Skip to Content | Skip to Navigation | Site Map

About the Book Defying Gravity

Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked

Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspelll to WickedWhen twenty-three-year-old Stephen Schwartz wrote the score for Godspell in 1971, he launched a legendary career in musical theatre and film that included the blockbuster Broadway hits Pippin, The Magic Show, and Wicked. The Academy-Award-winning songwriter also wrote lyrics for three Disney movies (Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Enchanted), as well as original songs for the DreamWorks feature The Prince of Egypt.

For this first authorized career biography on Schwartz, the author draws from eighty hours of interviews with the songwriter, as well as from interviews with his colleagues, friends, and family members. The book delves into the challenging issues of collaboration and the decisions that led to phenomenal hits as well as expensive flops. It includes many never-before-told stories, a series of "Creativity Notes" with insights about artistic life, and more than 200 photographs and illustrations.

Stephen Schwartz in Egypt during research trip for 'The Price of Egypt.'Photos in Defying Gravity

Photo to the left: Stephen Schwartz in Egypt during his research trip for the DreamWorks animated motion picture The Prince of Egypt

Enjoy over 200 photographs and illustrations within the 544 pages of Defying Gravity

Broadway production photos
Pippin, The Magic Show, Rags, and Wicked
Original Godspell cast performing scenes from the show.
The Baker's Wife pre-Broadway tour
Photos of young Patti LuPone, Kurt Peterson, and more.
Schwartz Family and friends
Many never-before-published photos from Stephen Schwartz's collection, as well as from the collections of various cast members.

About the Title

To title her Stephen Schwartz biography, author Carol de Giere followed the example set by other composer biographers of invoking a popular song title. She chose Schwartz's frequently sung piece "Defying Gravity," from his hit musical Wicked. Within Wicked, the song represents the moment when the green girl, Elphaba, realizes she must stand for what she believes in regardless of previous expectations and the response from people around her. The biography portrays a songwriter whose dreams were often dashed and whose work was often criticized, but who found new ways to defy burdening problems and opinions.


For more information: