I found a HIGHLY interesting interview Doug Storm (Las Vegas Quasimodo) did a few years back. The interviewer asks about Notre Dame de Paris, and Doug grows obviously tense and lets loose about his frustrations with the musical. According to him, the French director and those involved with the original French production were highly egotistical, and wouldn’t allow any changes to be made. He had to fight to be allowed to climb on the bell during “Les Cloches” because he felt it would add to the song, especially since Quasimodo’s life surrounds the bells. He says the American backers knew the musical wouldn’t work as is in Vegas and wanted to make changes to a few things, but weren’t allowed.
Under the cut you can find Doug’s words. I think it’s an interesting argument. Io eel changes should have been made to the show. Some of the things just didn’t work, and especially not in Vegas. What’s your view?
BK: Doug Storm, you went to Las Vegas and originated the role of Quasimodo in the US premiere of Notre Dame de Paris. I have the DVD of it, and I must say I watched only the first few minutes and then got tired and went to bed. The next morning, I got up to go to the bathroom and passed out on my way - my head actually went through the wall in my hallway. I was fine (got up too fast was the theory) but forever thereafter I blamed the incident on Notre Dame de Paris. Tell us about the show - did you do it in English? It’s a huge production, I gather - will it come to Broadway? Did you gamble away your entire salary?
Doug Storm: Notre Dame de Paris. Musically beautiful. Fun to look at for a little while. Not enough book to pull off the storytelling. Here’s the delicate balance again. Dance of the Vampires was changed too much from its European incarnation while Notre Dame de Paris wasn’t changed enough. I pulled teeth with the French director to get them to let me actually ride the bell as “Quasimodo’. If it wasn’t done in Paris, they didn’t want it. Our American producers’ hands were tied. The French felt that it was such an enormous hit in Paris that it shouldn’t have to be changed for American audiences. I respect their feelings of artistic integrity, and I adore eccentric personalities, but things always have to be tweaked and fixed. It’s hard to differentiate between ego and integrity sometimes. The Frenchies were rightfully proud of their success in Paris. However, Vegas could have been the place to try new things with Notre Dame before bringing it to New York. It was like Cirque du Soleil performing Les Miz. It was so powerful at points, and so musically beautiful, but there’s no room for crying and dying in Vegas. All they want there is tits and feathers. I loved it. Our dancers were the most amazing ensemble I’ve EVER worked with, and that says a lot because every single cast I’ve ever been in has almost had an entire ensemble of principle quality players.
If Bat Boy’s rehearsal process was the most rewarding creative process, then performing in Notre Dame was the most rewarding process of not creating - but being. I learned how to let my gifts go unbridled with that show and to just simply take the ride. Total method acting. I was so into that piece there were nights I don’t even remember doing the show. It was also a period of great sadness in my personal life, so to play such a tortured character every night was cathartic and therapeutic. I hope it will have a life again. With the right changes it could be beautiful. I’d like to tackle it again with my own personal changes intact. It’d be one hell of a ride now.