Just to spend one day out there.
Bringing Disney back into the musical conversation, Hunchback of Notre Dame was always one of my favorites growing up. I had all the little action figures, including a Quasimodo that we lovingly called in my house “Quasi nose picker.”
I was so excited to hear about a staged musical version of the show and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the cast recording. I don’t think this show has been in NYC, but there have been regional productions, and hopefully I’ll get to see one of them someday.
The opening number of the show, similar to that of the animated film, “Bells of Notre Dame,” sets up the entire musical beautifully. There is a plot change in this production though, and I just about jumped out of my seat when I heard it.
While you get a good feel for Frollo in the animated movie, you get so much more just from this opening song. You meet Frollo’s brother, who, PLOT TWIST, is Quasimodo’s daddy!
One thing that hasn’t changed from the film is the affect the music has on me. The second those “Ah’s” start, I get instant goose pimples and chills.
There are a few videos of the production available on YouTube, and I believe this one features the original cast. The end includes the transformation of Quasimodo, which happens right on center stage – brilliantly I might add.
“Now here is a riddle to guess if you can. Sing the Bells of Notre Dame. What makes a monster and what makes a man?”
“God Help The Outcasts” is one of those songs that transcends time, and unfortunately, packs more of a punch now with the shape of the world and all of the hate spewing around.
As a child, I don’t think I really understood what Esmeralda was praying. But now, as an adult who observes the world through different eyes, it breaks my heart. There are so many people being excluded for reasons that make no sense to me at all. To hate someone because of their skin, or orientation, or appearance – it’s horrible. Even worse is the hatred I’ve seen from Christians, and having been raised in that faith, it makes me question more than ever how I should feel.
Much like how Frollo seems to hold himself above everyone else in terms of his faith, you see that despite what you think may be the correct thing, in fact, may be persecution and destruction.
“I ask for nothing. I can get by. But I know so many less lucky than I. God help the outcasts, the poor and down trod. I thought we all were the children of God.”
Have you ever felt alone? Have you ever watched the world and wished you could join in while something held you back?
As I struggled with crippling anxieties last year, I found myself identifying a lot with Quasimodo – not because I’m half-formed and trapped in a tower – but because I wanted to be like the people who seemed to be going about their lives.
Every minute was a struggle.
I fought through so much last year just trying to survive each day, while wishing I could have some semblance of “normal” again. I’ll never look at this song the same way after all I went through.
I’ll probably always wish I could live one day where I don’t struggle with obsessive, intrusive thoughts and feeling like I’m not worth anything, but every day I fight the demons, I get closer to the sun.
“And out there, living in the sun. Give me one day out there. All I ask is one. To hold forever.”