Stephen Schwartz has had an undeniable effect on the world of musical theater, with a body of work that includes Broadway hits like Pippin and Wicked, as well as contributions to Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Schwartz's career has spanned multiple decades, and it sounds like it will soon be memorialized in a special way. Variety recently announced that a documentary about Schwartz is currently in the works, titled Defying Gravity: From Godspell to Wicked, A Musical Journey. The documentary, which is expected to begin production in 2021, will follow the highs and lows of Schwartz's career since the early 1970s.
The documentary will be written and directed by John Scheinfeld, who previously worked on musical documentaries Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary and The U.S. vs. John Lennon. 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. Carol de Giere, who previously wrote the Schwartz biography Defying Gravity, will serve as a consultant.
“Stephen is a hugely talented composer and lyricist who embodies a Renaissance spirit,” Proffer said in a statement. “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 added. “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.”
Schwartz's work includes writing Godspell, Pippin, and Wicked, as well as contributing lyrics to the film adaptations of Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Prince of Egypt, and Enchanted. He has won three Grammy Awards, three Academy Awards, and been nominated for six Tony Awards.
What do you think of Schwartz getting his own documentary? Will you be checking out Defying Gravity? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!