Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame

Melanie Pino-Elliott
Swing
joined:1/29/12
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/29/12 at 11:38pm
I've heard Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame is coming to Broadway this summer. Does anyone have any more specific info on this? About the casting, for example--when, where, who?
blaxx
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/05
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/29/12 at 11:40pm
Did you happen to hear this from someone who sells signed playbills?
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
bwaybby
Chorus Member
joined:6/22/08
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/30/12 at 12:24am
Josh Young posted on his facebook something about it a while back...can't remember what it was...I've never seen the Disney show...animated? any good?
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/30/12 at 01:06am
I wish this were true, but I seriously doubt it...

The animated film is truly schizophrenic (you can literally see where they were allowed to go "more mature" and then where they were forced to shove in some cartoony gargoyle humour and anachronistic jokes to remain safe), but it does have a lot to recommend it--some moving parts, absolutely gorgeous animation, and one of Menken/Schwartz' best scores (song and underscore--I'd gladly burn all copies of A Guy Like You though).

The original stage version was directed by James Lapine in Germany and I guess was a success and ran 3 (4?) years with some at the time innovative staging. It also managed to use a more tragic ending slightly closer to the Hugo novel (though really any real comparisons to the novel are worthless IMHO), and tone down the humour. The popular belief, which I subscribe to, is Disney was worried about bringing it to the US (or the UK) largely because the tone was so dark, and while the film was a box office hit, it never reached the level of their fairy tales or other films. Michael Eisner was pushing for a TV movie adaptation of the musical, but all talks of that went out the window when he left the company.

The new material is all there in English (I believe the German cast, which was largely American, actually first rehearsed in English in fact), and I'd love a recording at any rate. It seems a shame to have nothing happen with it when Disney has done several far less interesting stage musicals, but from their point of view I do get the hesitation.

Here's the 6 minute opening sequence/song from the movie which gives a good example of the stronger elements of the film (most of the songs are on youtube) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cHCkS6J0IM
Justin D
Broadway Legend
joined:4/11/05
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/30/12 at 07:56am
I can;t see that a show that undoubdly be as complex as this would need to be would be aboe to land by the summer time with out bwing announced and publicised by now. Sets need to be huilt, the show needs to be cast, a theatre needs to be secured, all in 6 months? I doubt it is true.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27199361@N08/ Phantom at the Royal Empire Theatre
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/30/12 at 08:29am
The most I would hope for by this Summer would be a reading or something... Besides, if that was something Josh Young posted, wouldn't he hope to still be playing Judas this Summer in JCS?
EponineAmneris
Broadway Legend
joined:5/25/06
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/30/12 at 09:20am
This seems a bit strange and rushed... but I hope it's true
"TO LOVE ANOTHER PERSON IS TO SEE THE FACE OF GOD"- LES MISERABLES--- "THERE'S A SPECIAL KIND OF PEOPLE KNOWN AS SHOW PEOPLE... WE'RE BORN EVERY NIGHT AT HALF HOUR CALL!"--- CURTAINS
madbrian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/1/06
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/30/12 at 09:32am
I've never let a show's unlikely prospects stop me from casting it, and I don't plan to begin now. I can't see anyone but Sara Ramirez as Esmerelda.
"It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson
evic
Leading Actor
joined:3/5/04
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/30/12 at 11:23am
Ramirez is 20 years too old and 100 lbs overweight to play a dancing gypsy. Her stomping around the stage would take down Notre Dame! There is gorgeous music in the Argentine version done in Luna Park several years ago. "Como No Voy A Sonar Con El" is a beautiful song. You can find it on You Tube.
Tsao5
Stand-by
joined:2/7/06
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/30/12 at 12:57pm
Probably not for the summer. Later, maybe. If Josh Young posted anything, he might have been approached for consideration for Quasimodo perhaps. Dunno.

The role was originated by the wonderful Drew Sarich, but he was 23 at the time. He might not still be right for it if it went ahead. Though he has a very young sounding voice and is a Darling of the business. So it would be nice if 12 years later he were to play the part.......if it ever happened.

There were a variety of factors that led to Glockner not coming to Broadway. Some were financial, some were artistic, some were timing, some had to do with marketing. The list goes on.

If the show lands on broadway someday, it will not be the German production. That production was too big, too dark and lacked charm, though it had a good score.

In fact there were only 6 or 7 Americans in the show. The rest were from other parts of the world including Australia, Russia, Japan, Hungary, England, Germany and the list goes on and on.

The show was first learned in English (but for only a week so Michael Eisener could see a rough sing through). Then, the cast started to learn it in German.

Rehearsals were in New York City for a month, then for 2 more months in Germany.

