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"Through Heaven's Eyes"

from The Prince of Egypt

with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz; vocals by Brian Stokes Mitchell

The Prince of Egypt - Cover image See also The Prince of Egypt for sheet music, DVD, etc

Recordings - Soundtrack Compact Disk icon

Music CDs

The Prince of Egypt Soundtrack
UNI/DreamWorks, 1998 The Prince of Egypt [new browser window]
  • Songs by Stephen Schwartz on the album include: When You Believe (2 versions), Deliver Us/River Lullaby, All I Ever Wanted, Through Heaven's Eyes, Playing with the Big Boys, The Plagues

Stephen Schwartz's comments

Question (posted on his forum at stephenschwartz.com) ... Do you have any interesting memories or things you could share of either the process of writing the lyrics and/or music to Through Heaven's Eyes and/or the process of getting it recorded? And did you choose Brian Stokes Mitchell to play that role or did somebody else?

Answer: ... "Through Heaven's Eyes" is my favorite of the songs in PRINCE OF EGYPT. It was actually the fourth song I wrote for that spot in the movie! The first three were more comedic and were essentially plot-driven, encompassing Moses' time in Midian. The first was called "All in the Attitude" and was kind of a comic number about how poor they all were, and the next two, called "Don't be a Stranger" and "One of Us", were about welcoming Moses into the tribe. For a while, we were going to go with "One of Us", but as the picture developed, Jeffrey Katzenberg began to feel that we needed something more philosophical and thematic in that spot. As we all began to think about it, one of the directors, Steven Hickner, came in with a poem called "The Measure of a Man", and I based the lyric for the song on the philosophy in the poem. The casting of Stokes was partly at my suggestion, since I knew him a bit, but it was a group decision.

Some of the specific images (the "stone on the mountain-top", for instance) were certainly influenced by my trip to the Sinai desert in Egypt.


"Through Heaven's Eyes"


A single thread in a tapestry-
Though its color brightly shine-
Can never see its purpose
In the pattern of the grand design.

And the stone that sits on the very top
Of the mountain's mighty face-
Does it think it's more important
Than the stones that form the base?

So how can you see what your life is worth
Or where your value lies?
You can never see through the eyes of man
You must look at your life,
Look at your life through heaven's eyes.

A lake of gold in the desert sand
Is less than a cool fresh spring-
And to one lost sheep, a shepherd boy
Is greater than the richest king.
If a man lose ev'rything he owns,
Has he truly lost his worth?
Or is it the beginning
Of a new and brighter birth?

So how do you measure the worth of a man-
In wealth or strength or size?
In how much he gained or how much he gave?
The answer will come,
The answer will come to him who tries
To look at his life through heaven's eyes.

And that's why we share all we have with you,
Though there's little to be found.
When all you've got is nothing,
There's a lot to go around.

No life can escape being blown about
By the winds of change and chance,

And though you never know all the steps,
You must learn to join the dance-
You must learn to join the dance.


So how do you judge what a man is worth?
By what he builds or buys?

You can never see with your eyes on earth-
Look through heaven's eyes.
Look at your life,
Look at your life,
Look at your life through heaven's eyes!

"Through Heaven's Eyes" and Brian's Voice

Through Heaven's Eyes and Brian's Voice--By Shawn McCarthy

Originally published for The Schwartz Scene

The name Brian Stokes Mitchell has become an important one in theatre circles across the country and around the world. In recent years, Mitchell has taken his rightful place as one of musical theatre's most accomplished and compelling performers. His powerful stage presence, coupled with his warm baritone, have won him not only the acclaim of the public -- as seen nightly by standing ovations for his performance in KISS ME KATE -- but from the American Theatre Wing as well, which honored him with the 2000 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. He has proved to be both a critic- and crowd-pleaser
in his roles as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in RAGTIME, and Valentin in KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN.

