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Der Glöckner von Notre Dame (literally translated in English, The Bellringer of Notre Dame) is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and book by James Lapine. The musical is based on the 1996 Disney film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was inspired by the 1831 Victor Hugo novel of the same name.

The musical premiered in 1999 in Berlin, Germany, 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 story follows Quasimodo, a deformed man taken in by Claude Frollo as an infant. Due to his haggard appearance, Quasimodo was forced to remain inside the Notre Dame cathedral for his entire life, until meeting a girl named Esmeralda, who inadvertently becomes the target of Frollo's lust and genocidal mission to eliminate all Romani people in France.


The musical opened on June 5, 1999, for the opening of the Musicaltheater Berlin (now Theater am Potsdamer Platz (DE)), Berlin.[2] After a successful run, it closed in June 2002.[3] Directed by Lapine, the German translation was by Michael Kunze, choreography by Lar Lubovitch, set design by Heidi Ettinger, costume design by Sue Blane, lighting by Rick Fisher, sound by Tony Meola and projections by Jerome Sirlin.[4][5][6]

This was Disney's first musical to premiere outside the US,[3] and it became one of Berlin's longest-running musicals to date. As with Beauty an the Beast and The Lion King, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame opened three years after the release of the movie it is based on.

The musical is a darker, more gothic adaptation of the film. According to translator Michael Kunze, he was " 'campaigning to allow Esmeralda to die at the end, as she does in the book. There was a feeling that the audience would be depressed if Esmeralda dies. I feel that a European audience would see this as a very romantic ending ... two lost souls finally find each other. People will cry, but they'll be moved. And it is a very romantic ending.' "[7] The producers wanted to see how "preview audiences react before making the final decision."[7]

An original cast recording was recorded in German.[8]

English adaptation

In April 2013, an English adaptation of Der Glöckner von Notre Dame by The King's Academy Fine Arts Department was staged in The King's Academy Sports & Fine Arts Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. According to TKA, "Walt Disney Productions...selected The King’s Academy Theatre to adapt and premiere their [1996 film]". The company collaborated with Disney Executive Studios. They explained via YouTube that "We received a license from Disney Productions to premiere the English version of Hunchback. Disney is now workshopping this musical for a possible run on Broadway. Our director, Mr. David Snyder, recently returned from NYC where he helped to cast talent for the new show!" This version does not include all the songs from Der Glöckner von Notre Dame, and excludes the deaths of Esmerelda and Frollo. Nevertheless, it is essentially a translation of that musical as opposed to a new adaption of the film. The entire musical is up on YouTube.

The musical had its successful US premiere at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego from October 28 through December 14, 2014 (originally scheduled to end on December 7, but due to popular demand, an extra week was added). The production soon moved to the Papermill Playhouse from March 4 through April 5, 2015.


Production Quasimodo Esmerelda Phoebus Clopin Frollo Antoine Charles Loni the Archdeacon
Original Berlin cast Drew Sarich Judy Weiss Fredrik Lycke Jens Janke Norbert Lamla Tamas Ferkay Valentin Zahn Yvonne Ritz Andersen Carlo Lauber
Production Quasimodo Esmerelda Phoebus Clopin Frollo Jehan Frollo Florika Father Dupin Lieutenant Frederic Charlus King Louis XI Madam Saint Aphrodisius
American Premiere cast Michael Arden Ciara Renée Andrew Samonsky Erik Liberman Patrick Page Lucas Coleman Samantha Massell William Michals Ian Patrick Gibb Richard Ruiz Beth Kirkpatrick Neal Mayer

Variations from the 1996 film


  • The gargoyles' names have been changed from Victor, Hugo, and Laverne to Charles, Antoine. and Loni. The gargoyles' comedy in the musical is greatly toned down; they sing in many more songs, and they are also firmly established as figments of Quasimodo's imagination. In the American production, they are completely replaced by a congregation of stone saints.
  • Neither Esmeralda's goat Djali nor Phoebus' horse Achilles appear in the stage musical, due to the difficulties of making them believable on stage.
  • Frollo has a younger brother in this version.
  • Esmeralda is shown a way out of Notre Dame rather than Quasimodo climbing down, holding her.
  • When narrating, Clopin appears as a crippled old beggar and no longer uses puppets. In the American production, narration duties are delegated to the congregation of saints.

