“I don’t know if you can hear me
Or if you’re even there
I don’t know if you’d listen to a gypsy’s prayer
Yes I know I’m just an outcast
I shouldn’t speak to you
Still I see your face and wonder
Were you once an outcast too?”
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is, as far as I’m concerned, one of Disney’s musical masterpieces. The score by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz is absolutely breathtaking, featuring elements of Gregorian chant and lush orchestral sounds synthesized with the traditional Disney themes of hope, longing, and love. Songs include “The Bells of Notre Dame,” “Topsy Turvy,” “Out There,” “Someday,” “Outcasts,” and “Hellfire,” the last of which breaks new ground for Disney in its dark portrayal of religious condemnation and lust. The film’s stage adaptation will premiere in America next year at Paper Mill Playhouse; it’s surely a show not to be missed.