In 1997, Brian (better known as Stokes to his family and friends) was selected by DreamWorks to sing the role of Jethro in the stunningly beautiful animated feature THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, which featured songs by Stephen Schwartz. This was not Brian's first encounter with Stephen's music, however. Growing up in San Diego, California, he appeared as Jesus in his high school's production of GODSPELL.

In THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, Jethro's song, "Through Heaven's Eyes," expresses in vivid metaphors his philosophy and approach to life. Jethro sings directly to Moses, and convinces him to re-examine how he views his existence. "So how can you see what your life is worth/Or where your value lies?/You can never see through the eyes of man/You must look at your life/Look at you life through heaven's eyes."

Simon Wells, one of the movie's directors, describes the moment when the singer recorded the song. "He just came in and set the whole studio on fire." Brenda Chapman, another director on the project, adds, "It was great. I turned around and looked at everyone in the booth as he was singing, and people just had these big grins on their faces, because he WAS Jethro when he was doing this."

In animated film, the actor's voice is of primary importance in bringing to life the character he or she is portraying. Brian's dynamic rendering of "Through Heaven's Eyes," in concert with the spectacular, colorful animation, brings the scene and character to life in one of THE PRINCE OF EGYPT's most breathtaking sequences.

DVD and Video

Prince of Egypt - Video
DreamWorks, 1999
buy The Prince of Egypt (Opens new browswer window to Amazon.com [new browser window]


Prince of Egypt
DreamWorks, 1999

The Prince of Egypt [new browser window]

Don't miss the DVD features

Don't miss the DVD of The Prince of Egypt, which has a couple of incredible extras. The multi-language performance of "When You Believe" brought tears to my eyes. It goes through the whole song with dubbed in vocals in many languages.

The feature on "The Making of The Prince of Egypt" is videotaped or filmed spots with many of the people involved including Speilberg, Katzenberg, Val Kilmer, and all the other stars plus animators, Hans Zimmer, etc. It has a fairly long section (well, maybe 4 minutes) with Stephen Schwartz, where he makes comments on some of his original songs, plays the piano, and talks to performers. We also see a few seconds with him in Egypt during his November 1995 trip to the region with Katzenberg and about a dozen others.

This segment on him shows what I might call the "focused" Stephen, so it's only a tiny window on the guy and his work but I think it gives people who have never met him a little bit of a sense of who he is, in the context of one of his favorite projects. We also see Steve Hickner and others explaining the significance of Stephen's contribution to the film. The whole feature will really add to your awe of what is already an awe-inspiring film.--Carol de Giere, webmaster

Sheet Music sheet music icon

Best Source for The Prince of Egypt: Sheet Music Plus [new browser window] (opens new browser window) for piano/vocal; concert band, etc

See the sheet music for lyrics as well. Buy from Amazon.com: The Prince of Egypt : Piano/Vocal/Guitar

Attention choir directors or choir members: Visit our Choral Music from Stephen Schwartz Musicals page for more options


See www.stephenschwartz.com forum for general discussion.

dvd playerSchwartz musicals on DVD at Amazon.com: Godspell DVD; Pippin DVD; The Magic Show DVD [new browser window]; Working DVD [new browser window]; The Prince of Egypt [new browser window], etc.

DVD Players from Amazon.com

Musicals of Stephen Schwartz:

Music and Lyrics

The Baker's Wife, Children of Eden, Geppetto, Godspell, The Magic Show, Pippin, The Prince of Egypt, Wicked, Working (four of the songs)


Bernstein's Mass, Rags, Disney's Pocahontas, Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

More Songs by Stephen Schwartz

Reluctant Pilgrim, Uncharted Territory, Butterflies are Free theme song, Life with Mikey "Cold Enough to Snow" (lyrics) (Now on Uncharted Territory, Personals (Music for several songs), A My Name is Still Alice (one song), "Manchild Lullaby" (music), and "Rewriting History" (music) See recordings list.