Jack Black picture image

Jack Black

Let’s end this month with another singer since that has been the sort of theme to this scary casting picks. Here for your consideration is Jack Black, a musician who makes comedic songs and does act, which is really more than you can say for the previously people this month.  But why would Black not make a good casting choice for Quasimodo?  Well it’s not really a question I think anyone has ever asked because it sounds too ridiculous.

 

Jack Black picture image

Jack Black

For the record, Jack Black is fine in his singing and acting capacity but oh dear god is he wrong in type. Most actors have a type,  roles the can play well. Sometimes an actor can surpass it and play roles that you would never expect but mostly they are in some kind  of type. This is more true with singers as they are all about an image and Jack Black has the wrong image. Black has a very crass and vulgar way about his humor that is so wrong for Quasimodo. Quasimodo is often depicted as sad yet kind. Sometimes he gets his whole hating people angle but that is rare. Quasimodo has been somewhat vulgar once but it was wrapped up in arrested development. In the French parody he was childlike and drew some crude pictures of Esmeralda but that is still not at the level of Jack Black.

 

Jack Black picture image

Jack Black

However, there is always the chance that someone, some weird coke-brained studio executive makes a Hunchback movie that casts Jack Black as Quasimodo. It would be Black in Quasimodo make-up but it would really just be Black being himself or his type with his humor. And yet it would still be a better Quasimodo than most of the shitty Disney Knock-offs, which is just sad and little scary to say.

 

Jack Black picture image

Jack Black

You know I take it all back, I want a version of Hunchback with Gerard Bulter as Frollo, Ariana Grande as Esmeralda, Justin Bieber as Phoebus and Jack Black as Quasimodo. It would be at the most cringe inducing  train wreck of epic proportion, that though your eyes will burn, your stomach with expel its content, ever muscle in your being with compel you to run you will not be able to avert your gaze for it is true evil but it would be a at least a new Hunchback of Notre Dame movie.

 

Frollo Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo

If you didn’t figure it out, the other Burbank version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame followed the plot of the 1939 version in a rough and unapologetic manner. This is technically the first version to be based off of the 1939 version since the 1997 version came out later but the 1997 version did take the basic plot of the 1939 version and add other elements  like Quasimodo liking books. What did this version do to distinguish itself? Well, Quasimodo has doves and Frollo has a literal birth mark of evil. That is the only thing that is original to this version from the 1939 version never mind the book, there is no point discussing the book against this version.

Esmeralda and Quasimodo, Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame 1996 picture image

Esmeralda and Quasimodo

Perhaps it’s unfair to say that this version should have add something to the basic plot of the 1939 version, after all this is a streamline version of Hunchback for kids. But just because it’s a short version condensed down to forty minutes, did it have to be so devoid of impact? This version is without a doubt  the blandest, joyless, soul crushing version of hunchback to date. It’s has all the flavor watery  hospitable vanilla ice cream. There is nothing in this version that conveys any sort of emotion or interest. It’s like a paint by number retelling of another retelling.

Before you can understand the pain of the other Burbank version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, you need to experience the pain. So you can either suffer through the forty some odd minutes of hell or just read this plot summary.   I’m sure more thought and effort were used to write this post than went into making the movie.

Frollo Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo

The story starts mind-numbingly on Year’s Eve 1599, a mere 117 later than the book for no real reason. Actually I got ahead of my self the movie actually starts with a wizard introducing this “wizard’s tale.” I can’t fathom what was being smoked at the studio when that idea was proposed and then accepted.

So, everything is going great in France as fake accent French people stroll about and pad out the 40+ minute runtime with weird animation and laugher.  Esmeralda is shown awkwardly twirling around when she approaches Frollo. Frollo rejects giving her money for her dancing by putting up his palms. On his palms is a birthmark which scares Esmeralda as she says it’s “the mark of evil.”  You know kind of what Esmeralda said in the 1939 version but instead of being something in lines of his hand it’s a big purple evil face, have fun with that and remember to put that on his hand animation team. Anyway Esmeralda walks off and Frollo doesn’t seem to like her.

