Song for Monday
Recommended by Nick Carver – Marketing Manager
OUT THERE from ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ by Alan Menken & Stephen Schwartz
I remember Disney gearing up for the release of ‘Hunchback’ in 1996 when I was working for the company. I also remember thinking at the time that it was an unusual story choice for Disney, who are often accused of sweetening the darkest elements of fairytales. True, it’s not as darkly gothic as Victor Hugo’s book would dictate – it’s bright and bold at times – but it works surprisingly well, even with the inclusion of singing gargoyles! The music is a triumph – but how could it fail in the hands of musical theatre legends Alan Menken (‘Little Shop of Horrors’, ‘Sister Act’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’) and Stephen Schwartz (‘Wicked’, ‘Pippin’, ‘Godspell’).
As soon as the film was released, a stage musical was on the cards – one could argue that it was written with this very thought in mind (Disney had just found Broadway success for the first time with ‘Beauty and the Beast’). The songs push the narrative forward and have a dramatic, symphonic, epic quality. A stage version premiered in Germany in 1999, but took a further 15 years to reach the stage in the USA.
‘Out There’ is performed by Quasimodo in the early part of the story, as he yearns for a life away from the confines of Notre Dame – happiness in the world ‘out there’… It’s quite possibly my favourite song from any Disney movie and, consequently, I picked it to practise during a singing workshop with the brilliant Art’Comedia, and I can tell you first hand, it is a very, very difficult song to sing!