The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a musical based on the film and book of the same name.

1999 German version[]

Act One

In 1482 Paris, Clopin, an elderly gypsy beggar, narrates the origin of the titular hunchback ("Die Glocken Notre Dames" – "The Bells of Notre Dame"). The story begins as a group of gypsies sneak illegally into Paris, but are ambushed by Judge Claude Frollo, the Minister of Justice of Paris, and his soldiers. A gypsy woman in the group attempts to flee with her deformed baby, but Frollo chases and kills her outside Notre Dame. He tries to kill the baby as well, but the cathedral's archdeacon intervenes and accuses Frollo of murdering an innocent woman. To atone for his sin, Frollo reluctantly agrees to raise the deformed child in Notre Dame as his son, naming him Quasimodo.

Twenty years later, in 1502, Quasimodo develops into a kind yet isolated young man who dreams of seeing life outside the bell tower. Due to his loneliness, Quasimodo's mind created imaginary friends: a trio of gargoyles named Charles, Antoine and Loni. Despite Frollo's warnings that he would be shunned for his deformity, the gargoyles urge him to disobey Frollo, ("Zuflucht" – "Sanctuary") and Quasimodo decides to go out for just one day ("Draußen" – "Out There").

While the Parisians continue their preparations for a festival, the gypsies prepare to attend the festival in their hideout, the Court of Miracles ("Tanz auf dem Seil" – "Balancing Act"). Their attention is taken by a newcomer, a young gypsy dancer named Esmeralda. Meanwhile, Phoebus of Frollo's guard arrives in Paris excited about his new promotion as its captain ("Ein bisschen Freude" – "Rest and Recreation"). He flirts with a young girl but is suddenly interrupted by a fleeing gypsy accused of theft. The gypsy pleads innocence, but Frollo arrives and orders his soldiers to arrest the gypsy. Frollo tells Phoebus that the city has become overrun by gypsies and that he plans to find the Court of Miracles and eliminate them all.

As the festival begins ("Drunter drüber" – "Topsy Turvy"), Quasimodo attends it and he is celebrated for his bizarre appearance, only to be humiliated by the crowd after Frollo's men start a riot. Frollo refuses to help Quasimodo, but Esmeralda intervenes, frees the hunchback, and uses a magic trickto disappear. Frollo confronts and scolds Quasimodo before sending him back inside the cathedral.

Phoebus refuses to arrest Esmeralda for alleged witchcraft inside Notre Dame and has her confined to the cathedral. Esmeralda, encouraged by the Archdeacon, offers a prayer to God to help her and the other outcasts ("Hilf den Verstoß'nen" – "God Help the Outcasts"). Meanwhile, Frollo orders Phoebus to post a guard at every door to ensure that Esmeralda does not escape.

Esmeralda finds and befriends Quasimodo to the bell tower and is captivated by the view of the city ("Hoch über der Welt" – "On Top of the World"). Quasimodo helps her escape Notre Dame out of gratitude for defending him. Esmeralda entrusts Quasimodo with a pendant containing a map to the Court of Miracles. Quasimodo expresses his feelings, as he has been touched by Esmeralda's kindness ("Das Licht des Himmels" – "Heaven's Light"). Meanwhile, Frollo soon develops lustful feelings for Esmeralda and, upon realizing them, he begs the Virgin Mary to save him from her "spell" to avoid eternal damnation ("Das Feuer der Hölle" – "Hellfire").

After discovering that Esmeralda escaped, Frollo instigates a citywide manhunt for her, which involves setting fire to countless houses in his way. Phoebus is appalled by Frollo's evil reputation and defies him. Frollo sentences him to death. Phoebus is briefly struck by an arrow and falls into the Seine but Esmeralda rescues him. ("Finale Act 1"/"Esmeralda").

Act Two

The soldiers continue searching the city ("Trommeln in der Stadt" – "City Under Siege"). Esmeralda tells Phoebus to seek refuge at Notre Dame while she returns to the Court of Miracles. Meanwhile, the gargoyles convince Quasimodo that Esmeralda finds him romantically intriguing, and they reassure him about her safety ("Ein Mann wie du" – "A Guy Like You"). The Archdeacon brings Phoebus to the bell tower and Phoebus, knowing Quasimodo to be a friend of Esmeralda's, asks Quasimodo to hide him.

Frollo returns to Notre Dame later that night and discovers that Quasimodo helped Esmeralda escape. He bluffs to Quasimodo, saying that he knows about the Court of Miracles and that he intends to attack at dawn. After Frollo leaves, Phoebus comes out of hiding and asks Quasimodo to help him find the Court of Miracles and warn Esmeralda. Quasimodo refuses to leave the cathedral again, but Phoebus and the gargoyles teach Quasimodo the value of devotion and selflessness ("Weil du liebst" – "Out of Love").

