‘WICKED,’ ‘PIPPIN’ CREATOR STEPHEN SCHWARTZ GETTING DOCUMENTARY TREATMENT
Stephen Schwartz, the musical maestro behind such iconic shows as “Pippin” and “Wicked,” will be the subject of a new documentary from John Scheinfeld.
Entitled “Defying Gravity: From Godspell to Wicked, A Musical Journey,” the film will commence production in 2021 and will track the highs and lows of Schwartz’s remarkable career. Scheinfeld is no stranger to music industry tales, having previously directed “Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary” and “The U.S. vs. John Lennon.”
Schwartz, as a composer and lyricist, has penned some of the most recognizable numbers in stage and film history — a list of hits that includes “Corner of the Sky,” “Colors of the Wind,” and “Day by Day.” His credits include stage shows such as “Godspell” and films such as “Pocahontas” and “Prince of Egypt.” He’s also had some failures, notably the musical bomb “The Baker’s Wife.” Schwartz is an Oscar, Tony, and Grammy winner.
The team of music media producer Spencer Proffer (“Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary”), multiple Tony winner Corey Brunish (“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”) and West End staple Russell Miller (“Blood Brother”) will produce the film, which Scheinfeld will also write in addition to directing. Carol de Giere, author of the Schwartz biography “Defying Gravity,” will serve as a consultant to the producers.
“Stephen is a hugely talented composer and lyricist who embodies a Renaissance spirit,” said Proffer. “Equally enchanting is his humility and eagerness to reveal that the path to his success has been dotted with disappointments and sometimes failures. It’s a rich field to explore, delving into the artistry behind show tunes we’ve all hummed out loud and in our heads for decades.”
“Spencer Proffer and his talented team’s passion for this project is bound to lead to a high-quality documentary,” de Giere said. “By focusing on the artistry of Stephen Schwartz, who is so articulate about his creative process and collaborative experiences, they will be able to capture some of the strategies that audiences can apply to their own creative efforts. ‘Defying Gravity’ as a documentary will also draw us into key moments in American musical theater history and will be treasured by musical enthusiasts for years to come.”
By Brent Lang from Variety
Photo credit – Joan Marcus
New York • London