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Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked eBook Kindle
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This is a fantastic book about Stephen Schwartz career, extensively detailed and packed with a huge variety of information.Saiba mais ›
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Although I had seen Godspell in 1972, I was not keenly aware of Mr. Schwartz until my children chose Wicked for their theatre experience when we visited London in 2010. Clearly I was not the first to be blown away by the power of that musical. I had to know more about the creative development of such a work. That lead me to "Defying Gravity." I actually read the last chapter first, then worked to the beginning by chapters. Odd, but true.
Ms. de Giere's exploration of creativity in the person of Mr. Schwartz is one of the clearest views I've found of what it takes to make something magical. She covers the inspiration, the perspiration, the tenacity, setbacks, trouncings and triumph. That has been very helpful for me and my own creative work.
I was particularly touched by the story of how Wicked was reworked after its pre-Broadway run in San Francisco. The authors--Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman--stood their ground to exercise the power to reshape the show before opening in New York in 2003. The theater is much different from cinema. One of the greatest differences is ownership. A dramatist--in this case, Schwartz and Holzman--may LICENSE a show to a producer but as authors they still own it. Wicked's creative recess between San Francisco and New York is perfect proof of that difference. There are so many stakeholders, so much talent demanding to be put to work. So many egos. So much money, so little time. For me, Chapter 28 is the most compelling in "Defying Gravity."
I found "Defying Gravity" to be engaging, uplifting, insightful, and more. I loved it on first reading and have returned several times to appreciate various parts. That's why I'm writing this 5-star review--I love this book. I hope you find this review helpful.
The last section on Wicked goes through the whole creative process of what is going to probably be the most successful musical of all time. A must for budding musical theater writers.
In Carol de Giere's book, "Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz from Godspell to WIcked", she tells the fascinating story of the life of Stephen Schwartz from his college days to "Wicked" and beyond. It's all there from his early successes with "Godspell", "Pippin" and "The Magic Show" to lesser successes with projects in the late 1970's and 1980's then on to winning academy awards for his work on "Pocahontas" and "The Prince of Egypt" and then to the massive success of "Wicked". Anyone who is interested in the works of Mr. Schwartz as well as the interesting stories behind the scenes in the development of Broadway musicals should read this book. It is too bad that more movies haven't been made of Stephen Schwartz's musicals, but you can read about them in Carol's book and you can buy original cast CDs of shows such as "Pippin", "Wicked", "Children of Eden" and "The Baker's Wife" through Amazon. In addition, "The Stephen Schwartz Album" CD was released in 1999. It features Broadway actors singing some of Stephen's songs and it is a tremendous CD. Also, you can find the soundtracks for "Pocahontas", "The Prince of Egypt", "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Enchanted". In the middle of all of his other projects, Stephen also found the time to issue at least two solo CDs, "Uncharted Territory" and "Reluctant Pilgrim". Trust me. You can't go wrong listening to Stephen's music. In my humble opinion, his songs rival those of earlier giants in musical theatre such as Rodgers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Loewe.
The world is a much better place with talented individuals such as Stephen Schwartz and Carol de Giere.
If the book contained nothing more than the "Creativity Notes," it would still be worth ten times the retail price. These concise practical asides are overflowing with illuminating insights into how anyone can improve their artistic work. Ms. de Giere made me feel as if I had Stephen Schwartz right there in my home as my personal creative mentor, sharing his hard-won lessons learned from a remarkable lifetime in the theatre.
Although the book rightly devotes much space to the unmatched "Wicked," I learned just as much from reading about Stephen's struggles with rejection and even failure. Every artist can find an "unlimited" trove of treasure here, in studying a career that spans the vast gaps from early fame to decades-long doldrums and all the way back to unprecedented triumph.
In this magnificent book, Carol de Giere has changed us all for the better, and, yes, for good.
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