Using Esmeralda's amulet as their guide, Quasimodo and Phoebus find the Court of Miracles to warn the gypsies. Esmeralda and Phoebus decide to leave the city together while Quasimodo, heartbroken, watches Esmeralda leave with the man she truly loves ("Weil du liebst" – "Out of Love" (Reprise)). However, Frollo, having followed the two, captures the gypsies present.

Esmeralda rejects Frollo's advances of becoming his mistress. Tied up in the bell tower, Quasimodo refuses to help and tells the gargoyles to leave him ("Wie aus Stein" – "Made of Stone"). As dawn approaches, Esmeralda awaits her execution in the dungeon with Phoebus, hoping that one day the world will be a better place ("Einmal" – "Someday").

Frollo prepares to burn Esmeralda at the stake, but Quasimodo rescues her and brings her to the cathedral. Phoebus then frees himself and the gypsies and rallies the citizens of Paris against Frollo and his men, who attempt to break into the cathedral. Quasimodo calls upon the saints and the gargoyles before pouring molten lead onto the streets to ensure no one enters, but Frollo himself successfully breaks in. In the cathedral, Esmeralda thanks Quasimodo for being a good friend and dies from smoke inhalation. Frollo arrives and, after asking Quasimodo if she is dead, tells the hunchback that they are finally free of her poison. Encouraged by Antoine, Quasimodo throws Frollo to his death in the molten lead. The gargoyles comfort Quasimodo and tell him the world is full of good as well as evil. The citizens watch as Quasimodo carries Esmeralda's body through the square with Phoebus by his side. Clopin appears again and asks what makes a monster and what makes a man ("Finale Ultimo" – "Grand Finale").

