Stephen Schwartz

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Schwartz, Stephen 1948-


Full name, Stephen Lawrence Schwartz; born March 6, 1948, in New York, NY; son of Stanley Leonard (in business) and Sheila Lorna (a teacher; maiden name, Siegal) Schwartz; married Carole Ann Piasecki (an actress), June 6, 1969; children: Jessica Lauren, Scott Lawrence (a theatre director). Education: Attended Juilliard School, 1960-64; Carnegie Mellon University, B.F.A., 1968. Avocational Interests: Tennis.


Composer, lyricist, and director. Playhouse Theatre, New London, NH, director, 1966; RCA Records, New York City, artist and repertoire agent, 1969-71; John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC, artistic director; American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, director of musical theatre workshops.


Dramatists Guild (council member), Directors Guild, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (national trustee), American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (board member).

Awards, Honors:

Grammy Award, best score for original cast album, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1971, for Godspell; Drama Desk Awards, most promising composer and most promising lyricist, and Variety Critics Poll Award, best composer, all 1971, and Antoinette Perry award nominations, best original score and best original lyrics, 1977, all for Godspell; Trendsetter Award, Billboard, 1971, for Godspell and Mass; Antoinette Perry Award nominations, best original score and best original lyrics, both 1973, for Pippin; Grand Prize, International Film Office, and Dineen Award, National Theatre Arts Conference, both for film version of Godspell; Drama Desk Award, outstanding director of a musical, and Antoinette Perry Award nominations, best original score, best original lyrics, and best book of a musical, all 1978, for Work-ing; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best original lyrics for a score, 1987, for Rags; Annie Award, best individual achievement for music in the field of animation, International Animated Film Society, 1995, Academy Award, best original musical or comedy score, 1996 and Film Award, top box office film, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, 1996, all (with Alan Menken) for Pocahontas; Academy Award, best original song, Golden Globe Award, best original song for a motion picture, Grammy Award, best song written specifically for a motion picture or television, and Film Award, most performed song from a motion picture, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, all (with Menken), 1996, for "Colors of the Wind," Pocahontas; Academy Award nomination (with Menken), best original musical or comedy score, 1997, for The Hunchback of Notre Dame; Academy Award nomination, best original musical or comedy score, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best original score for a motion picture, both (with Hans Zimmer) 1999, for The Prince of Egypt; Academy Award, best original song, Golden Globe Award nomination, best original song for a motion picture, and Golden Satellite Award nomination, best original song in a motion picture, International Press Academy, all 1999, Film Awards, most performed song from a motion picture, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, and Grammy Award nomination, best song written for a motion picture, television, or other visual media, both 2000, all (with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds) for "When You Believe," The Prince of Egypt; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best original score, Drama Desk Award, outstanding lyrics, and Drama Desk Award nomination, outstanding music, all 2004, for Wicked; Academy Award nomination, best original song, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best original song for a motion picture (both with Menken), 2008, for "That's How You Know," and Academy Award nominations (with Menken), best original song for a motion picture, 2008, for "Happy Working Song" and "So Close," all from Enchanted.


Stage Director:

Working, Forty-Sixth Street Theatre, New York City, 1978.

Film Work:

Keyboard musician and musical director, Godspell: A Musical Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew (also known as Godspell), Columbia, 1973.

Song producer, Pocahontas (animated), Buena Vista, 1995.

Music producer, Enchanted, Buena Vista, 2007.

Film Appearances:

ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway (documentary), Regent Releasing, 2007.

The Boys (documentary), Walt Disney, 2008.

Television Work; Specials:

Codirector, "Working" (based on his stage version), American Playhouse, PBS, 1982.

Music performer, Great Moments from Nature, PBS, 1988.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Friends of Gilda, 1993.

The Making of Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," ABC, 1996.

Judge, The 67th Annual Miss America Pageant, ABC, 1998.

Betty Buckley, Bravo, 1999.

Wicked: The Road to Broadway, PBS, 2004.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Cabaret Live!, 2001.

Broadway: The American Musical, 2004.

190 North, 2005.

Spicks and Specks, 2008.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The 58th Annual Tony Awards (also known as The 2004 Tony Awards), 2004.

