Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Defying Gravity

E and I have flown many places but until our last flight, I have never seen or recognized anyone famous on an airplane before. On our flight from Helsinki, Finland to New York City, I sat next to Broadway composer, Stephen Schwartz. Sitting behind Mr. Schwartz was his librettist, Winnie Holzman. In case you didn’t know, they were the creative team behind the hit musical “Wicked”. They were in Helsinki for the Finnish version of “Wicked” that opened at the Helsinki City Theatre on August 26, 2010. Check out the YouTube videos of the event.


Cast bows with brief interviews with Schwartz and Holzman.


Helsinki City Theatre promotional video of “Wicked” sung in Finnish.

Stephen Schwartz has been one of my all time favorite composers. His musical “Pippin” is a favorite of mine. Other stage shows of his include “Godspell”, “The Magic Show”, “Baker’s Wife”, “Working”, and “Children of Eden”. Some of his animated movie scores include “Pocahontas”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, and “Prince of Egypt” and the live-action film “Enchanted”.

Stephen Schwartz autographs his CD for usE and I have met him couple times before. Mr. Schwartz has worked at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto. He was in residence throughout the run of his show “Snapshots” in 2008. He and his son, Scott Schwartz, work-shopped the play “My Antonia” based on the Willa Cather novel in 2002 and staged a full production in 2004. In 2008 we also saw him performing at Broadway by the Bay in San Mateo in “Defying Gravity: Stephen Schwartz and Friends,” a cabaret revue that featured him and NYC performers Liz Callaway, Scott Coulter and Debbie Gravitte. [I took the picture of Stephen Schwartz at the “Defying Gravity” show in San Mateo.]

Mr. Schwartz mentioned that he has a new work premiering in California next summer at the PCPA Theaterfest in Solvang, on the central coast. It will be the American premiere of “My Fairytale”, a musical about Hans Christian Andersen.

I had forgotten that Winnie Holzman was a writer for some of my favorite TV shows of the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s: “The Wonder Years”, “thirtysomething” and “My So-Called Life”.

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