Would you believe this is like at least the second time I have written a synopsis of the plot of Notre Dame de Paris ( here)? Also this is a synopsis of the original French product. In 2001 the show had some changes. I will at some point talk about the different casts (to the best of my ability) but for now the original French is the default since it’s most convenient version I can review.
The show opens with Gringoire, the story teller, as he regals the crowd with cathedrals and their important to the world and their demise from importance as books in stone and glass. The scene then shifts to Clopin and his group of refugees who want sanctuary in Notre Dame. His pleads fall on deaf hears as Frollo, the archdeacon of Notre Dame who orders the captain of the King’s Archer, Phoebus to arrest them. Phoebus corners pretty Gypsy lady. Phoebus is instantly attracted to her and ask her about herself. She tells him that she is a bohemian and her parents are gone but she dreams of returning to Andalusia someday though her fate is already determined. Clopin, her care giver then warns her that she is grown now and to be wary of men. We are then introduced to Phoebus‘ fiancee, Fleur de Lys who is fourteen and is quite smitten with the dashing captain.
The Feast of Fools begins with Gringoire leading the revelry. Quasimodo then pokes his head out from the cathedral and is crown the Pope of Fools by Esmeralda. Quasimodo then asks the crowd, especially Esmeralda if she will love him, but she doesn’t really care. Quasimodo curses his parents that abandoned him. Frollo then breaks up the fun and calls out Esmeralda for being a witch and evil. Froll then decides that they will kidnap her. Quasimodo tells Frollo that he will do anything for Frollo since he took Quasimodo in and gave him the bells. But despite that he doesn’t know Frollo’s heart but he belongs to Frollo and loves him as dog loves his master.
Gringoire tries to follow Esmeralda after the feast but lost her. He then tells us that nighttime in Paris is a dangerous and lustful place. Quasimodo then set out to Kidnap Esmeralda as she warms herself but he stopped by Phoebus. Phoebus offers to take Esmeralda outside the city to where the other Gypsy live and he sort of puts the moves on her. Esmeralda tells him that she isn’t that sort of girl however when her asks to meet her the following night at Val d’Amour (a brothel) she does not say no. We then are thrown in to the Court of Miracles where the vagrants live and Clopin rules a world with no heaven, no hell, no country, no creed. Gringoire wanders in and going to hang but Esmeralda marries him to save. Gringoire is all for this match but Esmeralda asks what Phoebus means and that it the name of the man she loves. Gringoire tells her it means the sun. Esmeralda likes this name and entertains girly ideas about what kind of man he is while Fleur de Lys knows him a little more. Phoebus then tells us that two women love him and this the bestest thing ever as he figures he can have both and it will be awesome.
The next day, Frollo and Gringoire meet and Frollo find out that Gringoire and Esmeralda are married which is disapproves of and tells Grngoire that he must not touch his wife but I mean really want husband would really want to touch his wife. Gringoire shows Frollo the work Ankaria which engraved on the wall and asks what it means. Frollo tells him it means fate. They then see Quasimodo being taking away. (That songs last for 42 seconds). Quasimodo tries to a pillory and asks for a drop of water. Esmeralda gives him some and he calls her beautiful. Quasimodo, Frollo and Phoebus then tell us about their own desires for Esmeralda. After the crowd clears, Quasimodo invites Esmeralda in to Notre Dame and tells her she can be save their and it can be her home. Esmeralda then prays to Mary for protections against the people in power and the fools of the world as Frollo watches her and becomes more bewitched by her and knows she will destroy him and he is ok with that.
Frollo follows Phoebus to Val d’Amour and tries to scare him away but Val d’amour is way too sexy and Phoebus meets with Esmeralda for a night of loving. They don’t make it very far when Frollo stabs Phoebus, such is fate.
Frollo and Phoebus meet again and regal us with the changing world and how the snazzy new printing press with destroy architecture. They hear silence as the bells or Notre Dame no longer ring. Quasimodo is sad because he rings the bell for everyday and for everyone except himself and he wants to hear the bell ring out his love for Esmeralda. Esmeralda is also missing and Gringoire, Frollo and Clopin mourn her absence. Frollo asks where she has gone but Gringoire doesn’t tell him but tells Clopin that she has been arrested and will be hanged.
Esmerlada in jail asks for Quasimodo to save her. Quasimodo is also missing her as they share a strong bond. Clopin then tries to recuse Esmeralda but is arrested himself. Esmeralda is put on trail but Frollo for wounding Phoebus. She then tortured and confesses to loving Phoebus which seems to be enough to condemn her to death. Esmerada then wishes Phoebus would save and take her to Andalusia while Frollo laments about being a priest and loving a woman.
Fleur de Lys is at her wit’s end and is feud up with Phoebus’ cheating but she is whiling to forget it if Phoebus can ensure Esmeralda’s death, which is going to happen anyway so Phoebus agrees and claims that Esmeralda bewitched him anyway but he is ready to be 100% faithful.
The bells ring in the early morning as Frollo informs Esmeralda that in an hour she will die. She asks what she did to him to make him hate her but he confesses that he Loves her and gives her an ultimatum, the grave or Frollo’s bed. Esmeralda rejects him but Frollo tries to force himself on her. Just then Clopin saves Esmeralda as Quasimodo released everyone.
Quasimodo takes Esmeralda, and I guess the rest of the Court of Miracles. Gringoire then regales the audience and the moon with how consuming the power of love can be. Quasimodo gives Esmeralda a whistle and tells her not to leave Notre Dame. As Esmeralda drifts off to sleep, Quasimodo laments that God made the world wrong as Esmeralda will never love him but loves Phoebus. Esmeralda wakes up and tells us how she doesn’t want to die but she wants to live. She wants to live for love.
Clopin claims sanctuary but Frollo orders right if sanctuary broke Phoebus to expel them from Notre Dame. Clopin is killed and Esmeralda rushes to him but is recaptures and sent to the gallows, which pleases Fleur de Lys. Quasimodo begs Frollo to save Esmeralda but he refuses as she rejects him. As she hanged Frollo laughs and Quasimodo kills Frollo and then demands Esmeralda be returned to him.
Quasimodo holds Esmeralda’s body and begs her to dance for one final time and vows that in death they will be united in the universe.
Don’t you just feel happier now?
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