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The Art of Horror, sneak peek on ISSUU!

The Art of Horror An Illustrated History is filled with rare and unfamiliar images, sourced from archives and private collections around the world. Fans of horror and the unknown will enjoy this book and its 10 chapters of themed genres such as, vampires, zombies, demons, aliens, and more. This book has a wide range of topics starting from the history of horror all the way to the development of art and graphic design. It will also become a major source book for collectors and traders of horror memorabilia. For a sneak peek click here.


Amazingly, there has never been a book quite like The Art of Horror An Illustrated History (October 13, 2015): a celebration of fearful images, compiled and presented by some of the genre’s most respected names. While acknowledging the beginnings of horror-related art in legends and folk tales, the focus of the book is on how the genre has presented itself to the world since the creations of Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley.

00141141The stunning illustrations featured in The Art of Horror will captivate you right from the start. With chapters like, The Blood Is The Life, Man-Made Monsters, and Giant Behemoths, Editor Stephen Jones showcases an unprecedented collection of some 400 of the finest examples of horror-related art. Each chapter begins with an overview of the featured area of the genre, and also contains two special features on specific topics (e.g. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, or the paintings of Clive Barker). These 10 chapters also showcases quotes from artists/illustrators, and a selection from writers and filmmakers, are featured throughout.

Jones and his stellar team of contributors have sourced visuals from archives and private collections (including their own!) worldwide, ensuring an unprecedented selection that is accessible to those discovering the genre. They also include many images that will be rare and unfamiliar to even the most committed fan. From early engravings, via dust jackets, book illustrations, pulp magazines, movie posters, comic books and paintings, to today’s artists working entirely in the digital realm. It’s all here, from the shockingly lurid to the hauntingly beautiful.

Here’s a sneak preview of The Art of Horror An Illustrated History.

Theodore Bikel: The Original Captain Georg von Trapp

Theodore Bikel, who died on Tuesday, toured for decades as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” but, before he mused about being a rich man, Bikel created the role of Baron von Trapp in the original Broadway production of “The Sound of Music.”  In The Sound of Music FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Maria, the von Trapps, and Our Favorite Things, author Barry Monush profiled Bikel.


00123101Being not only authentically Austrian but accomplished at playing the guitar, Theodore Bikel (born in Vienna on May 2, 1924) proved ideal casting for Captain von Trapp. His own family had, in fact, faced a similar dilemma as the Trapps, having to flee Austria once the Nazis took power in 1938. In Bikel’s case, however, being Jewish, the threat was even greater. Settling in Israel, he took an interest in dramatics, joining the Habima Theater in Tel Aviv and then journeying to London to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. A role in a 1948 revival of You Can’t Take It with You led to director Laurence Olivier casting him as one of Stanley and Mitch’s poker-playing pals in the London debut (October 12, 1949) of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Olivier’s wife, Vivien Leigh. This, in turn, brought him his first film, John Huston’s Oscar-winning The African Queen (1951), popping up near the climax as a German sailor. That same year he returned to the West End to play a Russian in Peter Ustinov’s comedy The Love of Four Colonels, which he would stay with for two years.

Continuing his run of supporting roles in movies, Bikel covered nearly every nationality possible, playing a Serbian king in the Oscar-nominated Moulin Rouge (1952); a Belgian opera director in Melba (1953), which featured Robert Morley playing Oscar Hammerstein II’s father); a Dutch doctor living in Canada in The Little Kidnappers (1953); a German naval officer in Above Us the Waves (1955); and a French general in The Pride and the Passion (1956). During this time he made his Broadway debut (February 1955), playing an imposing French police inspector in the short-lived Tonight in Samarkand, followed later that year by the more successful The Lark, as a French captain pressured into helping Joan of Arc (Julie Harris). (The cast included Christopher Plummer, putting the two future Captain von Trapps in the same property for the only time). For playing a doctor in the drama The Rope Dancers (1957), Bikel earned his first Tony nomination. He finally appeared in an American-made movie when Stanley Kramer cast him as the sympathetic southern sheriff in The Defiant Ones (1958), which brought him an Oscar nomination for supporting actor. He was also seen in another of the year’s top releases, as a psychiatrist offering assistance to condemned prisoner Susan Hayward in I Want to Live!, directed by Robert Wise.

After the head of Elektra Records, Jac Holzman, heard Bikel perform, he signed him to his label, launching his second career as a noted folk singer with a 1955 album, known alternately as Theodore Bikel Sings Songs of Israel and Folksongs of Israel. There followed An Actor’s Holiday (1956) and Songs of a Russian Gypsy (1958), among others. He did not shut down this side of his career to concentrate exclusively on TSOM, however, appearing for two concerts at Town Hall on November 29, 1959, only two weeks after the musical’s Broadway opening.

At the time The Sound of Music premiered on Broadway, Bikel was thirty-five, a decade and a year younger than the real Captain von Trapp was at the time he and Maria first crossed paths.

Ian McKellen is the latest Sherlock Holmes!