Plot points

  • The song "The Court of Miracles" from the film is replaced by a dance number called "Dance of the Gypsies".
  • Frollo's past is expanded to note that he was once a priest, harking back to his position as the archdeacon in the original novel. The American production goes as far as to add his brother, Jehan.
  • Esmeralda dies at the end, as in the original novel.
  • Frollo is thrown off the cathedral by Quasimodo, instead of falling from the crumbling gargoyle fixture.
  • "Sanctuary", the song that consists of Quasimodo and Frollo that played before "Out There" is expanded and the Gargoyles are added in the number. In the American production, the song is mostly the same as the movie, but with a few of Frollo's lyrics changed and a few lines of dialogue cut.
  • It is the archdeacon who brings Phoebus to Quasimodo instead of Esmeralda. The archdeacon is absent in the American production.
  • The ending of the American production stays true to the original novel by Victor Hugo, in which the skeletal remains of Quasimodo and Esmeralda are discovered locked together in an embrace.

Original Berlin Musical numbers

Act I

  • "Die Glocken Notre Dames" ("The Bells of Notre Dame") – Clopin, Archdeacon, Frollo & Chorus
  • "Zuflucht" ("Sanctuary") – Frollo, Quasimodo, Antoine, Charles & Loni
  • "Draußen" ("Out There") – Quasimodo
  • "Tanz auf dem Seil" ("Balancing Act") – Clopin, Esmeralda & Gypsies
  • "Ein bißchen Freude" ("Rest and Recreation") – Phoebus
  • "Drunter drüber" ("Topsy Turvy") – Clopin, Quasimodo & Crowd
  • "Zuflucht II" ("Sanctuary II") - Frollo & Quasimodo
  • "Die Glocken Notre Dames II" ("The Bells of Notre Dame II") - Clopin, Priests
  • "Helf den Verstoß'nen" ("God Help the Outcasts") – Esmeralda, Quasimodo & Parisians
  • "Hoch über der Welt" ("Top of the World") – Esmeralda, Quasimodo, Antoine, Charles & Loni
  • "Das Licht des Himmels" ("Heaven's Light") – Quasimodo
  • "Das Feuer der Hölle" ("Hellfire") – Frollo & Priests
  • "Die Glocken Notre Dames III" ("The Bells of Notre Dame III") - Clopin & Frollo
  • "Esmeralda" – Frollo, Quasimodo, Phoebus, Esmeralda, Clopin & Soldiers

Act II

  • "Trommeln in der Stadt" ("City Under Siege") – Clopin & Parisians
  • "Ein Mann wie du" ("A Guy Like You") – Antoine, Charles, Loni & Quasimodo
  • "Esmeralda (Reprise)" - Frollo
  • "Weil du liebst" ("Out of Love") – Quasimodo, Phoebus, Antoine, Charles & Loni
  • "Tanz der Zigeuner" ("Dance of the Gypsies") - Orchestra
  • "Weil du liebst (Reprise)" ("Out of Love (Reprise)") – Phoebus, Esmeralda & Quasimodo
  • "Die Glocken Notre Dames IV" ("The Bells of Notre Dame IV") - Clopin & Frollo
  • "Zuflucht (Reprise)" ("Sanctuary (Reprise)") - Frollo
  • "Wie aus Stein" ("Made of Stone") – Quasimodo, Loni, Charles & Antoine
  • "Einmal" ("Someday") – Esmeralda, Phoebus & Parisians
  • "Grand Finale" – Full Company

