Alan Menken

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame

In 15th century Paris, this is the tale of Quasimodo, the gentle, misshaped bell ringer who longs to be out in the world beyond the confined existence he lives in the bell tower. Defying the orders of his evil surrogate father, Minister of Justice Frollo, the frightened hunchback journeys into the streets of medieval Paris where he meets and falls in love with a beautiful gypsy girl named Esmeralda. He also befriends Phoebus, the handsome Captain of the King’s guards. Heartbroken by the discovery of Phoebus and Esmeralda’s love for each other, Quasimodo ultimately risks everything to bring them together. Quasimodo’s selfless love overcomes both his own heartache and Frollo’s obsessive hatred of Esmeralda. Cheered and supported, Quasimodo finds support and friendship from the cathedral’s trio of comic gargoyles: Victor, Hugo, and Laverne

 

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(L-R) Alan and Stephen Schwartz

“God Help The Outcasts”

Alan's Thoughts

After having shared our first collaboration on “Pocahontas”, Stephen Schwartz and I embarked on turning Victor Hugo’s epic novel into a Disney animated musical. And, I have to say that I, for one, am extremely proud of how we did that. We created alter egos for Quasimodo, in having three stone gargoyles come to life in ways that only he sees. For me, that’s what allowed the “Disney” name to sit above the title. And I will always believe that conceit worked. And the resulting score is very possibly my most accomplished score for any of my Disney projects. Just as “Colors of the Wind” set the DNA for the Pocahontas score, “Out There” did the same for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. The music and form of that song came into my head and into my fingers before anything else, words, music or images was created.