2014 Broadway[]

Act One Many years ago, orphaned brothers Jehan and Claude Frollo were taken in at Notre Dame. Jehan grew to be mischievous while Claude remained pious. After Jehan was caught with a gypsy woman, he was expelled from Notre Dame. Frollo eventually became the archdeacon of Notre Dame. One day, Frollo received a letter from Jehan; the two met in secret, where Jehan, on his deathbed, gave Frollo his deformed baby before dying. As Frollo prepared to kill the child, he suddenly felt as he was being tested by God. Thus, he instead saved the child, naming it Quasimodo, or "half-formed", and raising it in Notre Dame ("The Bells of Notre Dame"). In the present day (in the year 1542), Quasimodo is now a young man, made partially deaf by a lifetime of ringing Notre Dame's bells. He talks to Notre Dame's statues of saints and gargoyles about his desire to go to the Feast of Fools. Frollo arrives and asks him who he is speaking to, reminding him that the stone statues cannot talk. They recite the biblical story of the Flight into Egypt, after which Frollo complains about Paris's gypsies and the Feast of Fools ("Sanctuary Part I"). Quasimodo offers to protect him outside; Frollo declines, warning him that he would be shunned if he were to go out in public ("Sanctuary Part II"). Quasimodo sings to himself, yearning to spend one day outside Notre Dame ("Out There"). In the streets of Paris, the Feast of Fools begins, led by Clopin, the gypsy king ("Topsy Turvy Part I"). Meanwhile, Captain Phoebus, the new head of Notre Dame's Cathedral Guard, arrives in Paris from the front lines. Frollo welcomes him, telling him they must rid the city of gypsies ("Rest and Recreation"). Clopin introduces Esmeralda, a gypsy dancer ("Rhythm of the Tambourine")—Quasimodo, Frollo, and Phoebus are all entranced by her. After that, Clopin holds a contest to crown the King of Fools, the ugliest person in Paris. Encouraged by Esmeralda, Quasimodo enters, immediately winning the contest ("Topsy Turvy Part II") before being humiliated by the crowd. Esmeralda rescues Quasimodo with a magic trick before Frollo intervenes. He scolds Quasimodo; the two return to Notre Dame, followed by Esmeralda ("Sanctuary Part III"). Frollo finds Esmeralda, confronting her; after a brief argument, he relents, allowing her to stay. Esmeralda prays to God to help the less fortunate ("God Help the Outcasts"). Phoebus finds Esmeralda; they argue, Phoebus telling her not to fight unwinnable battles, to which she retorts that she cannot help it. Esmeralda heads to the bell tower, finding Quasimodo there. The two quickly befriend each other ("Top of the World"), Quasimodo ringing the bells of Notre Dame for her. Frollo runs up to the tower, angry at Quasimodo for ringing the bells at the wrong time. He is shocked by Esmeralda's presence, thinking she had left. He offers her shelter so he may save her soul, but she rejects his offer, saying that she sees the way Frollo looks at her. This infuriates Frollo, who orders Phoebus to escort her from Notre Dame and arrest her if she sets foot in it again. Frollo warns Quasimodo that Esmeralda is a dangerous person sent from Hell and to ignore any lustful feelings he may feel towards her. Yet, having developed such feelings for Esmeralda himself, Frollo roams the streets nightly, one night discovering Esmeralda, Clopin and multiple other gypsies partying with Phoebus; he is unable to look away as Esmeralda dances and kisses Phoebus ("Tavern Song (Thai Mol Piyas)"). Meanwhile, in the bell tower, Quasimodo reflects on seeing couples in love from his tower and how he never thought himself worthy of love until meeting Esmeralda ("Heaven's Light"). Frollo prays, begging the Virgin Mary to save him by either condemning Esmeralda to Hell or giving her to him ("Hellfire"). The next day, he approaches King Louis XI asking for special powers to stop a 'gypsy witch' to protect Paris, which he is granted. With his new powers, he instigates a citywide manhunt for Esmeralda which leads him to a brothel known for hiding gypsies. When the brothel's owner claims ignorance, Frollo orders Phoebus to burn the brothel down, an order which Phoebus defies. As Frollo orders Phoebus's arrest, Esmeralda appears; a fight breaks loose. Amidst the commotion, Frollo stabs Phoebus and frames Esmeralda for it; she uses a magic trick to escape. Frollo continues the hunt, while Quasimodo grows increasingly worried about Esmeralda's whereabouts ("Esmeralda"). Act Two Esmeralda returns to Notre Dame, asking Quasimodo to hide the injured Phoebus. She gives Quasimodo a woven band and leaves. Inspired by the story of Saint Aphrodisius and encouraged by the saints, Quasimodo deciphers the woven band as a map and resolves to help her ("Flight into Egypt"). Frollo returns to Notre Dame, asking Quasimodo where Esmeralda is; Quasimodo responds that he doesn't know. Frollo appears to accept this, before a guard informs Frollo that they know where Esmeralda is. Frollo tells Quasimodo that they will now be successful in capturing Esmeralda and leaves ("Esmeralda (Reprise)"). Using the map, Quasimodo and Phoebus go to warn the gypsies ("Rest and Recreation (Reprise)"). Initially, the gypsies attempt to kill the two, but they are saved by Esmeralda. ("Court of Miracles"). The two tell the gypsies Frollo will attack at dawn. The gypsies prepare to leave; Phoebus asks Esmeralda to go with her, the two expressing their love for each other as Quasimodo looks on, heartbroken ("Heaven's Light (Reprise)/In a Place of Miracles"). Frollo suddenly enters, having followed Quasimodo, and arrests all present—only Clopin manages to escape. Frollo has the guards lock Quasimodo in the bell tower. Frollo visits Esmeralda, telling her that he can save her if she accepts being with him. When Esmeralda refuses, he threatens Phoebus' life and attempts to rape her ("Sanctuary (Reprise)"). He halts when Esmeralda cries out in protest, allowing her to have a final conversation with Phoebus. Phoebus pleads for her to accept Frollo's offer to save herself, which Esmeralda refuses to do. They yearn together for a better future ("Someday"). Meanwhile, in the bell tower, the statues encourage Quasimodo to free himself and save Esmeralda; Quasimodo angrily denounces them, declaring that he will remain stoic until he dies ("Made of Stone"). At dawn, Esmeralda is tied to a pyre outside Notre Dame. Frollo sentences her to death, offering her one last chance to save herself, which she angrily rejects. He orders her pyre to be lit. Quasimodo swings down on a rope from the bell tower and takes Esmeralda back to Notre Dame, invoking Notre Dame's status as a sanctuary in an appeal for protection. Frollo orders the Cathedral Guard to retake the church by force. Clopin frees Phoebus, after which the two rally the people of Paris to fight against the guards. However, the guards still manage to break in. Quasimodo dumps the molten lead used for fixing the bells onto the guards to stop them. Esmeralda thanks Quasimodo for being a good friend before dying from smoke inhalation. Frollo enters and asks Quasimodo if she is dead, which he broken-heartedly confirms. Relieved, Frollo tells Quasimodo that they are finally free of her poison. Quasimodo angrily throws Frollo off the tower of Notre Dame to his death. Devastated, Quasimodo realizes that everyone he has ever loved is now dead. Phoebus arrives, finding out about Esmeralda's death. Phoebus tries to carry her body away but is unable to due to his injuries. Quasimodo then carries Esmeralda away. Years later, two skeletons are discovered in the crypts of Notre Dame, one holding the other in its arms – the former has a woven band around its neck and the other has a crooked spinal column. When it was attempted to detach the two, the latter crumbles to dust. The company finally addresses the audience with a question asked at the beginning of the show—"What makes a monster and what makes a man?" ("Finale").