With all the talk of the upcoming Tony Awards and the praise of Patrick Page’s performance in Hadestown I thought I would write about the first time I saw Page onstage and that was in The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Paper Mill Playhouse. To this day it is one of my favorite things I have seen on Paper Mill’s stage. It is a grand musical and the music from this show is beautiful and haunting. Luckily a Ghostlight Records studio cast recording for the music from the show exists. If you did not have the opportunity to see this show, I would highly recommend listening to this recording. The songs are astounding as it tells the well-known story of Victor Hugo’s novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In addition to the incredible songs by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz the cast includes Patrick Page, Michael Arden, Ciera Renée and Jeremy Stolle.
The musical version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is based on the 1831 Victor Hugo novel. The musical tells the story of Quasimodo, the bell ringer at the cathedral of Notre Dame, Esmeralda, a gypsy who is kind-hearted and compassionate, a mercenary soldier who falls in love with Esmeralda and an impassioned and flawed archdeacon who tries to prevent their happiness. What I love about the recording is not only are there songs full of joy, like the song “Topsy Turvy,” but in addition, there are numbers that reveal how a number of the characters are conflicted like “Hellfire.” There are definitely powerful songs on this recording and it is well worth listening to if you have never heard the music as it will surely affect the listener.
One of my favorite songs from this recording is “Hellfire” sung by Patrick Page. Not only are his vocals magnificent in this song, but it is chill inducing. I have heard other people sing this song in other productions I have seen of this show, and no one can quite match the fire and passion that Page brings to this song. Another favorite song on this recording is “God Help the Outcasts,” performed by Ciera Renée. It is an emotional song and Renée’s rendition is powerful. One of the highlights of The Hunchback of Notre Dame recording is the vocals by Michael Arden in the song “Out There.” The song is outstanding and Arden’s vocals are magnificent. One of the more haunting songs on the recording is “The Bells of Notre Dame.” This song really highlights how the bells are a significant part of the show, and it is an exceptional song. It is also a noteworthy song that sets the stage for the rest of the story throughout the production. On a personal note, I was disappointed when I knew this show was not going to Broadway, so I am grateful Ghostlight Records produced a recording to capture the powerful music from this show.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame Studio Recording is available for purchase through Ghostlight Records. For more information and to purchase the recording please visit www.ghostlightrecords.com/hunchback-of-notre-dame-studio-cast-recording.html.
Final Thought: The Ghostlight Records studio cast recording of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is exceptional. The music captures the heart of the Hugo novel and the performances on this recording are incredible. The recording has powerful vocals by Michael Arden, Patrick Page and Ciera Renée and spectacular music and lyrics by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. I am extremely grateful that there is a studio recording of this show.
Kelli Curtin is founding editor and writer for theatresensation.com. She has maintained a love of the performing arts since a very early age and she is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram.
Photo 1 courtesy of Ghostlight Records
Photo 2: From the 2015 Production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Paper Mill Playhouse. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne