Disney Songs Poll Results! #15 – “God Help the Outcasts”
You will hear two different voices for Esmerelda in the above video, but that wasn’t always the intent. It was believed that the streetwise gypsy dancer should have a less dainty voice than many of the famous Disney female leads, so they invited Demi Moore to come in and work with songwriters Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz on the required vocals. Unfortunately, they found after several attempts that she was not feeling like she could accomplish the singing appropriately. Moore herself asked them to find someone else, but was retained to voice the speaking parts for the role.
In need of a new singing voice for Esmerelda, Disney found Heidi Mollenhauer, who was performing in cabaret shows in New York City at the time. I couldn’t find any information about how that happened, so I’m going to assume that Menken and Schwatrz wandered into the place where Mollenhauer was singing and after tying a few on decided that hiring somebody working there would be appropriate for the street performer Esmerelda is. It sounds like the sort of story that launches a star, but strangely enough Hunchback of Notre Dame is thus far Mollenhauer’s only film credit. She also sports no TV or theatre credits. Anybody want to research a “What the Hell Happened to Heidi Mollenhauer” article?
No? Well, if you change your mind, this is what she looked like-
…but she’s also been seen with long blonde hair, so maybe she doesn’t actually want to be found.
Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame is perhaps the most frustratingly imperfect animated film in their entire library, with gloriously beautiful and thrilling scenes and songs giving way to face-palming elements that smell like decisions made by committees full of suits. “God Help the Outcasts” is just exhibit A in the ‘genius’ column for the film.