The 80th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2008.



Reluctant Pilgrim, Midder Music, 1997.

The Stephen Schwartz Album, Varese Sarabande, 2000.

Uncharted Territory, Fynsworth Alley, 2001.

Producer of The Last Sweet Days of Isaac and The Survival of Saint Joan.

Soundtrack Albums Featuring Schwartz's Music, as Performed by Others:

Godspell, Columbia, 1971.

Pippin, Motown, 1973.

The Magic Show, Bell, 1974.


Stage Music; Composer and Lyricist:

Title song, Butterflies Are Free, Booth Theatre, New York City, 1969.

Godspell (musical), Round House Theatre, London, then Cherry Lane Theatre and Promenade Theatre, both New York City, 1971, revived with new lyrics by Schwartz, York Theatre at St. Peters, New York City, 2005.

Pippin (musical), Imperial Theatre, New York City, 1972-77, then Minskoff Theatre, New York City, 1977.

The Magic Show (musical), Cort Theatre, New York City, 1974-78.

The Baker's Wife (musical), 1976.

(And author of book) Working (musical), Forty-Sixth Street Theatre, New York City, 1978.

The Trip (musical), First All-Childrens' Theatre, New York City, 1983.

Personals, Minetta Lane Theatre, New York City, 1985.

Children of Eden (musical), London production, 1991, revised version producer at Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ, 1997.

Songs, Fosse (musical and dance revue), Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 1998-2001.

Wicked (musical), staged reading, New York City, 2001, then George Gershwin Theatre, New York City, 2003—.

Godspell Junior, 2002.

Captain Louie (musical), York Theatre Company, York Theatre at St. Peter's, New York City, then Little Shubert Theatre, New York City, both 2005.

Mit Eventyr (also known as My Fairy Tale), 2005.

Musicals featuring Schwartz's work have been widely performed throughout the United States, for stage, film, and television.

Stage Music; Lyricist Only:

(With Leonard Bernstein) Mass (English text), John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC, 1971.

Rags: Children of the Wind, Mark Hellinger Theatre, New York City, 1986.

Film Music; Composer and Lyricist:

Godspell: A Musical Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew (also known as Godspell), Columbia, 1973.

Echoes (also known as Living Nightmare), Vid America, 1983.

The Prince of Egypt (animated), DreamWorks, 1998.

Film Music; Lyricist Only:

Pocahontas (animated), Buena Vista, 1995.

(And adaptor of Latin lyrics) The Hunchback of Notre Dame (animated), Buena Vista, 1996.

Enchanted, Buena Vista, 2007.

Songs Featured in Films:

"Cold Enough to Snow," Life with Mikey (also known as Give Me a Break), Buena Vista, 1993.

"Winter Light," Noel, Neverland Films/Red Rose Productions, 2004.

Television Music; Series:

Composer of main title theme music, Johnny and the Sprites, 2007.

Television Music; Movies:

Composer and lyricist, Geppetto, ABC, 2000.

Television Music; Specials:

Composer and lyricist, Pippin: His Life and Times (based on his work for the stage musical), 1981.

Composer and lyricist (and author of book) "Working" (based on his stage version), American Playhouse, PBS, 1982.

Great Moments from Nature, PBS, 1988.

Television Music; Episodic:

"The Flowering Oasis," Nature, PBS, 1987.

Children's Books:

The Perfect Peach, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1977.



Stephen Schwartz Official Site,, November 4, 2008.

views updated


Composer and lyricist. Nationality: American. Born: Stephen Michael Schwartz, New York City, 6 March 1948. Education: Studied piano and composition at Julliard School of Music while still in high school; Carnegie Mellon University, B.F.A. in drama, 1968. Career: Worked briefly as a producer for RCA Records, 1968; composer of music and lyrics for theatre, since 1969, and for film, since 1973; wrote title song for the Broadway play Butterflies Are Free, 1969; first major commercial and critical success with Off Broadway musical Godspell, 1972; recorded albums Stephen Michael Schwartz, RCA, 1974, Godspell, Jay 1997, and Reluctant Pilgrim, Midder, 1997; appeared on numerous albums, from 1974. Awards: Academy Awards for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score (with Allen Menken), and Best Music, Song ("Colors of the Wind"; with Menken), Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song-Motion Picture ( "Colors of the Wind"; with Menken), and Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture ("Colors of the Wind"; with Menken), for Pocahontas, 1996; Academy Award for Best Music, Song ("When You Believe"), 1999, and ASCAP Film and Television Music Award for Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures ("When You Believe"; with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds), 2000, for The Prince of Egypt.Agent: Gorfaine & Schwartz Agency, 13245 Riverside, Suite 405, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, U.S.A.

