Stephen Lawrence Schwartz is an American composer and lyricist who was born of the 6th March 1948 in New York City. Graduating from High School in 1964 he went on to the Juilliard School to study piano and composition, and graduated in 1968 from Carnegie Mellon University after studying drama.
When he returned to New York after graduation he worked for RCA Records as a producer before turning his attentions to the world of Broadway theatre. After working on the American Rock Opera The Survival of St Joan he moved on to create the title song for Butterflies are Free, a play by Leonard Gershe which went on to be made into a movie starring Goldie Hawn.
1970s - 1980s
In 1971 he created the songs and score for the musical Godspell which was really the work that brought Schwartz to the world's attention, winning two Grammys. The score features some of his best known early songs including "Day by Day" and "Turn Back O Man". After creating the text for Leonard Bernstein's Mass he moved on to his next project, the musical Pippin. He'd had the idea for the musical whilst in college and had written songs for the show whilst there, but none of those found their way into the Broadway production which opened in 1972. After Pippin Schwartz created The Magic Show, a lesser known show now, but holds some fabulous songs including "Lion Tamer" and "West End Avenue". With the creation of The Magic Show, which ran for over 2,000 performances starting in 194, Schwartz had three shows running concurrently in New York, he was only 26 at the time. Although The Baker's Wife, his next creation, closed before making it's Broadway debut the album has always been greatly appreciated, and one of Schwartz's most famous female solos, the epic "Meadowlark" comes from this musical. Over the next few years he worked on more offbeat shows, including the Off-Broadway revue Personals, the children's musical The Trip and also wrote the lyrics for Rags whose music was written by Charles Strouse. In 1991 Stephen created the epic score and songs for John Caird's project Children of Eden.
In the mid 1990s Schwartz was approached to create lyrics for Walt Disney's animation arm for Pocahontas for which he received two Oscars for both the score and the song "Colors of the Wind" with composer Alan Menken. The two teamed up again with Disney in 1996 to create The Hunchback of Notre Dame, possibly Disney's darkest musical animation to that date. From here Stephen was approached to work on the first of Dreamworks SKG's ventures into animation by Jeffrey Katzenberg. Stephen created the score and the Oscar winning song "When You Believe" for the movie The Prince of Egypt. He also created the score for the Disney television movie Gepetto which was later turned into a stage production.
In 2003 Schwartz was back on Broadway with the musical Wicked based on the novel by Gregory Maguire "Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West", which is a prologue to The Wizard of Oz. When the musical passed 1,500 performances on Broadway he became only the second composer/lyricist (after Jerry Herman) to have had 3 musicals achieve this. He won a Grammy award for his work as composer, lyricist and producer of the original cast recording of Wicked. In 2007 he returned to his Disney & Menken collaborations to create the lyrics for the movie Enchanted which found three of the songs from the film nominated for Best Song at the Oscars.
He is presently working on several projects including the highly anticipated Houdini which is expected in around 2015-16.
Selected list of Musicals and Movies for which Stephen Schwartz has composed songs;
Meadowlark | Spark of Creation | The Wizard & I | Stranger to the Rain | Lion Tamer | Kind of Woman | Popular | Blame it on the Summer Night | Chanson | No Time At All | I'm not that Girl | Turn Back O Man | When You Believe | West End Avenue | Ain't it Good | No Good Deed