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Stephen Schwartz - Broadway, Film, and Opera Composer and Lyricist

The Career of Stephen Schwartz, biography, interviews, awards, photos

Stephen Schwartz Outside Gershwin Theatre and Circile in the SquareOutside Broadway's Gershwin Theatre, Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz stands before the marquee for the musicals Wicked and Godspell. Photo © 2011 by Jeremy Daniel

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Biography: Defying Gravity: the Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked

Stephen Schwartz biography Defying GravityDefying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked is the first and only biography of this popular songwriter. The book includes behind-the-scenes stories about Stephen Schwartz's musicals and career. It features 200 photographs and illustrations including Schwartz's handwritten notes. The author drew from her eighty hours of interviews with Schwartz, as well as from over 100 interviews with his colleagues, friends, and family members.

Defying Gravity - A Stephen Schwartz biography - Available in paperback and ebook on Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook, Ipad, and other readers.

Defying Gravity features 150 pages on the making of Wicked, about 50 pages on Godspell, stories about his good times and down times, and special creativity notes that take you into the songwriter's artistic process.

Stephen Schwartz's autograph:

Autographed copies Defying Gravity, signed by Schwartz and author Carol de Giere, are available. Write carol@musicalschwartz.com with the words "Signed Copy" in the subject line. $35.00 plus shipping.

Overview: Stephen Schwartz Biography (short list)

Stephen Schwartz inducted into the Theatre Hall of FameSongwriter Stephen Schwartz started his career by writing music and new lyrics for Godspell. Next he wrote music and lyrics for Pippin and The Magic Show. When Godspell moved from off-Broadway to Broadway in 1976, Schwartz then had three successful shows running on Broadway at the same time.

PHOTO: In Broadway's Gershwin Theatre upstairs lobby, American composer Stephen Schwartz stands beside his name after his induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame, January 25, 2010. Photo by Michael Cole.

His songs on the cast albums for The Baker's Wife helped keep the show in motion ever since it failed to reach Broadway in 1976. Children of Eden is his second most popular show for regional theatres. He co-adapted Working and wrote lyrics for Rags before transferring some of his creative energy to Hollywood.

He wrote lyrics for the film scores for Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, songs for The Prince of Egypt. He won two Oscars for his work on Pocahontas (including Best Song "Colors of the Wind" and his contribution of lyrics to the score) and one for The Prince of Egypt's song "When You Believe."Stephen Schwartz and Friends in Concert

Schwartz's musical Wicked is a hit on Broadway, on tour, and internationally. Read all about Wicked. While working on Wicked, he wrote what he believes is one of his best songs, "For Good", a piece that is now often used for graduations, memorial services, and friendship-related events.

PHOTO TO RIGHT: "Stephen Schwartz and Friends" in Concert. Photo by Maryann Lopinto.

In 2006, Schwartz worked in collaboration with Alan Menken for Enchanted. Disney's Enchanted, and he completed Geppetto and Son, a stage version of his Disney TV movie Geppetto. The show was later renamed Disney's My Son Pinocchio.

His first opera premiered in 2009. Schwartz's opera - Seance on a Wet Afternoon.

Other work includes songs for a Hans Christian Anderson celebration--a musical called My Fairy Tale, and more: See More Schwartz songs. His family musical, Captain Louie ran twice Off-Broadway, toured the USA, and is now being made available for local groups to perform.

Since 2009 Stephen Schwartz has served as the president of the Dramatists Guild of America, the national association of playwrights, composers and lyricists. He is also Artistic Director of ASCAP musical theatre workshops.

His credits include: Three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, and four Drama Desk Awards. He has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Theatre Hall of Fame.

Stephen Schwartz in his office, holding a cup of tea.Stephen Schwartz Current projects

Current projects include a new stage production of Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame and lyrics for a film score for Mumbai Musical.

He has also launched a new musical project for a European production. It will be centered around the love story between Emanuel Schikaneder (sometimes spelled Schikander) and his wife Eleanor. The aim is for it to be completed for the 2015/16 season In Vienna at the Ronacher or the Raimund Theater. Emanual Schikander (1751-1812) was the librettist of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Magic Flute.

He recently wrote a choral piece for the San Francisco Testimony

PHOTO to the left is Stephen Schwartz in his office as part of an interview session on Wicked's musical themes.

Stephen Schwartz Personal Life and Musical Training:

Stephen Schwartz was born in New York City on March 6, 1948. He primarily grew up in Roslyn Heights on Long Island, and started attending Broadway shows when he was nine years old. It was love at first sight. From then on he wanted to compose for Broadway.