Reviews basically liked it's darkness and departure from a traditional Disney show, but thought it was confused as to what kind of show it was.
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/30/12 at 01:30pm
I saw the German production in Berlin in 1999 and there was a lot of potential there. The additions to the score were lovely and fit perfectly into the existing material. Costumes and performances were wonderful, though I really didn't like the staging. While it was very high-tech, it got monotonous quite quickly. Twenty minutes into the show and you've pretty much seen all there is to see involving blocks and projections. The first act finale ended in a very awkward place and the sudden reappearance of Esmeralda AFTER her death scene didn't make much sense. The choreography for Topsy Turvy was rooted in German folk dancing, so that would definitely need some changing. And I could not understand why Drew Sarich was directed to perform almost the entirety of Out There on his knees in that massive space. But with new staging, it really could be a hit. There was absolutely nothing in the book any darker than in The Lion King, so I don't see why that would be an issue at all. It sounds like a convenient go-to excuse that keeps getting regurgitated, but having seen the film and the stage production, I don't see it at all. Is it the Hellfire sequence? Just as dark as the Nazi imagery in Be Prepared. Quasimodo's murderous rage? Fight and death of Scar. Death of Esmerelda (in the stage production)? Death of Mufasa. Am I missing something?

I do remember there was a scandal at the time with the production. Apparently, the original Esmerelda was a German pop star and when the previews panned her performance, she was so mortified by the scathing reviews, she never showed up to perform again. Thus, I saw her replacement.





"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
Updated On: 1/30/12 at 01:30 PM
moncruzz
Chorus Member
joined:10/20/09
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/30/12 at 02:19pm
for some reason the idea of Lea Michele sounds fantastic, yet cracks me up at the same time. haha
TheHappyPhantom
Featured Actor
joined:8/25/11
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/30/12 at 07:46pm
This show is years over due! It was always my favorite Disney film, really beautiful, and I hope they bring it.
Tsao5
Stand-by
joined:2/7/06
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/30/12 at 08:48pm
@ Mister Matt.

There was no scandal. Really.

Local Judy Weiss (who had done some small musicals and had a pop song) was the original Esmeralda. She did get crappy reviews and people agreed she was not very right for the role (not so sexy and lacking charisma) but she finished her contract.

The German producers felt strongly that they needed a German in that role, as many of the other leads were NOT German. Drew Sarich and the late Steve Barton were American, Fred Lycke (Phoebus) was Swedish, The Loni character was Danish, the Jason Alexander gargoyle was Hungarian. Only Clopin and the other gargoyle were German.

That role needed a fiery sexy spit-fire actress to pull off a not so well written role.

Didn't happen in that production.

The actress who was her first cover and took over for her was from the Philippines and while, perhaps an improvement, still was lacking. She was a legit soprano.



Justin D
Broadway Legend
joined:4/11/05
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/31/12 at 07:51am
It's one of my favourite scores, but as for the darkness, yes the concept is no darker than lion king, but I think the issue is that unlike the cartoon, where everyone has a happy ending, this is changed, with esmeralda dying and Quasimodo murdering Frolo, not Frolo falling to his death almost by accident. Perhaps the powers that be thought kids would go hopeing to see the same story as in the cartoon with every one happy at the end only to be horified that the heroine dies and the hero deliberately murders the villian.

Personally I prefered this darker more realistic ending, but the ending of the actual show was a bit confusing with all the characters coming back onstage to sing the finale. I think what they were trying to do (but were unsuccessful) was th stage the whole show as if it is a play being staged by Clopin (old clopin) so at the end it was like: so now that this has happened, the moral is ..... and everyone comes back on to finish it off. But I dont think it worked very well and I dont think it needed the whole "let me tell you a story" bit.

I also don't think the staging would seem as ground breaking now as it did back then, although, some thing would be better, with the advancement of LED technology, there would be no need to project everything onto the cubes, they can now be all made up of LED blocks, so you won;t get the problems they had of all the scenes being so dark and people casting shadows onto the blocks.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27199361@N08/ Phantom at the Royal Empire Theatre
rosscoe(au)
Broadway Legend
joined:8/20/05
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/31/12 at 08:06am
I just need a full english recording of the show, so yes please.
Well I didn't want to get into it, but he's a Satanist. Every full moon he sacrifices 4 puppies to the Dark Lord and smears their blood on his paino. This should help you understand the score for Wicked a little bit more. Tazber's: Reply to Is Stephen Schwartz a Practicing Christian
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/31/12 at 09:05am
Tsao - I guess I was given bad information. My German roommates at the time told me it was big news when she didn't return to the production. I don't know how they knew about it otherwise, but maybe it was tabloid fodder.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
Melanie Pino-Elliott
Swing
joined:1/29/12
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/31/12 at 03:44pm
No, I was just looking up Alan Menken-related things and came across this:
http://broadwayworld.com/article/BWW...20101115_page2

JulesReverie
Stand-by
joined:1/22/05
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/31/12 at 05:11pm
Frollo: Terrance Mann
Quasimodo: Michael Arden


Updated On: 2/2/12 at 05:11 PM
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 1/31/12 at 08:47pm
Another thing that made the musical different from the film is the portrayal of Quasimodo. In the movie, he is a sensitive and artistic soul, whose broken and deformed body does not match the fact that in personality and mind, he is more of a prince and a gentleman than Phoebus the boorish soldier, or Frollo the corrupt man of the cloth.

