was terrible high on this version. They did the best they felt like with their resources and got out another version of Hunchback.    

Would I recommend you watch this? If you’re some weird Hunchback completionist, like I try to be, then yes but you might get bored like I do every single time I watch this version. And for the purposes of this review series that was a lot mostly because I forgot a lot of it even with repeat viewings.