His parents bought a piano when he was seven, and he took lessons locally. Then after an audition, the Juilliard School of Music accepted him in their preparatory division for their classes in piano and composition.

While studying for a BFA in directing from Carnegie Mellon University, he wrote songs for original msuicals each of his four years there. These shows were staged as part of the "Scotch 'n' Soda" club, an extracurricular student-run club. He was also involved in summer stock productions as a teenager. Therefore, by the time he wrote his first professional score, Godspell in 1971, he was experienced with the process of writing original work and staging other people's shows.

imageHe settled in Connecticut shortly after Godspell became a hit. It serves as home base and a place to compose, although he travels frequently for work on various productions. Mr. Schwartz is married to Carole Schwartz. They have two children, director Scott Schwartz and art teacher Jessica Schwartz. His main hobby (besides playing music and attending shows) is tennis. [Photo - Stephen with his son Scott in 2001]

Schwartz lives in Connecticut and has an office/studio/city apartment in Midtown Manhattan. He spends much of his time traveling for theatre activities, composing, conducting ASCAP workshops, giving concerts, and playing tennis.

He generally composes at his piano in Connecticut. For scoring music, Schwartz is now using Sibelius software at home. Avid Software Sibelius v. 7 The recording specialist with whom he works uses Logic for recording and multi-track sequencing.

Stephen Schwartz's Awards Details

Mr. Schwartz has received so many awards over his long career that we needed a full page to delineate them. Stephen Schwartz's Awards include Oscars, Grammys, Drama Desk, Tony nominations, two different "Hall of Fame" awards (Songwriters and Theatre), and numberous Lifetime Achievement awards. Visit this page for dates, photos, and interesting details.

Stephen Schwartz News

Find out where to meet Songwriter Stephen Schwartz in person and keep up with his activites

MusicalSchwartz.com's free email newsletter The Schwartz Scene offers quarterly updates written by Stephen Schwartz about his activities, plus much more.

Some of our back issue content is available online in our archives. Stephen Schwartz's udpates have been compiled here:

For more news about Schwartz musicals and Stephen Schwartz's activities, be sure to check the news. Stephen Schwartz is usually happy to autograph programs or CDs after his concerts or other appearances. www.musicalschwartz.com/news.htm

Stephen Schwartz Interviews and Articles

Wicked ShowBusiness DVD movie documentary --ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway--features Wicked and Stephen Schwartz. Visit: Wicked in ShowBusiness for photographs, details, and ordering information. The clips are from 2003 and 2004 as Wicked opens and with the approach to the Tony Awards. It also includes comments on Avenue Q, and two other shows.

Stephen Schwartz video interview - Godspell, Wicked, Wicked movie, and more.

This 20-minute video recorded in September, 2011, covers a range of topics Broadway.com Stephen Schwartz career interview and includes references to the biography, Defying Gravity. Schwartz talks a little about the future Wicked movie and mostly about what it's like to have a career like his.

Stephen Schwartz audio clip

Link to an hour-long interview that includes Schwartz at the piano. Stephen Schwartz interview by CUNY for the American Theatre Wing

Stephen Schwartz video interview about his career

When Stephen Schwartz was interviewed on NY1 in February 2010, the Defying Gravity book is on display and is discussed during the interview. This was taped shortly after the award ceremony for the Theatre Hall of Fame. He talks about that and the ups and downs of writing for Broadway. Stephen Schwartz on NY1 - career reflections

Timeout New York interview - Godspell etc

Schwartz TONY interview Oct 2011 For example he was asked about Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar debuted in NYC the same year: 1971. Stephen replied, "...I knew of the existence of Superstar when I began working on Godspell because the concept album had just come out. I was really careful not to listen to it until after Godspell opened... why not? See the interview.

KENNEDY CENTER INTERVIEW SESSIONS WITH STEPHEN SCHWARTZ Video Clips

The Kennedy Center site has clips from a May 1st interview to adults. http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/plus/plusonline/2006_schwartz.htmlf

An Evening With Stephen Schwartz at the Kennedy Center is also available as a podcast. itunes podcast - Schwartz

Stephen Schwartz was one of many people interviewed for a documetary on Frank Loesser. Towards the end of this video clip, he talks about Loesser's talent. from Frank Loesser Documentary

For a detailed article about Stephen's career (several pages long) see Stephen Schwartz Career article on this site, used with permission of Cabaret Scenes magazine. It includes photos. The article begins: The career of Stephen Schwartz took off almost from the moment the composer/ lyricist was graduated in 1968 from Carnegie Mellon University. In 1969, he wrote the title song for the Broadway comedy Butterflies Are Free, which then was turned into a Columbia film. It might even be fair to say his star was in its ascendancy even before he was graduated, since Pippin, a musical he wrote for the college theatrical society, would hit Broadway big time just a few years late....