Quasimodo crowned King of Clowns Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo crowned King of Clowns

Cut to Frollo chilling with King Henry IV, and to the version’s credit they got the proper monarch of France correct just not the correct year of the actual book, I mean to be fair it’s not like the first paragraph of the book or anything, it’s in the second, it’s very hard to miss… Moving on Frollo tells the king that he think Esmeralda is evil and Henry tells him to stop being narrow-minded and muses the Frollo probably still thinks the earth is still flat, which Frollo says it is. Hmm, this is reminding me a lot of the 1939 version…. Henry then gives Esmeralda a coin  just like in the 1939 version, hmm I’m saying that a lot, WEIRD!

Esmeralda then spots an eye looking at her, you know like another version, I’m noticing a bit of a pattern here. Anyway it’s Quasimodo and his dove friends, Quasimodo have doves that follow him around, at least it’s original. The town people chase after Quasimodo and make him dance for their amusement and then name him Kind of the Clowns and for some reason the crown of “King of Clowns” is not a jester hat but a wreath of laurels. WHY?   Frollo then reveals that he is the guardian of Quasimodo and how dare Quasimodo make a fool of Frollo in public again Again? What was the first time?. Less than ten minutes in and I’m so numb, hypothermia take me away.

Esmeralda the tries to go to the King to ask him for help for her people but the guard wants to arrest her because she is a gypsy and she runs away to Notre Dame. The Priest saves her and takes her in and introduces himself as Padre Jean-Paul. Why Spanish? I don’t get that, someone fill me in on why a Priest at Notre Dame de Paris would call him self “Padre?”  Cut to Frollo talking to some important looking guy demanding Quasimodo be whipped for going out in public, to which the important looking guy says no. Then it’s happy New Year and they have fireworks amidst tons of repeat animation and then everyone just leave because who parties all night for a new century, it’s bedtime.

Esmeralda meets Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda meets Phoebus

Padre Jean-Paul then teaches Esmeralda how to pray because the 1939 version did it.  However Frollo comes in and yells that she can’t pray and then says she a witch who steals men’s heart and drives them mad. Literally it’s been two hours since Frollo first saw Esmeralda and he is already obsessed with destroying her. This Frollo makes book Frollo sane.  Esmeralda then goes upstairs and sees Quasimodo and takes off running. Quasimodo pursues her because he want her to know he is her friend. Phoebus then saves Esmeralda and sends Quasimodo to the Bastille. Phoebus and Esmeralda share a moment, he is not a smug jerk in this version.

Just like in the 1939 version, Frollo orders all the Gypsy women by round up so he can find Esmeralda but she gives the guards the slip. Meanwhile, Quasimodo is found guilty and Frollo makes a plea that Esmeralda is a witch and should be punished. Quasimodo is in the stocks begging for water. While that is happening Padre Jean-Paul explains to Esmeralda that Quasimodo is the nicest person and wouldn’t have hurt her. Esmeralda then gives him water but runs off as a guard approaches.

Frollo tries to cover Esmeralda's face Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo tries to cover Esmeralda’s face

The King holds a masked party and Esmeralda shows up to dance to see Phoebus, even though there is a warrant out for her and she knows it. Phoebus and Esmeralda dance and confess their love for each other but then Frollo ruins the party by arresting her.

At her trail she declared a menace to society because she just so darn pretty that poor men just can help themselves with her around and sentence her to death.While is jail, Phoebus tells he is trying to arrange an appeal for her but he also has a plan to save her which is the same plan that Gringoire used in the 1939 version which was printing pamphlets.  However the night before her execution Quasimodo breaks her out of jail with the help of his dove pals.  As Esmeralda and Quasimodo seek into Notre Dame, Frollo confesses to Padre Jean-Paul that Esmeralda is not a witch and he is in love with her and the padre says he can’t forgive Frollo if he does come clean. Frollo then finds out that she has escaped with Quasimodo help.

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus

Now it’s the seventh of January, seven days! All this in seven days? Anyway Phoebus is getting the people on Esmeralda’s side and now know that she escaped jail. Phoebus, the Padre and Frollo all gather at the King’s to discuss Esmeralda. The Kings likes Phoebus’ approach but admits her can’t do anything without evidence. The Padre says Esmeralda is falsely accused then guilts Frollo to admit his lies which he does and the king pardons her. Frollo then rushes to Notre Dame to kill her. Frollo awkwardly attacks Quasimodo and then Quasimodo uses the bells to knock Frollo down the bell tower. Esmeralda and Phoebus reunite, people cheer, End of movie.

