So this series of review is really just based on the Cast Album and not so much the show itself, that is not say I won’t say anything about the stage production if there is video of it available. Also at this point I haven’t heard the whole album in its entirety.
Olim – Olim is the actually the first bit of music heard in the Disney movie version and honestly I’m not sure why it’s a separate track. It seems unnecessary to me. Maybe it’s because of the dramatic tone of the opening to what is now The Bells of Notre Dame is different.
All in All it’s the same of the film counterpart, Georgian chanting in Latin. And if your curious the lyrics are; “Once, long ago, God arrived, In this age of brightness, He will come again.” It’s not “Here comes a lion, Father, Oh yes, it’s a lion” but it’s okay.
Michael Arden as Quasimodo, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Bells of Notre Dame – A part of me wants to like this song more than I do since I love the movie version. Like in the movie we’re given the backstory of Quasimodo and Frollo but it’s very different as it tries to amalgamate the movie with the book. So first difference we are introduced to Frollo’s younger brother Jehan which is like book. Also like the book Jehan is a wild child. Jehan is sent away from Notre Dame for sneaking a Gyspy Girl into the Chruch so Frollo could get some. Unlike the book Jehan is the father of Quasimodo. The mother was Gypsy girl, the same one who Jehan brought into the church. As Jehan is dying he begs Frollo to look after the child and he does and give him the cruel name, unlike the book where it was Quasimodo sunday.
I do like that they brought Jehan into the picture and they’re right that reason why Frollo took in little Quasimodo was out love for his brother but it’s sort of trite here. Book Frollo did it out empathy for a child that had no one because his brother had been in almost same position and here in this musical he does it as a cross to bear out a sense of guilt. Also I don’t like that they have that familial connect of uncle and nephew. It takes away something from their relationship at least for me.
But wait there is more. In the movie when Frollo is chasing down Quasimodo’s mother there is this swell of dramatic music that fits that part perfectly. They have that same music in this version as Frollo is walking with baby Quasimodo but so out place. I really couldn’t tell if Frollo was thinking killing baby Quasimodo or what. It’s jarring and should not have been there despite that fact that it’s awesome music.
The Chorus singing the parts instead of Clopin was interesting not bad just different. BUT one thing I can not and I mean CAN NOT forgive is how they pronounce Jehan. They say like Jay-AN. It’s not inherently wrong but they over emphasis the sounds. They could have just said John. I mean they didn’t keep Phoebus’ last name so what difference does it really make? They call him Phoebus de Martin not sure why since he had a last in the book and plus they missed a great pun by adding that R. He could have been Sun of Morning, Phoebus de Matin. And yet they get Clopin’s last name correct.
Anyway, it’s a good opening that does tries to be a good blend of movie and book it just missed it a bit for me.
Out There – Out There isn’t at all different than its movie counterpart, they play it straight. One thing I did like is the difference of Arden’s voice when he singing the part with Frollo vs his solo. Where he sound more deaf and unsure in Frollo’s presence and then more refined one his own. The movie did this too to a degree but Quasimodo was just meek and timid. It’s a fine version. I will say that song is a little weird considering Quasimodo didn’t seem that interested earlier in the scene. Like he wasn’t the type to really care to remember the town’s people’s faces. Still a nice version it’s just a disconnect between the book and the movie.