Stephen Schwartz the Man and the Composer
Born in New York City in 1948, Stephen Schwartz’ career has spanned four decades. His first show on Broadway was as the musical director for The Survival of St. Joan, the first American rock drama. That same year, 1971, Schwartz wrote the music and lyrics for Godspell, for which he won awards including two Grammys. The next year saw the production of the famous Pippin, one of Broadway’s longest-running shows.
Interestingly, both Godspell and Pippin were performed at Carnegie Mellon University, from which Schwartz graduated. Pippin was originally a student musical titled Pippin, Pippin which was written and scored by Schwartz. Schwartz was later hired to score Godspell, originally a thesis project by writer and director John-Michael Tebelak. Both were re-scored once they reached Broadway, and Schwartz has been quoted saying not one piece of music from the college original of Pippin made it into the show we know today.
Perhaps one of the most well-known musicals for which Schwartz wrote the music and lyrics, however, is the Broadway phenomenon Wicked. He discovered the book while on vacation and persuaded the author Gregory Macguire to sell the rights to him as a stage play instead of to Universal as a live-action film. First premiering in San Francisco’s Curran Theater in 1998 and on Broadway in 2003, Wicked won three Tony Awards, six Drama Desk Awards, and a Grammy Award for the original cast album. Famous songs from Wicked include “For Good” and “Defying Gravity”.
The works of Stephen Schwartz are varied and many. He’s not only written music and lyrics for Broadway shows, but he’s worked closely with companies like Disney on many of their most popular movies and shows. Schwartz’ musicals include:
- Godspell (also made into a movie)
- Children of Eden
Movies, including Disney, include:
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- The Prince of Egypt
Stephen Schwartz has won a number of major awards, including three Oscars, three Grammys, a Golden Globe Award, six Tony Awards and the Isbaelle Stevenson Tony Award for “his commitment to serving artists and fostering new talent”. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
Join us on the Minnich Music Facebook for the rest of the month as we explore more of the works of the talented and wonderful Stephen Schwartz!