 

 

 

Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

I find this version of Esmeralda very interesting. First and foremost they combined her with Fleur de Lys as well as reversing her backstory. Instead of a little French girl named Agnes who grows up with Gypsies and the name Esmeralda, she is instead a Gypsy or in this movie’s case a Cuban born Esmeralda and grew up Agnes as the Governor’s  daughter.  It’s her roles as the rich people’s daughter and fiancee to Phoebus that gives her her Fleur de Lys duo role.  Also it makes Phoebus look spectacularly dumb that he can’t recognize her when she is more free as Esmeralda than as complain-i-pants Agnes.

Mélanie Thierry as Esmeralda/Agnes and Axelle Abbadie as Mme Le Gouverneur, Quasimodo d'el Paris, picture image

Mélanie Thierry as Esmeralda/Agnes and Axelle Abbadie as Mme Le Gouverneur, Quasimodo d’el Paris

That being said Esmeralda/Agnes has a duo personality. As Agnes she is treated like a child and as such she prone to complain and be unhappy. As Esmeralda she doesn’t have that constraint so she act freer and a lot more in control. She doesn’t act sexy but her very found identity does make her seem more free-sprited and seems to attract more men to her. She does still complain but does tries to rally the Cubans to fight social injustice and tries to get Quasimodo to return to his parents. She wants to help Quasimodo because she feels guilty that she was swap with him as children, the parents are just terrible.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

Esmeralda is someways doesn’t come off as a parody but she is in fact probably the smartest character, which compared to her book characterization is a parody since Esmeralda’s naivety and shallowness makes her seem less smart. In this movie she calls Quasimodo out for being in love with her for her looks and says it’s the same as people judging him for being ugly.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

Also speaking of parody, girl can’t dance. Quasimodo asks her to dance, she obliges and proceeds to dance awkwardly. Quasimodo, unsatisfied says she can’t dance and thought she would dance better. She just laughs it off saying something like  “I don’t see why I would dance well.”

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

This version is also one of the few versions, and the only version that isn’t a cheap cartoon, where Quasimodo and Esmeralda get together at the end. I do think it was REALLY rushed that Esmeralda loves him, could be the version I watched, I don’t know but it’s like Quasimodo saves her from Frollo’s cement tub and BOOM, she knows it’s love. Quasimodo still doesn’t say what her likes about her but she is the one who sees his inner beauty and will have to get used to his hunch, bald patch, and weird pointed teeth.

Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

 

I could get mad that another Esmeralda is wearing red but since this movie is comedy/parody, I’m giving it a pass.

Ciara Renée as Esmeralda and Andrew Samonsky as Phoebus Hunchback of Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Ciara Renée as Esmeralda and Andrew Samonsky as Phoebus

On the whole, I like the costumes. There is a lot of good textures and colors that match the spirit of the Disney movie but elevates them to the stage. In particular, I really like  Esmeralda’s main costume and Phoebus’ costume. While I don’t they are accurate to the actual historical times they don’t really have to be. Though I did look up Burgundian fashion/armor and Phoebus might not be too far off, but really it does matter. Esmeralda has a very good re-imaginaing of her Disney look. I find it a bit curious that her hip scarf is devore, which is a velvet that have treated so that fibers are burned away resulting in a pretty pattern. Kind of like this. I find it curious because I have longed suspected that Esmeralda’s original Notre Dame de Paris costume was done with a similar technique so is it an homage or coincidence? I think it’s a coincidence but I like to think it’s an homage.

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda, Papermill production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda, Papermill production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

Her other costumes  are fine too, though I get shade of Ariel’s seashell bra with her red dress in the bodice. Not a criticism, it just something I noticed.

Patrick Page as Frollo singing Hellfire, Papermills Hunchback of Notre Dame, Picture image

Patrick Page as Frollo singing Hellfire, Papermills

However there are aspects of the costume and make-up are I find to be lacking.

