Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked Paperback – Sep 1 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Schwartz's work is thoroughly explored from smash hits like GODSPELL, PIPPIN and WICKED, as well as shows that initially flopped but eventually found their footing thanks to the composer and his collaborator's diligent refining, including CHILDREN OF EDEN, WORKING and THE BAKER's WIFE. An especially unique aspect of the book is the use of "Creative Notes" throughout, giving the reader insight and advice on navigating the challenges of the writing for the theatre. A fair chunk of the book is dedicated to WICKED providing readers with a truly detailed account of the show from the initial idea for the musical through its enormous success as a world-wide phenomenon. Additionally, there are fantastic photos, not only of Schwartz's productions but also shots from his life dating back to his childhood thru more recent times. As well, the book has many "extras" such as the making of the cast recording of WICKED and the specific musical influences on each number in the score of GODSPELL. This is a MUST HAVE for both Schwartz fanatics as well as anyone interested in musical theatre and how it's made.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Stephen Schwartz is a member of the current generation of Broadway composers and lyricists. Probably because there are so few opportunities for individuals with this talent and desire, each generation produces a very small number of successful composers and lyricists. In his case, Schwartz is both a composer and lyricist. Anyone with an interest in show music will have his or her favorite shows and favorite songs. Schwartz is the composer-lyricist of WICKED, my favorite of his shows and an amazing accomplishment. He wrote the lyrics to the songs from Disney's HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (and the German stage production of it) and to the song "If I Never You" from POCAHONTAS, also bordering on masterpieces in my opinion.
The author of this marvelous book is Carol de Giere. This book is not only extremely interesting to read, the author has capured the story of the steps along the path that led Schwartz from childhood to where he is today. This includes such great successes for someone so very young to great diappointments and how he handled them. We are left with an extraordinarily talented artist who received encouragement when he needed it and possessing an abundance of self-confidence.
There have been many movies in the past about composers (including Rodgers and Hart, Kern, Gershwin, and Porter). As I read this book, I thought: This book would make a good basis for a very interesting movie. For those individuals interested in Broadway, Broadway musicals and the people who create them (and creative people in general), I highly recommend this book and compliment the author.
Bettie S. Laven, Oakland, CA
She talks about "Godspell,", and "Pippin," and "The Magic Show," and "The Baker's Wife", and "Working," and "Rags", and finally, and most importantly, de Giere spills the whole story of "Wicked." And she tells amazing backstage stuff. She was actually there.
Buy the book. It's amazing.
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