Films as Composer/Lyricist:


Godspell (Greene)


Pippin (Fosse—for TV)


Working (Marshall—for TV) (with others)


Echoes (Seidelman) (with Gerard Bernard Cohen); The Magic Show (Campbell—for TV)


Pocahontas (Gabriel and Goldberg) (lyrics with Alan Menken)


The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Trousdale and Wise) (lyrics with Alan Menken)


The Prince of Egypt (Chapman, Hickner, and Wells) (songs only)


Geppetto (Moore—for TV)

Other Films:


Sweet Hostage (Philips—for TV) (singer)


By SCHWARTZ: articles—

"Carrying the Tunes," interview in People Weekly, 24 July 1995.

"It's An Art: Reflections on a Life in Song," an interview with Jem Aswad, "ASCAP Film and TV Legends,", May 2000.

On SCHWARTZ: articles—

"Songwriter Schwartz Shifts Gears," in Billboard, 28 June 1997.

"Reluctant Pilgrim" (review), in People Weekly, 16 February 1998.

* * *

The steady demise of the original American Broadway musical, combined with the rather surprising rise in mass popularity of the Broadway-style animated movie musical, revived the careers of a select number of Broadway composers and lyricists in the last decade of the 20th century. One of the most welcome career revivals occasioned by this animation renaissance was that of composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz. Born in 1948 in New York City, before the age of 25 Schwartz had composed the songs for Godspell and Pippin, two popular stage hits which also became two of the last late Broadway properties to enter the standard musical theater repertory.

Schwartz studied piano and composition at the Julliard School of Music while still in high school, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a B.F.A. in Drama. While still in college the multi-talented Schwartz did summer stock, playing the multiple roles of director, musical director, and choreographer. Upon graduation he worked as a producer for RCA Victor Records, and shortly thereafter commenced a career in Broadway theater.

Schwartz's first Broadway credit was the title song for the 1969 comedy, Butterflies Are Free, but his greatest success came in 1971, when he composed the songs for the Off-Broadway rock musical Godspell, a modern version of the story of Christ as enacted by 1960s-style hippies. The score included a popular hit, "Day by Day," and that same year Schwartz was selected to contribute the English lyrics to Leonard Bernstein's controversial concert work, "Mass," which opened at the Kennedy Center in Washington. In 1973 Godspell was filmed on location in New York City, but failed to gain the acclaim or commercial success it had earned on stage.

In 1972 Schwartz had his second major success (and his first on Broadway) with the big musical, Pippin, a contemporary and fanciful retelling of the story of the son of Charlemagne, and directed by Bob Fosse. After these two theatrical successes the young composer's career flagged, a falling off at least partially due to the confused state of live Broadway theater from the 1970s on. Schwartz composed several songs for a review showcasing magician Doug Henning, The Magic Show, in 1974, and the score for a 1976 musical entitled The Baker's Wife. Though the latter closed before reaching Broadway, its original cast album achieved cult status and led to several revivals, including one by Trevor Nunn in London in 1988. In 1986 Schwartz provided the lyrics for composer Charles Strouse's music for Rags which, after an unsuccessful Broadway run, went on to a number of well-received revival productions. On his long creative gap between the Pippin in 1972 and Rags in 1986, Schwartz commented in an ASCAP interview: "Basically I just burned out and stopped working. I hid out—I don't know any other way to put it."