Let’s start with Frollo. Poor Frollo, I have not been kind to this version of him. First off Frollo gets like two costume changes.  The black outfit he wears at the start before he takes his vows and during the curtain call. His other costume is his vestments which is his principle costume. He does also wear a black cloak when he goes to the bar. There isn’t so much as issue with his costume as  does fit with his character and profession but they could have done more. His vestment is white with a black stole with a red lining and that is fine but they should made different stoles that cover more of the pure white robe as he  falls deeper into lust because his lust was hardly ever communicated in his acting. Frollo is so cool in this version with minor bits of it here and there because the songs had the lines in the lyrics. Making his costume get a blacker as the show went on would have been a great little visual clue to his psyche as his lust consumes him.

 

Michael Arden as Quasimodo performing Made of Stone Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo performing Made of Stone

 

Kind of a similar issue I had with costumes functioning oddly  was the congregation removing their cowls during Made of Stone. The idea was that that they were aspects of Quasimodo’s mind as well as personified in stone but because they actors  are both the statues and people as other points in the show, taking off the cowl reads more of a costume change and they are going for the stones that are Quasmodo imaginary friends to regular towns people. I would have had them pull up the hoods of the cowls to hid their face i.e. losing the humanity Quasimodo gave them and fading into the darkness as soulless statues of stone. Not throwing off the cowl entirely.     (sorry for the bad picture)

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hey speaking of Quasimodo, his make-up. I have so many issues with his make-up. I get what they were doing, they wanted to drive the point of what makes a monster and what makes a man by having the actor literally transform into Quasimodo on stage. This is a gimmick and it serves to make it seem like the audience wouldn’t get the point and ultimetly making the Disney movie more mature and taking it audience more seriously.

Also this is not a great transformation, the actor applies like two lines of face paint to his face and that is his facial deformity. Honesty, I don’t have a issue with making the make-up minimal and having the actor do more of the work to convey Quasimodo’s deformity, that is what Notre Dame de Paris did and they had a much more minimal of a  style and they still be more lines on Quasimodo’s face, making that make-up more elaborate. Also it’s not super impressive from a stagecraft perceptive to have a grand set and lines for make-up for a character that is supposed to have facial deformity. Maybe had they added a little bit more to that real time transformation, like an eye protusion prothetic it would have been a little more impressive.  Der Glockner’s make-up wasn’t anything amazing and yet it looks like the Phantom of the Opera comparatively but that wasn’t the point they wanted to be minimal, (or save on the make-up budget.)

The issue of “minimalism” is something that will get discussed in the  next post but it seems like there is a solid disconnect of the make-up, the costumes and the sets. For the most part the sets and the costume go together fine. They are not what would considered overly grand and elaborate  but they  richly colored and textured but the make-up is minimal? It’s just weird especially for a character who is known for a facial deformity? That is like making the Phantom of the Opera’s deformirt look like a sunburn, oh wait they did that.

It was a decent thought for Quasimodo’s make-up but it was misguided and lacking in execution. It’s like they needed to pick a style and commit, not have aspects of the production to be one style and other aspects be another.

 

And remember you can still vote in the poll, so tell your friends.

What should be the next version?

  • Quasimodo d'el Paris (53%, 9 Votes)
  • The Dingo Version (35%, 6 Votes)
  • Other (PLEASE say what it is in the comments) (12%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 17

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LAST THREE SONGS!

Michael Arden as Quasimodo & Ciara Renée as Esmeralda during the finale, La Jolla Hunchack of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo & Ciara Renée as Esmeralda during the finale, La Jolla Hunchack of Notre Dame

While the City Sleeps – A bridge song. Maybe it a slight bitterness in my mood, I’m not perfect in some of criticisms but I really do not care for the choir singing near operatics with the nasal singing of the chorus or rather the congregation. That nasal tone is very musical and Broadway but it two styles that do not mesh well together.

As it is, it’s a bridge song getting the musical from Someday to Made of Stone. But styles of singing just didn’t work, the congregation is capable of singing not as nasally so I’m not sure why they did here.

Made of Stone – I don’t want to seem jaded, though to be fair I am but this version of Made of Stone is very much the same as the German version. Is that bad? No. I just can rave about this song as much. That being said it’s well done. Michael Arden gives great performance. He pulls off a good combination of anger and pathos that the song requires. Though in the stage show at least for the La Jolla performance, I wish he was just a little bit anger but it could have just been that show, that night.

