Stephen Schwartz was born in New York City on March 6, 1948. A musical theatre composer, Schwartz studied piano and compostion at the Julliard School of Music while in high school. He then went on to study drama, earning his Bachelor... [more]
Stephen Schwartz was born in New York City on March 6, 1948. A musical theatre composer, Schwartz studied piano and compostion at the Julliard School of Music while in high school. He then went on to study drama, earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University, in the mid 60's.
Schwartz has had a long career as a musical theatre composer, one that continues to resucitate itself throughout the late decades of the 20th century and well into the 21st. This is largely due to his ability to streamline the contemporary pop idiom into relevant musical theatre compostions. He had many successes early on in his career, with his first Broadway show being the hit Pippin. Pippin tells the tale of Charlemagne's the Great's son Pippin, as he tries to find his place in the world through war, religion and love. Pippin used the unconventional narrative of a group of traveling players who re-enact his story . He followed up Pippin by also writing the music and lyrics to The Magic Show, an odd little evening of magic and music, it featured the real life magician Doug Henning and was full of Schwartz's comtemporary rock funkP. These two hits were followed by Godspell, the pageanty funky rock musical revamping the later stories of the Bible. By this point, Stephen Schwartz had three musicals runnign on Broadway, the youngest composer ever to hold that title, not to mention that rareity.
Schwartz then wrote The Baker's Wife, the story of an old French baker who takes a young wife in his small town, however she soon falls in love with a young romantic and flees the baker. While Schwartz's score was lovely, the show closed on the road. He then contributed four songs to the short-lived Broadway musical working, based on Stud Terkel's novel of the same name. He then wrote the children's musical Captain Louie, as well as contributing lyrics to Charles Strouse's score for Rags, a musical about the immigrant experience in America, another Broadway flop. He also wrote the music and lyrics for Children of Eden, a musical that flopped in London and later went on to have tremendous regional success throughout America.
Hollywood came calling and Schwartz worked on the Disney animated musical films Pocohantas, recieving two Academy Awards and a Grammy for his successful collaboration with Alan Menken, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Next, he worked on the Dreamwork's animated film The Prince of Egypt, winning another Academy Award.
In the fall of 2003, Schwartz returned to Broadway with the new musical Wicked. Wicked tells the behind the scenes tale of the witches of Oz, Glinda and Elphaba. An unparalleled success, Wicked is on the fast track to becoming one of the most lucrative musicals of all time, spanning multiple tours and productions worldwide. With Wicked, Schwartz was back on top of the contemporary Broadway sound that he had secured three decades earlier.
While Schwartz has recieved a Tony nomination for every one of his Broadway scores, he has never won the award. Beloved by fans, he still gets the rough treatment from critics who do not forgive the mass appeal of his contemporary work. [show less]