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Hunchback of Notre Dame (The)


Musique: Alan Menken
Paroles: Stephen Schwartz
Livret: James Lapine

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The musical premiered in 1999 in Berlin, Germany as Der Glöckner von Notre Dame. It was produced by Walt Disney Theatrical, the company's first musical to premiere outside the U.S. It ran for three years, becoming one of Berlin's longest-running musicals. The English-language musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame opened at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, California on October 26, 2014 and ran until December 14, 2014. Subsequently, the show went on to open on March 15, 2015 at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. The show closed on April 5, 2015, after it was announced that the show would not move to Broadway.

Acte 1
In 1482 Paris, Clopin, an elderly gypsy beggar narrates the origin of the titular hunchback ("Die Glocken Notre Dames" - "The Bells of Notre Dame"). A group of gypsies sneak illegally into Paris, but are ambushed by the Minister of Justice, Claude Frollo, and his guards. One of the gypsy women attempts to flee with her deformed baby, but Frollo catches her and kills her outside of Notre Dame. He also tries to kill the baby, but the cathedral's Archdeacon intervenes and accuses him of murdering the gypsy woman. Frollo accepts the Archdeacon's offer to raise the child as his son, naming him Quasimodo.
Twenty years later, Quasimodo develops into a kind yet isolated young man who dreams of seeing life outside the bell tower. A trio of living stone gargoyles: Victor, Hugo, and Laverne serve as Quasimodo's only company and friends. Despite Frollo's warnings that he would be shunned for his deformity, the gargoyles urge him to disobey Frollo, ("Zuflucht" - "Sanctuary"). and Quasimodo decides to go out for just one day ("Draußen" - "Out There").
While the Parisians continue their preparations for the festival, the gypsies prepare to attend the festival in their hideout, the Court of Miracles ("Tanz auf dem Seil" - "Balancing Act"). Their attention is taken by a newcomer, a young gypsy dancer named Esmeralda. Meanwhile, Phoebus of Frollo's guard arrives in Paris excited about his new promotion as its captain ("Ein bisschen Freude" - "Rest and Recreation"). He flirts with a young girl but is suddenly interrupted by a fleeing gypsy accused of theft. The gypsy pleads innocence but Frollo arrives and orders his soldiers to arrest the gypsy. Frollo tells Phoebus that the city has become overrun by gypsies and that he plans to find the Court of Miracles and eliminate them all.
As the Festival begins ("Drunter drüber" - "Topsy Turvy"), Quasimodo attends the festival and he is celebrated for his bizarre appearance, only to be humiliated by the crowd after Frollo's men start a riot. Frollo refuses to help Quasimodo, but Esmeralda intervenes, frees the hunchback, and uses a magic trick to disappear. Frollo confronts Quasimodo and sends him back inside the cathedral.
Phoebus is refuses to arrest her for alleged witchcraft inside Notre Dame and has her confined to the cathedral. Esmeralda, encouraged by the Archdeacon, offers a prayer to God to help her and the other outcasts ("Hilf den Verstoß'nen" - "God Help the Outcasts"). Meanwhile, Frollo orders Phoebus to post a guard at every door to ensure that Esmeralda does not escape.
Esmeralda finds and befriends Quasimodo to the bell tower and is captivated by the view of the city ("Hoch über der Welt" - "On Top of the World"). Quasimodo helps her escape Notre Dame out of gratitude for defending him. Esmeralda entrusts Quasimodo with a pendant containing a map to the Court of Miracles. Quasimodo expresses his feelings, as he has been touched by Esmeralda's kindness ("Das Licht des Himmels" - "Heaven’s Light"). Meanwhile, Frollo soon develops lustful feelings for Esmeralda and, upon realizing them, he begs the Virgin Mary to save him from her "spell" to avoid eternal damnation ("Das Feuer der Hölle" - "Hellfire").
After discovering that Esmeralda escaped, Frollo instigates a citywide manhunt for her which involves setting fire to countless houses in his way. Phoebus is appalled by Frollo's evil reputation and defies him. Frollo sentences him to death. Phoebus is briefly struck by an arrow and falls into a river but Esmeralda rescues him. ("Esmeralda").

Acte 2
The soldiers continue searching the city ("Trommeln in der Stadt" - "City Under Siege"). Esmeralda tells Phoebus to seek refuge at Notre Dame while she returns to the Court of Miracles. Meanwhile, the gargoyles convince Quasimodo that Esmeralda finds him romantically intriguing, and they reassure him about her safety ("Ein Mann wie du" - "A Guy Like You"). The Archdeacon brings Phoebus to the bell tower and Phoebus, knowing Quasimodo to be a friend of Esmeralda's, asks Quasimodo to hide him.
Frollo returns to Notre Dame later that night and discovers that Quasimodo helped Esmeralda escape. He bluffs to Quasimodo saying that he knows about the Court of Miracles and that he intends to attack at dawn. After Frollo leaves, Phoebus comes out of hiding and asks Quasimodo to help him find the Court of Miracles and warn Esmeralda. Quasimodo refuses to leave the cathedral again but Phoebus and the gargoyles teach Quasimodo the value of devotion and selflessness ("Weil du liebst" - "Out of Love").
Using Esmeralda's amulet as their guide, Quasimodo and Phoebus find the Court of Miracles to warn the gypsies. Esmeralda and Phoebus decide to leave the city together while Quasimodo, heartbroken, watches Esmeralda leave with the man she truly loves ("Weil du liebst" - "Out of Love" (Reprise)). However, Frollo follows them and captures the gypsies present.
Esmeralda rejects Frollo's advances exchange for becoming his mistress. Tied up in the bell tower, Quasimodo refuses to help and tells the gargoyles to leave him ("Wie aus Stein" - "Made of Stone"). As dawn approaches, Esmeralda awaits her execution in the dungeon with Phoebus hoping that one day the world will be a better place ("Einmal" - "Someday").
Frollo prepares to burn Esmeralda at the stake, but Quasimodo rescues her and brings her to the cathedral. Phoebus then frees himself and the gypsies and rallies the citizens of Paris against Frollo and his men, who attempt to break into the cathedral. Quasimodo calls upon the saints and the gargoyles before pouring molten lead onto the streets to ensure no one enters but Frollo himself successfully breaks in. In the cathedral, Esmeralda thanks Quasimodo for being a good friend and dies from smoke inhalation. Frollo arrives and, after asking Quasimodo if she is dead, tells the hunchback that they are finally free of her poison. Quasimodo pushes Frollo over the balcony's edge. Encouraged by Antoine, Quasimodo throws Frollo to his death in the molten lead. The gargoyles comfort Quasimodo and tell him the world is full of good as well as evil. The citizens watch as Quasimodo carries Esmeralda's body through the square with Phoebus by his side. Clopin appears again and asks what makes a monster and what makes a man ("Finale Ultimo" - "Grand Finale").

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