I do think it’s weird that Quasimodo asks what his own mind know of him. Quasimodo is crazy. Also I don’t know if I get why the congregation take off their cowl things? I think something more akin to pulling hoods over their faces would have been better, like they lose the spark and individuality Quasimodo’s mind gave them. But what do I know about stage craft.

Though I still maintain I liked Made of Stone before Someday better. There was just more power there but they clearly wanted the the epic Latin music that the Disney movie had hence the switch.

Finale – OK, before I can even start with the song, I need to discuss this insanity of logic in the script. One of Esmeralda’s crime was stabbing Phoebus. No musical, I told you can not do that. I might have forgiven you if you let it alone but you bring it back? I know the book did it, it made sense (somewhat) in the book but you can’t do it here. Frollo sentenced Phoebus to die in public, then he stabs him, still in public though albeit in some confusion, then blames Esmeralda and THAT is one her crimes she is to die for? THE FUCK? I know you wanted to be like book more but you need to think about logically. There was enough to convict her, witchcraft was enough. Just so much NO here. And that was just one line.

Aside from that one line which seems like it shouldn’t matter but does, how is the Finale? This one is a bit of a roller coaster. There are parts I really like and other parts that I find meh to other parts that are just left me wondering if musical didn’t really getting the original  source material i.e the book.

Before I say what parts of the song that were good and which ones missed the mark, let’s just discuss the song sturture. It’s a frankenstein song as in it’s made up of other songs from the show. Like Made of Stone, Someday, On Top of the World, Esmeralda, Sanctuary, Out There and Bells of Notre Dame. This is the same case of the German version so it’s not a negative. they all work together.

So what parts did I like? I liked the song after Frollo died, in particular the congregation singing about the world to Frollo’s part of Out There. That part was lovely and so bittersweet, made me tear up a little bit. Also the lovely female Latin solo was quite nice. The ending is the best part of this song hands down.

The meh parts were the parts lifted from the Disney movie which is little sad since it’s the Sanctuary/ fight scene. It just didn’t translate that well to stage show. I can see why Notre Dame de Paris didn’t bother. Speaking of Notre Dame de Paris, Frollo has the same powers to suspend Sanctuary or rather negate, still same difference. I will say that the molten lead was cool in the stage show.

The part that leaves me questioning if the people in charge get the book was Frollo’s death. Though I will say I did like that response to Frollo saying “You don’t want to hurt me” and the congregation saying “Yes” in a creepy whipser, that I liked. Ok, so this part hurts my brain trying to figure it out. On the one hand Quaismodo throws Frollo off the building and he utters “There lies all that have ever loved.” But unlike the book where Quasimodo throws Frollo in a fit of rage for laughing at Esmeralda’s death here in this version he seems more intent on killing him, saying the wicked should not go unpunished. Quaismodo was quite murderous here. It just didn’t sit well with me. I get the whole scene was a call back to start of show when Frollo was singing the wicked shall not go unpunished but still.  Maybe if Frollo had been more crazy at this point and laughed. This version he so cool and calm that it just weird. Where is this guy’s crazy lust?  It’s not Frollo.

But hey at least like in the book everyone but Phoebus dies even if it’s super unclear that Quasimodo takes Esmeralda and lies down to die. If you don’t really think about things too much and just let this Finale wash over you, it’s great and very powerful at the end. Though I would note the riddle of what makes and Monster and what makes a man is technically the moral albeit vague. The ending for me was the best part of the finale.

Still more to say on the cast album.

Second Act and we’re back to three songs.

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

Entr’acte – There isn’t much to say on this on a contextual level as it just a the choir singing a melody of the songs as while as music in latin. That being said, it’s gorgeous. I really love Out There in latin. It’s the prefect capsule of the Disney score of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Flight into Egypt – Another New Song for the production. This song differs between the La Jolla version and the cast album i.e. the Papermills version as the remove a verse from the La Jolla cast and replace it with a verse about the Amulet map. In the La Jolla version Esmeralda gives him the map after the song.

