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Press Kit for Defying Gravity: the Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked by Carol de Giere

On this page:

  1. Press Release
  2. To Request an Author Interview
  3. About the book Defying Gravity - Short description
  4. Resources to more Defying Gravity information
  5. Photos of the author Carol de Giere
  6. Photos of the book cover, approx. 6x7in, Color or BW, JPEG 300dpi
  7. Additional photos available upon request
  8. Side Bar Ideas

(Note: for press kit information for Stephen Schwartz, go to Stephen Schwartz's Official web site:

Defying Gravity Press Release: October 2008

Defying Gravity New Stephen Schwartz Career Biography Takes Readers Behind the Scenes from Godspell to Wicked.

From Applause Theatre and Cinema Books in time for the fifth anniversary of Wicked's debut on Broadway comes the first career biography of Broadway and film composer Stephen Schwartz.

Carol de Giere’s new book Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from “Godspell” to “Wicked” offers readers a colorful journey through the world of musical songwriter Schwartz whose scores for Godspell, Pippin, The Magic Show, Wicked and others, have captivated audiences on Broadway and around the world. Tony Award-winner Stephen Flaherty confirms, “In Defying Gravity, Carol de Giere pulls back the curtain and gives us a fascinating glimpse into the creative process of one of the musical theater's greatest wizards.”

This year at age sixty, Schwartz reached a new threshold by way of his score for the international blockbuster hit musical, Wicked. In July, Wicked passed Pippin and The Magic Show in number of continuous performances on Broadway. All three have run over 1900 performances, making Stephen Schwartz the only songwriter in Broadway history with three shows that have reached this milestone.

Defying Gravity is an important addition to musical theatre history and also serves as an inspirational guide for other creative artists, as well as a memorable album of photos, quotations, and lyrics to satisfy musical theatre and film fans.

Carol de Giere has constructed the first book-length account of this songwriter’s working process and professional odyssey. To write Defying Gravity she drew from her eighty hours of interviews with Schwartz, as well as the thoughts and memories of his family, friends, and colleagues. The 544-page paperback book includes more than 200 photographs and illustrations, including some never-before-published sheet music handwritten by Schwartz.

As revealed in the “Table of Contents” posted on the book’s official site,, Defying Gravity opens with Schwartz’s blossoming enthusiasm for musicals in childhood and carries through to the present day with the ongoing success of Wicked. It includes his experiences composing for Disney and DreamWorks films. Also sprinkled throughout is a series of “Creativity Notes.” In these sections, Schwartz shares his creative methods, tackling issues that range from coming up with ideas to dealing with criticism.

With an especially long section on Wicked (over one hundred pages), fans will find many new insights into the musical. Schwartz’s collaborator, Wicked’s bookwriter Winnie Holzman, comments, "Trying to reconstruct the writing process of a musical is nearly impossible. Carol de Giere has captured it."

Ms. de Giere “met” Stephen Schwartz online while working on a freelance writing assignment. Intrigued by Schwartz’s comments about his creative process posted on his site,, she launched her book project and her own website She and her husband, Terry, moved from Iowa to Connecticut so that Carol could more easily conduct interviews with the Connecticut-based songwriter, as well as with his Broadway colleagues. Defying Gravity, her first book, is the culmination of eight years of effort.

  • $24.95   Paperback Original
  • 544 pages   
  • More than 200 B&W photos and illustrations throughout
  • ISBN:  9781-55783-75-5
  • Applause Theatre & Cinema Books
  • An Imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publisher

Request an interview with Author Carol de Giere

Contact the author for interviews or additional photos

Please write the word "PRESS" or "INTERVIEW" in the subject heading of your email and send it to:
10 LIBRARY PL #909

About Defying Gravity - A Short Description

When 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, author Carol de Giere 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.

Rsources for further information about Defying Gravity

Contact the author for further information or additional photos

Please write the word "PRESS" in the subject heading of your email and send it to:

Photographs of author Carol de Giere

(To download photos, right click on photo OR click on the link and then right click on the photo to use the "save image as" feature).

Small (below) or link to higher res: Carol de Giere author photo
Carol de Giere

Photographs of the book cover

Defying Gravity book cover 6x7in JPEG color.

JPEG Cover Color 6x7in/15x18cm, 300dpi, approx 400KB
Defying Gravity book cover 3D 6x7in JPEG color.

JPEG Book Color 6x7in/15x18cm, 300dpi, approx 400KB
Defying Gravity book cover 6x7in JPEG black and white.

JPEG Cover Black and White 6x7in/15x18cm, 300dpi, approx 200KB
Defying Gravity book cover 3D 6x7in JPEG black and white.

JPEG Book Black and White 6x7in/15x18cm, 300dpi, approx 200KB
Additional Photos Available Upon Request
Additional photos may be requested from Carol and Terry de Giere. These include Stephen Schwartz at the piano at age 7, Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman in front of Schwartz's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, various other Schwartz photos, Carol de Giere and Gregory Maguire in front of the Wicked poster in San Francisco. Please write to

Side Bar Ideas

Four Essential Books for Wicked Enthusiasts

  1. Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked.
    Defying Gravity
    covers the full story of Wicked's development, from Stephen Schwartz's conception of the musical in 1996 through it's opening on Broadway in October of 2003. It includes Schwartz's original outline for the musical and some of his handwritten sheet music. (Carol de Giere, Applause, September 2008).
  2. Wicked: the Grimmerie.
    A special souvenir book for fans. This essential book provides lyrics, many color and black and white photos, a partial version of the script, and comments by cast members and others. (David Cote, Hyperion, 2005).
  3. Wicked Songbook.
    Music publisher Hal Leonard has developed a full series of music books based on the Wicked score, including the popular Piano-Vocal selections.
  4. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West - Novel
    The tie-in version of Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West features 16 pages of photos from the musical. (Maguire, Harper Paperbacks, 2004)

More about Stephen Schwartz

Stephen Schwartz Musical Timeline

The Musicals of Stephen Schwartz

Stage Musicals
1971: Godspell — (music and new lyrics)
1971: Bernstein’s Mass — (additional lyrics)
1972: Pippin — (music and lyrics)
1974: The Magic Show — (music and lyrics)
1976: The Baker’s Wife — (music and lyrics)
1978: Working — (four songs, direction and co-adaptation)
1985: Personals — (music for three songs)
1986: Rags — (lyrics)
1991: Children of Eden — (music and lyrics)
1999: Der Glöckner von Notre Dame — (lyrics)
2003: Wicked — (music and lyrics)
2005: Captain Louie — (music and lyrics)
2005: Mit Eventyr — (music and lyrics for eight songs)
2006: Geppetto & Son — (music and lyrics)
Movie Musicals
1973: Godspell — (music and new lyrics)
1995: Pocahontas — (lyrics)
1996: The Hunchback of Notre Dame — (lyrics)
1998: The Prince of Egypt — (music and lyrics)
2000: Geppetto — (music and lyrics)
2007: Enchanted — (lyrics)

Find out more by visiting

Stimulate Your Creativity

  • Defying Gravity includes many "Creativity Notes" that explore creative strategies the Schwartz and others used in making musicals. Author Carol de Giere also recommends:
  • Twyla Tharp's best seller The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life (Simon & Schuster, 2005). Tharp's book is based on her many years of experience as an artist who works with other artists.
  • Julia Cameron's best selling guide The Artist's Way (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 10th edition, 2002), offering a 12-step program that helps artistic people pursue their creative dreams.
  • Eric Maisel's Creativity for Life: Practical Advice on the Artist's Personality, and Career (New World Library, 2007), a smorgasbord of examples and tactics.