Audio Mixers: Britt Bonney ; Stephen Schwartz; Lawrence Manchester.
Liner Note Authors: Thomas Schumacher ; Alan Menken.
Recording information: Avatar Studios, NYC (2015-09-28_2015-09-30&2015-).
Photographers: Kevin Berne; Matthew Murphy ; Jerry Dalia; Nathan Johnson .
From the Disney stage musical based on the studio's 1996 animated film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame [Studio Cast Recording] captures performances by select cast members of both the 2014 La Jolla Playhouse (California) and 2015 Paper Mill Playhouse (New Jersey) productions of the show, as well as new talent, all brought together in the studio in the fall of 2015. (The musical closed on April 6, 2015 without moving to Broadway.) While the stage musical was short on memorable standout tunes, especially compared to the best of the vast Disney canon, the music was hardly weak, reteaming legendary Disney composer Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) and esteemed Broadway songwriter Stephen Schwartz (Pippin, Godspell, Wicked), who together had written the songs for the source film. Menken additionally wrote the film's score. The show used most of these existing songs plus original tunes written exclusively for the stage. The studio recording's dynamic performances feature Disney-quality talent, including Michael Arden (TV's Anger Management, Broadway's Big River) as Quasimodo and Ciara Renée (TV's The Flash, Broadway's Big Fish) as Esmeralda, as well as a 25-piece orchestra and even larger choir. If Disney's popularity was in any doubt as reflected in the decision to close the show -- which had also essentially restored the Victor Hugo ending -- in a rare occurrence for a non-Broadway cast recording, the album debuted at number one on Billboard's Cast Albums chart upon release (ending 17 consecutive weeks by Hamilton: An American Musical) and in the Top 50 of the Billboard 200. ~ Marcy Donelson