In a way this song replaces A Guy Like you, in that Quasimodo’s friends offer him encouragement by way of a song. There is also the little matter of both song give Quasimodo the idea that Esmeralda Like-likes him. As much as I don’t want to defend A Guy Like you, I’m going to. In a A Guy Like you the Gargoyles plant that idea into Quasimodo’s head, whether they are Quasimodo imaginary friends or not is a mute point. In this song Quasimodo likens protecting Esmeralda to being like a bride. I think the propping up of Quasimodo’s hope by his pals and then the having his hope dashed is more heart-breaking than a mild thought across his mind especially where Quasimodo has inability to believe anyone could love him, it hard to take in that he would reach that conclusion. Unless it really was just a passing fantasy but that makes the heartbreak and the pain less believable.  I mean the song is just encouraging Quasimodo to save her like a beheaded Saint. That being said Flight into Egypt is better than A Guy Like you. A Guy Like you is really mean-spited.

One thing that weird is that Quasimodo doesn’t know the name of Saint Aphrodisius. I mean it’s played for a laugh but for  a guy whose life was Notre Dame and studied the religion it’s just weird. Though maybe Quasimodo was friends with the Stained Glass windows. I will say that way they did  Saint Aphrodisius in the La Jolla show with the singer’s head going off and on was the best bit of stage craft so far.

As the Song goes, it’s pretty good. It’s a nice melody and ties into Notre Dame well.

The Court of Miracles –  The tempo on this song has been slowed down. This makes it creepier but far less fun than the Disney version.  They also have replaced a lot of lyrics from the movie. For instance the line from the movie “We find you totally innocent, which is the worst crime of all.” with “We have to protect at all costs our secret; it’s our lives or yours, so you’re going to hang.” From mu understanding this could be because any reference to Frollo being a judge has been taken out and in that line Clopin was mocking Frollo, so they replaced it. I also miss the line where Clopin asked if Phoebus and Quasimodo have any last words and they being gag muff something and Clopin says “That’s what they all say.” Now it’s “Didn’t think so.” Again they removed Clopin mocking judges and such.

Beat for beat the song is the same I just didn’t care for this rendition.

One thing before I start the songs, I will discuss the La Jolla performance a little when I’m done with the album because the scene prior to this was so much of a combo of the 1939 version and the Disney version plus the scene after Top of the World is such a massive change from the movie that I have to talk about the show itself even if the show was changed from the La Jolla version and the Papermill version.  Also there are one two songs this week for dramatic reasons like Heaven’s Light and Hellfire are meant as a set.

Ciara Renee and Micheal Arden in the Jolla Production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Ciara Renee and Micheal Arden in the La Jolla Production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Top of the World – This song is from the original German version. It’s a very nice little song about viewing things from a different preceptive and Quasimodo and Esmeralda bonding. In the German version, the Gargoyles sing the part where the Chrous of Quasismodo’s imaginary nameless pals sing. There is a fundamental difference between this version and the German version, this version is a lot slower paced and seems more serious. The German version had a more upbeat, faster and light take on this song. This could because the Gargoyles were the comic relief and this version has distanced itself from the silliness of the movie to be more serious like the book. Though the book did have some funny parts.

I mean the song is pretty enough but I do prefer the German version even with the Gargoyles.

Tavern Song (Thai Mol Piyas) – This song is another original song to this musical and can I just say in listening to the album first I was very confused of how this song came after Top of the World but it makes some sense with the show. Anyway this song takes place at the Pomme d’Eve* which is from the book where Esmeralda and Phoebus have their meeting which Frollo ruined with his stabbing Phoebus. Instead of all that it just seems like Frollo was stalking her   for a few months**,  hears her in bar dancing and flirting, in the show she kisses Phoebus, and Frollo gets more hot and bothered than he already was.

This song is very fun. It has a very distinct sound from the rest of the songs (so far) though Frollo’s part is sounds more like Out There rather the Sanctuary leitmotif, which is ironic since he is looking inside a buidling.

Oddly I really like the whisper singing of this song.  It’s a fun upbeat songs, I really enjoyed it.

One Source said that Thai Mol Piyas it means “And we Drink wine” in Romani.

 

Side of Note – This is the 130oth Blog Post!

*Correction, Pomme d’Eve was not where Esmeralda and Phoesbus met. They met at a Falourdel’s. Pomme d’Ever is a a better name though.