Schwartz's last Broadway project of the 1970s was his unusual 1978 musical adaptation of Studs Terkel's book, Working. He both adapted and directed, but contributed only four songs to a pastiche score featuring numbers by a variety of contemporary pop and theater songwriters (including James Taylor and Dorothy Rodgers). Working was filmed for public television's "American Playhouse" series in 1982, and a revised version (featuring new material) eventually opened at the Signature Theater in Washington, D.C. Pippin was also filmed for television in 1981, directed by Fosse and starring William Katt, Martha Ray, and Chita Rivera. The Magic Show was filmed for TV in 1983, with Henning and Didi Conn.

Rags was Schwartz's last contribution to the increasingly risky and British (i.e., Andrew Lloyd Webber) dominated Broadway scene. With the death of lyricist Howard Ashman, Schwartz joined forces with Alan Menken and the Walt Disney Studio. The team of Menken and Ashman had of course created the popular Off-Broadway success, The Little Shop of Horrors, and went on to much greater fame (and fortune) with their work for the Disney animated musicals, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. When Ashman died of AIDS in 1991, Schwartz collaborated on songs for the 1994 Disney film Life with Mikey with Alan Menken (though he was not credited). The films that placed Schwartz squarely back in the public eye, if only for his lyrics, were Pocahontas in 1995 and The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1996. Both scores were nominated for Academy Awards, and Schwartz shared an Oscar with composer Menken for Best Song for "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas. Following these two career-reviving scores Schwartz was assigned to write both the music and lyrics for the big DreamWorks-SKG animated musical spectacle Prince of Egypt in 1998. His song, "When You Believe," earned another Oscar in 1999, and Schwartz also shared a nomination for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy with orchestral score composer, Hans Zimmer. Schwartz returned to Disney in 2000 to compose the songs for a live action television version of Disney's classic Pinocchio, now entitled Geppetto. The revival of Schwartz's career also resulted in his first solo album, Reluctant Pilgrim, and in his joining forces with Disney and ASCAP to oversee their Musical Theater Workshop.

When Broadway music, like all American popular music, changed radically with the extreme cultural and social shifts of the 1960s, Schwartz was one of the few theater composers willing and able to change with it, and to make the transition with any degree of artistic and commercial success. Schwartz's transition from Broadway to animated movie musicals is certainly a welcome one. Songs like "Day by Day" (from Godspell) and "Corner of the World" (from Pippin) are among the best the late-period American musical theater has to offer, and this tradition of quality has now extended into 2000 with his Schwartz's score for Geppetto. Schwartz's songs have always been noted for their witty, well-crafted lyrics, and for their alternatingly exhilarating and moving music. Schwartz's score for Geppetto ranges from droll operatic parodies and operetta-like ensembles to a lyrical and potentially commercial ballad, "Since I Gave My Heart Away," this latter one of the songwriter's best tunes since "Corner of the World."

—Ross Care

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SCHWARTZ, STEPHEN (1948– ), U.S. theater composer. Born in New York City, Schwartz studied piano and composition at the Juilliard School of Music while in high school and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in drama. He returned to New York and soon began to work in the Broadway theater. His first major credit was the title song for the play Butterflies Are Free, which was also used in the movie version. In 1971 he wrote the music and new lyrics for Godspell, for which he won several awards including two Grammys. This was followed by the English texts, in collaboration with Leonard *Bernstein, for Bernstein's Mass, which was commissioned for the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, d.c. The following year he wrote the music and lyrics for Pippin and two years later, The Magic Show. At one point all three shows were running on Broadway simultaneously. After stumbling with The Baker's Wife, in 1976, he wrote the musical version of Studs *Terkel's Working, which he adapted and directed, winning the Drama Desk Award as best director, and contributed four songs to the score. He also co-directed the television production. Next came songs for a one-act children's musical, The Trip, and a children's book, The Perfect Peach. His next major triumph was in collaboration with the composer Alan Menken on the score for the animated Disney feature Pocahontas (1995), for which he received two Academy Awards and another Grammy, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). He also provided songs for the first animated feature for DreamWorks, The Prince of Egypt (1998), for which Schwartz won another Academy Award for the song "When You Believe." In 2003 he returned to Broadway as composer and lyricist of Wicked, a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, which enjoyed a long run.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]