In the play, Quasimodo is (as many of his traditional depictions) mentally retarded as well as deformed, and only when he sings do we see the flashes of brilliance that characterized his whole character in the film.
Here I Am
Broadway Star
joined:8/25/05
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 2/1/12 at 10:15pm
This NEEDS to happen! It cries out to be on the stage. I'd love to see Eden Espinosa as Esmeralda and Robert Cuciolli as Frollo.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 2/3/12 at 11:29pm
Tsao thanks for the corrections. I have always wondered why James Lapine was chosen to direct this--not that he's not talented, far from, but when one thinks of a technologically advanced massive musical, his name doesn't spring u8p.

I DO think it's darker than Lion King though. Esmeralda dies at the finale and is basically the heroine--it's not the same as having Mufasa die early on, continue to speak to Simba from Heaven, etc. And in tone in general it's a heavier piece (one reason the comic relief seems so much more forced). IMHO of course.

How long did it run?
SondheimFan5
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/10
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 2/4/12 at 01:30am
ran for 3 years in Berlin
Tsao5
Stand-by
joined:2/7/06
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 2/4/12 at 02:43am
It was originally hoped to run for 5. But, in Berlin that is not really possible as Berlin is not such a musical theater city. Some shows in Germany can run for a long time....Cats, Phantom.....Lion King.....even Starlight Express (which is still playing). These were known shows that even before coming to Germany people knew of. Hunchback, not so much. Back in 1999 Hunchback got a lot of publicity in Germany because it was a world premier piece of a Disney show and the theater was in the revitalized Potsdamer Platz area of Berlin.

James Lapine was an odd choice. This was his first, and I believe, his only attempt at a mega-musical (meaning a huge musical on the scale that Hunchback was). At the time it was the most expensive musical ever produced (which is one big reason Disney wanted to start it in Germany, Stella Entertainment, it's co-producer, would flip a large portion of the bill). Lapine was used to smaller scaled shows that he came up with from scratch (Into The Woods, Sunday in the Park).

Lapine was the stage adaptor of the movie script. In doing so, he tried to make it his own. This set up limitations because Disney wanted him to basically put the movie on stage.....which would not be so possible with Lapine at the helm.

I think it is MUCH darker than Lion King. In Lion King one has fun and zany supporting characters and there are LAUGHS in Lion King. In addition......it is very colorful and makes people smile watching it. Hunchback did not have that. The colors were dark, shadowy and grim. There were no "fun" or zany characters in the piece once the gargoyles were stripped of the humor they had in the animated movie. Lapine had actually wanted to cut them altogether. Disney of course said no no no. They stay James, they stay. But, whereas they were a fun and charming trio in the movie, in the stage version, they just pretty much yelled at each other. If there WAS to have been any kind of production number, A Guy Like You, would have been the place. But instead it just became a throw away number that added nothing.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Casting for Hunchback of Notre Dame
Posted: 2/4/12 at 03:18am
To be fair, Lapine is a brave choice I suppose (though Disney has failed just as often as they've succeeded when picking slightly surprising choices to direct their shows) and Into the Woods was a faily major production with a big set, although ytou're right, not remotely a megamusical.

I appreciate that he wanted to re do the libretto (even if I assume he couldn't do the German) and he is a more talented choice than some who have worked on Disney's Broadway librettos, and I can only assume he fought to reinstate some of the darker elements, which I approve of (I love the movie but very much despite it's schizo switches in mood).

I have to disagree--you're the first person I've ever heard refer to the Gargoyles as a fun and charming trio. LOL Even my six year old nephew asks to fast forward their song. They just don't fit in--having them more clearly be a part of Quasi's mind in the stage version does make a lot more sense (ie I assume they don't help out with the fight scene as they do in the movie), but I would have cut A guy like You altogether. It makes evenb less sense if Quasi is portrayed as more genuinely mentally ill in the stage version as the lyrics just seem like full out false hope. It's a terrible song and even Menken seemed to lazily try to reproduce some of Be our Guest.

The production number should be Topsy Turvey (which I suppose it was) and I suppose Court of Miracles could be expanded (I think it is a bit, I can't remember--actually wasn't it replaced by a gypsy dance number?). But Guy Like You makes zero dramatic sense and is pretty dreadful. This is all just IMHo of course But from the bits I've seen on youtube it does seem Lapine just kinda included it and hoped nobody would notice it...

You're right that all things considering it had a very good run (longer than Dance of the Vampires ran in Berlin, etc).

I know Menken recently did say that some development is still going on with an English version of it so I'm glad it hasn't been completely forgotten. We'll see.