American Premiere Musical numbers

Act I

Act II


Papermill Playhouse


  1. http://www.broadway.com/buzz/174220/into-the-california-sunlight-disneys-the-hunchback-of-notre-dame-will-have-its-us-premiere-at-la-jolla/
  2. Simonson, Robert and Lefkowitz, David. "Disney's Berlin 'Hunchback'Will Rehearse in New York in Spring 1999" playbill.com, November 10, 1998
  3. 3.0 3.1 "'Der Glöckner von Notre Dame'" thisdayindisneyhistory.com, accessed January 28, 2011
  4. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," Find Articles at BNET.com, Variety
  5. "'Der Glöckner von Notre Dame', Production History" jameslapine.com, accessed January 28, 2011
  6. Wolf, Matt. "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (Der Glockner Von Notre Dame)", Variety Magazine, June 21, 1999 - June 27, 1999, Section: Legit Reviews; Abroad; p. 86
  7. 7.0 7.1 Geitner, Paul. "Disney's 'Hunchback' Goes to Stage", Associated Press Online, May 26, 1999, Section: Entertainment, television and culture, Dateline: Berlin
  8. "'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' Cast Album" castalbumdb.com, accessed January 28, 2011

External links

v - e - d
Films: The Hunchback of Notre DameThe Hunchback of Notre Dame IIVideoHunchback

Television: House of MouseEsmeralda
Video games: The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Topsy Turvy GamesKingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop DistanceDisney Sorcerer's Arena
Music: SoundtrackStudio Cast Recording
Books: Big Golden BookClassic StorybookDisney's Wonderful World of Reading

Disney Parks
Disney Animation Building

Entertainment: Disney Classics: The Music & The MagicOne Man's Dream II: The Magic Lives OnMickey's Gift of DreamsThe Golden MickeysThe Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical Adventure
Restaurants: Clopin's Festival of Foods
Parade: Disney's Party ExpressThe Hunchback of Notre Dame Topsy Turvy Cavalcade
Firework: Believe... There's Magic in the StarsDisney Dreams!Happily Ever AfterHarmonioUSMomentousWorld of ColorWonderful World of Animation
Spring: Disney's Easter Wonderland
Summer: Stitch and Friends Summer Surprise
Halloween: Frightfully Fun ParadeHappy HallowishesIt's Good to be Bad with the Disney VillainsKooky Spooky Halloween NightRe-Villains! Halloween ParadeThe Disney Villains Halloween ShowtimeVillains GroveVillains Mix and MingleVillains Night Out! Chapter 2

Original: QuasimodoEsmeraldaClaude FrolloPhoebusVictor, Hugo, and LaverneDjaliClopinArchdeaconAchillesBrutish and Oafish GuardsFrollo's SoldiersOld PrisonerQuasimodo's MotherQuasimodo's FatherSnowball

Sequel: MadellaineZephyrSarousch

Original: The Bells of Notre DameOut ThereTopsy TurvyHumiliationGod Help the OutcastsThe Bell TowerHeaven's LightHellfireParis BurningA Guy Like YouThe Court of MiraclesSanctuaryAnd He Shall Smite the WickedInto the SunlightSomeday

Sequel: Le Jour D'AmourAn Ordinary MiracleI'd Stick With YouFa la la la Fallen In LoveI'm Gonna Love You
Musical: Balancing ActRest and RecreationRhythm of the TambourineInto Notre DameTop of the WorldThai Mol PiyasEsmeraldaCity Under SiegeFlight Into EgyptOut of Love (Reprise) • Dance of the GypsiesMade of StoneFinale Ultimo
Deleted Songs: In a Place of MiraclesAs Long As There's a MoonSomeday

ParisNotre Dame de ParisPalace of JusticeCourt of Miracles
MusicalDisney Sing Along Songs: Topsy TurvyThe Making of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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