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Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame on Stage

Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

Notes by Carol de Giere

West and East Coast Premieres - a new Alan Menken/Stephen Schwartz score

Disney lyricist Stephen SchwartzDisney composer Alan MenkenUpdated August, 2014: Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken have completed the last version of the score for the stage adaptation of Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. With a new book by Peter Parnell, this is a signficantly revised English language version of the show that ran for three years in Berlin, Germany starting in 1999.

The first American production of the show will premiere October 28 - December 7, 2014 at the La Jolla Playhouse near San Diego, California. Menken and Schwartz have been working on the new score over the years. The Hunchback of Notre Dame at La Jolla

The show will have an east coast premiere at Paper Mill Playhouse March 4 - 29, 2015. Paper Mill - The Hunchback

A workshop production was held in January of 2014. The upcoming productions will include changes made since the workshop. Stephen Schwartz is pleased to be working with his son Scott Schwartz, the show's director. Stephen commented after the January workshop, "I always love working with Scott, and this time was no exception. I feel he always delivers the show I have in my head, but then he does something more with it that I couldn't have imagined."

Stephen Schwartz biography Defying Gravity

Have you wondered how the Alan Menken - Stephen Schwartz collaboration works? What comes first? Where do they get their ideas for songs? Read Carol de Giere's Defying Gravity for the story of Hunchback's development for film and much more. The book also includes writing tips from both Schwartz and Menken. See www.DefyingGravityTheBook.com

STAY INFORMED: The Schwartz Scene newsletter - Subscribe to The Schwartz Scene to stay up-to-date with the activities of Stephen Schwartz.

Updated January 24, 2014

Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame stage production will receive its USA premiere at the La Jolla PLayhouse October 28 through December 7, 2014. The Playhouse is in La Jolla, California, just north of San Diego. The musical team responsible for the animated feature score continue with this stage version: Alan Menken (music) and Stephen Schwartz (lyrics). The new book is by Peter Parnell. Scott Schwartz directs and Josh Bergasse choreographs. The La Jolla production is made possible through a special arrangement with Disney.

According to Schwartz, the new production "is a re-imagining of the material for the stage, using elements of the movie and the 1999 German versions, but also many new and extensively revised scenes and songs."

Update December, 2013

After Stephen Schwartz finished lyrics for the scores for Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney movies in the mid 1990s, he and composer Alan Menken contributed to an ambitious German stage production of the musical in Berlin that ran for 3 years.

Now Disney Theatrical is completing an English version for stage. The company will hold a developmental lab in New York City January 6 - 17, 2014, according to a casting notice. This lab will feature a new book by The Cider House Rules playwright Peter Parnell and will be helmed by Scott Schwartz.

The January lab will be a departure from the earlier stage adaptation, according to a Playbill.com notice. It Disney as saying they have an eye toward a possible regional theatre production. The epic tale is set in late 15th century Paris. The Hunchback of Notre Dame investigates "what makes a monster and what makes a man," as Schwartz wrote in one of his lyrics.

Update September, 2012

From Stephen Schwartz's update for The Schwartz Scene newsletter:

album cover - Hunchback - Berlin"...The other writing project I am currently involved in is a possible re-working of the stage version of the Disney animated feature THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, for which I wrote lyrics to music by Alan Menken. This is also in early development, but if we go forward, it looks as if Alan and I will be writing some new songs for it. As I've said before, I very much enjoyed working on both the movie and the German stage production from 1999, and I love Alan's music for it and have always thought it his best score, so if this moves ahead, I think it could be fulfilling...."

PHOTOS: Disney composer and lyricist team, Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. (Photos by Daniel Lam)

Updated March 15, 2011

Along with a host of other projects lined up for Disney Theatrical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is finally moving towards an English language stage production. The soaring Alan Menken score with lyrics by Stephen Schwartz reaches well beyond the animated movie version in terms of scope of the story and number of songs. A German language version of the show was already a hit, running for three years in Berlin, beginning in 1999. The forthcoming American production will, according to reports, be helmed by Schwartz's son, Scott Schwartz (Golda's Balcony)

ABOUT THE SHOW

The hunch that Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame story would make a great musical proved more successful and enduring than Disney even expected. Although their animated feature film released worldwide in 1996 faired less well than other animated films, it attracted a fan following and rose again in altered form as an adult-oriented stage production in Berlin, Germany. Der Glockner Von Notre Dame became the longest running musical in that city (1999-2002).

U.S. fans begged for stage production to be translated back into English and run in America, but Disney had its commitments to Beauty and the Beast on Broadway and others shows. Plans were then made for a made-for-TV movie.

Show lyricist, Stephen Schwartz, has previously expressed hopes for an English version that can be produced in regional theatres, colleges, etc. "I would indeed be disappointed if the show were never done again, as it has always been one of my favorites musically."

Music CD - In German

Hear Alan Menken's most lush score. Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame -- Berlin stage production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

Buy Disney's Der Gloeckner Von Notre Dame

USA:

  or from Amazon UK

Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame score - Recordings Compact Disk icon

Disney's Hunchback of Notre DameTo hear the original songs MP3s adn CD: The Hunchback Of Notre Dame: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack . Check back later for English Language recordings of the forthcoming stage production.

Songs include

  • The Bells of Notre Dame--Stephen Schwartz's lyrics cover the backstory for the film.
  • Out There--Quasimodo's song of longing
  • Topsy Turvy--festival song
  • God Help the Outcasts--Esmeralda's ballad
  • Heaven's Light/Hellfire--Quasimodos brief song of hope; Frollo's song of longing.
  • A Guy Like You--a comic number for the gargoyles; Others

New Songs added to the stage production

Stephen Schwartz has described songs added for the Berlin production as:

  • "Balancing Act" (a song for Clopin, Esmeralda and the Gypsies);
  • "Rest and Recreation" (introducing Phoebus);
  • "Top of the World" (a song for Esmeralda to Quasimodo, with the Gargoyles also giving Quasimodo contrapuntal advice);
  • "Esmeralda" (end of act one);
  • "City Unde Siege" (opening of act two);
  • "Out of Love" (a song for Phoebus to Quasimodo, which becomes a duet between them as they search for Esmeralda);
    and
  • "Made of Stone" (a song Quasimodo sings to the Gargoyles).

Der Glockner CD - A Review

See an elaborate review by Edward Cox of the German cast recording for rich details about the songs for the staged version of this show.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame animated film

Visit our page for the movie: The Hunchback of Notre Dame animated feature film