Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Stephen Schwartz

He was born on the same day as my wife, but that can't be the reason I like him so much. From the first moment we met we communicated on the same wave length. I knew of course that Steve had written his first Broadway hit - Godspell - when he was 21, and had another hit - Pippin - in 1972. We met in 1999 in Berlin. He and Alan Menken had come over from the States to work with me on the first stage production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a musical based on their Disney movie score. Now, I could try to make a list of why we understood each other so well, but I rather sum it up: We both believe that dramatic structure is most important, that songs need to have turning points and that lyrics must be simple without being stupid. He treated me as equal, I looked up to him and still do. His masterwork is Wicked which is also his greatest commercial success, breaking box office records since its opening in 2003. I regard this show as a milestone in the history of the musical theatre, because it is the first to merge the Broadway tradition with the more "operatic" European style. Needless to say that Stephen Schwartz has won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics, three Grammy Awards, three Academy Awards and has been nominated for six Tony Awards. Many more to come, and all fully deserved.

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