**Frollo first saw Esmeralda on January 6th and the song mentions “Winter is dying” which means it has to be mid March at the earliest. But also this is a very subtle nod to the book. In Book 7 Chapter 4 of the novel, Hugo makes mention of the date, March 29th. And this chapter occurs about the time of the Pomme d’Eve scene.  So kudos Musical.

 

So many side notes on this post.

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda, Papermill production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda, Papermill production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

Topsy Turvy Part 1–  Topsy Turvy  is broken up  into two parts to allow two songs to happen as a mean to introduce Phoebus and Esmeralda. Though technically Phoebus makes his first appearance in this song where we learn that last name of his. More on that soon.

The first 30 second is pretty much identical to the movie. However then Quasimodo sings a bit along with some new lyrics sung by the Chorus. His part has a slight reprise to Out There to it. Also the whole of Quasimodo part  feels very musical-y  and also rhyming Now with Now? You guys could have done better.

The Clopin’s a part start and it’s again it’s identical to the movie, though I do admit I prefer Paul Kandel’s sining. The song again shifts to Phoebus appearing in the crowd after The sixth of January line or “Januervy.” And he pretty much announces himself to everyone, Frollo and Jehan did the same thing In Bells so I guess it just a thing the musical does though I don’t really care for people narrating themselves, though the chorus joins in to tells us that “he has a haunted look in his eyes.”  Anyway this part leads in to the next song…

Rest and Recreation – This song was in the German version and now it’s back. It uses Phoebus’ march from the movie.  Much like in the movie Phoebus is back from the Front.   But you know I have to ask what war? What Front? Phoebus says that he has been gone four years and seems a bit shaken up from it as they  mention cannon fodder.  I’m no expert on European Wars but France wasn’t in wars in 1482. The wars that France was in that were the closest to 1482 were The War of Castilian Succession  of 1475 to 1479 and The Burgundian War of 1474 to 1477. It could be a simple matter that the musical doesn’t take place in 1482 except they say it did. Song mentions a siege and bodies in a trench which are probably more like hot words than actually referring to a war or battle. I can deal with unnamed War in the Disney movie but here it’s a harder pill to swallow since the musical is truing to be more like the book. I mean did the say which war it was in musical?  But this backstory takes me out of the song.

So back to the song. Phoebus also mentions that he’s on furlough but then he gets his new promotion as Captain of the Cathedral Guard. I’m going to real with you guys, that is the stupidest thing. I get what they are doing. Phoebus has to be Frollo’s minion for his character arc and Frollo is now a Priest so the tidiest way to handle this is to make Phoebus the Captain of the Cathedral Guard. BUT Cathedrals didn’t have private guards. This even goes against the book where the Sanity of the Church was respected, even Disney movie Frollo respected it.

Anyway  the I haven’t really discussed the song yet. Much like in German version Rest and Recreation tries to amalgamate book Phoebus with movie Phoebus. Book Phoebus was womanizer and movie Phoebus is nobel and gallant. Since Phoebus is described as having “a dashing manner and bold swagger” we know he got those personality down but the song gives us a reason why Phoebus wants the ladies, because he been away at the unnamed Fantasy war. Despite the war and Notre Dame guard the song is successful at give the blending of Phoebus’s characterization and setting up his character in this version.

Rhythm of the Tambourine – This song is Esmeralda’s introduction song which is also her dance number during the festival. It is also the first new song of this musical version. Judging from the lines Phoebus, Frollo and Quasimodo sing about “who is she” I’m going to guess Esmeralda and Quasimodo didn’t have their little moment where Quasimodo crashes into dressing room, but I could wrong, I’m probably wrong.

Rhythm of the Tambourine is very staccato which I would guess is for said tambourine but it does nothing for me. Also is just me or is this song reminiscent  of Carol of the Bells? Wonder if that was one purpose?   I do like her attitude on dance that it just for fun as she ask “What can it hurt?” Such delightful irony. We also get a Belle moment as like I said Phoebus, Frollo and Quasimodo sing about her. Frollo likens her to a devil, classic him. Phoebus and Quasimodo liken her to an angel but Phoebus goes on to say that she dances with Fire.

It’s decent song and clearly gets across Esmeralda’s love for dance which she REALLY didn’t have in the Disney movie as well as the guys views on her.

 

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 picture image

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.