STEPHEN SCHWARTZ Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


Biography » theater opera and movie personalities » stephen schwartz


Name: Stephen Schwartz                                                                     
Born: 6 March 1948 New York, New York, United States.                                     
Stephen Lawrence Schwartz (born March 6, 1948) is a well-known American musical           
theater lyricist and composer. In a career already spanning over four decades,             
Schwartz has produced such hit musicals as Godspell (1971), Pippin (1972) and             
Wicked (2003). He has also contributed lyrics for a number of successful films,           
including Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) and Enchanted (2007).     
Along the way, Schwartz has won three Grammy Awards, three Academy Awards and             
garnered six Tony Award nominations.                                                       
Stephen Schwartz was born in New York City and grew up in the area of Williston           
Park, where he attended Mineola High School. He studied piano and composition at           
the Juilliard School of Music while in high school and graduated from Carnegie             
Mellon University in 1968 with a B.F.A. in Drama.                                         
Upon returning New York City, Schwartz went to work as a producer for RCA                 
Records, but shortly thereafter began to work in the Broadway theatre. His first           
major credit was the title song for the play Butterflies Are Free; the song was           
eventually used in the movie version as well.                                             
In 1971, he wrote 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 opened the               
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In 1972, the long-running       
Pippin premiered on Broadway. Schwartz had begun writing songs for Pippin while           
in college, although none of the songs from the college version ended up in the           
Broadway production. Both Pippin and Godspell continue to be frequently produced.         
Two years after Pippin debuted, Schwartz wrote music and lyrics to The Magic               
Show, which ran for just under 2,000 performances. Next were the music and                 
lyrics for The Baker's Wife, which closed before reaching Broadway after a                 
disastrous out-of-town tryout tour in 1976. However, the cast album went on to             
attain cult status, leading to several subsequent productions, including a                 
London production directed by Trevor Nunn in 1990 and, in 2005, a highly–acclaimed       
production at the Papermill Playhouse in New Jersey.                                       
In 1978, Schwartz's next Broadway project was a musical version of Studs Terkel's         
Working, which he adapted and directed, winning the Drama Desk Award as best               
director, and for which he contributed four songs. He also co-directed the                 
television production, which was presented as part of the PBS "American                   
Playhouse" series. In 1977, Schwartz wrote a children's book called The Perfect           
Peach. In the 1980s, Schwartz wrote songs for a one-act musical for children,             
The Trip, which 20 years later was revised, expanded and produced as Captain               
Louie. He then wrote music for three of the songs of an Off-Broadway revue,               
Personals, and lyrics to Charles Strouse's music for the musical Rags.                     
In 1991, Schwartz wrote the music and lyrics for the popular musical Children of           
Eden. He then began working in film, collaborating with composer Alan Menken on           
the scores for the Disney animated features Pocahontas (1995), for which he               
received two Academy Awards, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). He also               
provided songs for DreamWorks' first animated feature, The Prince of Egypt (1998),         
winning another Academy Award for the song When You Believe. He wrote music and           
lyrics for the original television musical, Geppetto (2000), seen on The                   
Wonderful World of Disney. A stage adaptation of this piece premiered in June of           
2006 at The Coterie Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, and was entitled "Geppetto           
and Son."                                                                                 
In 2003, Schwartz returned to Broadway, as composer and lyricist for Wicked, a             
musical based on the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the           
West, which tells the story of the famous Oz characters from the point of view             
of the witches. Schwartz won a Grammy Award for his work as composer and                   
lyricist and producer of Wicked's cast recording. On March 23, 2006, the                   
Broadway production of Wicked passed the 1,000 performance mark, making Schwartz           
one of four composers (the other three being Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jerry Herman,           
and Richard Rodgers) to have three shows last that long on Broadway (the other             
two were Pippin and The Magic Show). In 2007, Schwartz joined Jerry Herman as             
being one of only two composer/lyricists to have three shows run longer than 1,500         
performances on Broadway.                                                                 
Schwartz also wrote lyrics for the successful 2007 Disney film Enchanted, again           
collaborating with Menken. Three songs from the film, "Happy Working Song," "That's       
How You Know," and "So Close," were nominated for the Academy Award for Best               
Original Song. A recent project is incidental music for his son Scott Schwartz's           
adaptation of Willa Cather's My Antonia. He has also written the theme song for           
the new Playhouse Disney show Johnny and the Sprites, starring John Tartaglia.             
He is currently writing an opera based on the film Seance on a Wet Afternoon.