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Schwartz, Stephen


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.)]

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