Stephen Schwartz's musical influences - What musical influences have helped inspire Schwartz's style? See this article about his history and musical loves based on Carol de Giere's interviews with the composer.

Stephen Schwartz Cut Songs - Stephen calls his cut songs "Murdered Darlings" or Orphans - songs that didn't fit in musicals. Based on Carol de Giere's interviews with the composer.

The Music of Godspell - Includes material from a group interview conducted by Carol de Giere and several musicians, June 2005

Wicked's musical Themes - Includes material from a group interview conducted by Carol de Giere and several musicians, from October 2004

If you are a composer, lyricist, book writer, or in any way involved in writing musicals, see Stephen Schwartz's writing tips. For example here's an answer to most frequently asked question: Which comes first, music or lyrics: "Many people often ask whether music or lyrics come first in writing a song, but if I'm doing both words and music, the answer is that I take the path of least resistance. That can mean either music first, or part of a lyric, or an accompaniment figure. In almost every case, though, I like to start with a title -- not always, but usually -- because it helps to define the landing place of the lyric and the feel of the music. " -- Stephen Schwartz. For more Q and A about Schwartz's writing ideas see Stephen Schwartz's writing tips on Musicalwriters.com

Special feature of Musicalschwartz.com: Stephen Schwartz on Songwriting.

Interview on Talkinbroadway.com - covering Captain Louie, Baker's Wife, and Wicked 5-6-05

Q and A with fans on Broadway.com

Questions include how long did it take to write the Wicked score, what's your composer process, what is the difference between writing songs for a movie and writing songs for the stage? and other questions.

Schwartz, Wicked, Maguire on NPR site [new browser window]

http://www.artspass.com/ offers WICKED interviews with Stephen Schwartz and others.

Schwartz at Chatterbox: Stephen Schwartz was the featured guest for a talk show called Seth's Broadway Chatterbox at Don't Tell Mama on Feb 26th, 2004. Videotapes of Chatterbox programs are available, with profits going to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. For mail order visit www.sethsbroadwaychatterbox.com - mail order form....

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Interview: Enjoy this wonderful, long interview of Stephen by Jem Aswad
ascap.com link

See USA Today "Like father, like son on B'way" article about Scott and Stephen Schwartz [new browser window]

Schwartz songs appear on dozens of CDs by recording artists and are often used for weddings and other special occasions. His work is also featured on the highly recommended Stephen Schwartz album, Reluctant Pilgrim, and Uncharted Territory.- Read about Schwartz recordings.

Composer Stephen Schwartz Biography info:

Note for those arriving at this site by search engine. The name of composer Stephen Schwartz is sometimes misspelled Steven Schwartz or Stephen Swartz. Before about the mid 70's he was known as Steve Schwartz. He considers himself a "writer" as in songwriter, lyricist, writer of music and of shows because he is involved in every detail of the story even when there's a book writer.

Stephen Schwartz official website with Schwartz official bio versions and photos, etc.
http://www.stephenschwartz.com [new browser window] (Opens new browser window).

Schwartz Sheet Music

See individual show pages, The Stephen Schwartz Songbook

Find over sixty Schwartz songs or songbooks at Sheet Music Plus [new browser window] (opens new browser window)

Attention choir directors or choir members: See also our Choral Music from Stephen Schwartz Musicals page

Older News

February 13, 2005, Stephen Schwartz won 2 more Grammys for Wicked, adding to his three for Godspell and Pocahontas. See also awards

December 7th, 2004. Stephen Schwartz was nominated to a position as member of the board of directors for ASCAP AND nominted for a 4th Grammy award on the same day.

The Hardest Part of Love - a picture book for children.

From the publisher: "This new book, an adaptation of Stephen Schwartz's eloquent and affecting song, "The Hardest Part of Love" from the widely popular staged musical CHILDREN OF EDEN and his RELUCTANT PILGRIM CD, will pull at the heartstrings of all parents and elate Stephen Schwartz fans with its beautiful, sophisticated pictures and enclosed CD featuring the songwriter himself." Available at: http://www.stillsonstudio.com/

"For Good" WICKED'S COMPOSER-LYRICIST SINGS "FOR GOOD": In Good Company 17 tracks of duets by Lee Lessack and his friends, including he and Stephen Schwartz singing "For Good."
Carol's review: Track 11 "For Good" is the most nuanced, beautiful, and subtle performance of the song ever. And from two guys - who knew?! Along with beautiful violins and piano accompaniment, Stephen introduced subtle musical variations with this performance.

Find out more about Stephen Schwartz's World, including family, friends, and associates.