Today marks the premiere of the new movie ‘Mr. Holmes’ starring Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes. A multitude of actors that have portrayed Holmes through the years, from Nicholas Rowe to Robert Downey Jr. to Benedict Cumberbatch, and in his book,  Sherlock Holmes FAQ, Dave Thompson has picked his favorite — Basil Rathbone.  Here’s an excerpt from Sherlock Holmes FAQ in which talks about the first, and in Thompson’s eyes, the best Holmes on screen:

00117258Basil Rathbone is the template from which all future portrayals of Sherlock Holmes would be drawn.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 13, 1892—that is, in the same month as “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches” brought the first volume of Sherlock Holmes stories to an end in The Strand magazine—Philip St. John Basil Rathbone was the son of a mining engineer, Edgar, and a violinist, Anna.

His filmography includes starring roles in such well-remembered epics as David Copperfield, A Tale of TwoCities, Anna Karenina, Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Last Days of Pompeii, Son of Frankenstein, and The Mark of Zorro. But his crowning glory,at least in terms of his future reputation, arrived in 1939, when he was cast as Sherlock Holmes in 20th Century Fox’s upcoming production of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Still regarded among the definitive retellings of Holmes’s best-known adventure, the movie was only ever intended as a one-off. Its success, however, prompted the studio to swiftly follow up with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a movie ostensibly based upon William Gillette’s original play but scarcely recognizable in any form. Indeed, Rathbone’s second Holmes movie retains only a handful of that earlier piece’s characteristics—a bit of subplot, a couple of characters, and a nice piece of sparring between Holmes and Moriarty. Like so many of Rathbone’s performances, however, his very presence overcomes any attempt to contextualize the story in terms of the original Holmes; he is just such a great actor, with such a formidable grasp on the role, that one is instantly sucked into this tale of fiendish ne’er-do-welling, while admiring the fresh insights into a genuinely Holmesian mind that it delivers.

It is The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, for instance, that introduces moviegoers to the detective’s attempts to discover the most potent insecticide ever known; having trapped some bluebottles inside a brandy glass, he is now plucking his violin at them, “observing the reaction on the common housefly of the chromaticscale.” It is his belief—or, at least, hope—that somewhere within the range of notes, there will be one that will strike such horror into the heart of the pest that it will leave the room directly.


Who was your favorite Holmes?  How does Ian McKellen measure up?  Let us know in the comments section!

 

New edition of The Best American Short Plays (2013-2014)

Applause Books is proud to continue another series in this enormous diversity of contemporary American theater. This new edition of William W. Demastes Best American Short Plays contains fresh-voiced, cutting-edge works by twenty-six playwrights. Demastaes has published widely on modern theater and drama, including Comedy Matters, Spalding Gray’s America, Staging Consciousness, and Theatre of Chaos. As William Demastes brings together his selection of short plays there seems to be a common theme within each play, uncertainty. Below is an introduction as to what will await you upon reading Demastes’ best picks of American Short Plays.


Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.23.01 PM“Uncertain seems to be the watchword of today’s world, filled as it is with surprises, shocks, and even a few delights. Uncertainty brings with it fear and insecurity, and a nostalgic longing for the good old days. But for some, uncertainty means opportunity, and along with that opportunity comes the prospect of change for the better. Fifty years ago, Bob Dylan inserted a catchy phrase into our cultural consciousness: The times they are a-changing. The 1960s did in fact mark changes of all sorts for our world, many good and even revolutionary. It was an amazing time marked by triumph and tragedy both great and small. But think about how much more times have changed in the half-century since Dylan’s declaration. Things not even envisioned by science-fiction visionaries are now part of our daily fabric. Technology has transformed our lives by placing information of all sorts literally at our fingertips. It has made us far more efficient in the workplace. And it has provided us the opportunity to share our lives with anyone at any time from any distance. Of course, this is not all good. Rapid pace and shrinking distance have reduced opportunities to reflect and contemplate. They have cut out times for creative play, for daydreaming, and so many other not-for-profit enterprises that make life worth living.

Then there are all those other changes, the ones that somehow have made us more alienated from one another than ever before. It is fortunate today that political adversaries remain unarmed, as oppositional political enmity has torn our country into enclaves of fear and mistrust. Race relations have reached both new highs and new lows. Sex and gender issues have received unprecedented public exposure, again for good and ill. And religion (traditional as well as New Age) continues its struggle against erosions of faith, leading to visions of godlessness and attendant despair. The triumph of tearing down the cold-war wall has brought on innumerable unintended negative consequences, opening the way for countless brush-fire tyrannies, and making the world in many ways more dangerous than ever before since we can’t even be sure who our enemies are, or what they want, or why they hate us.”


Make sure to read and learn more by purchasing The Best American Short Plays (2013-2014). We would love to hear from you and your thoughts on a short play of your choice within the book.

The Not Necessarily Top Ten Underrated Seinfeld Episodes

Seinfeld FAQ is now available from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books! Within the text, Nicholas Nigro includes many lists, including the one below ranking underrated Seinfeld episodes. Do you agree with this list? Leave a comment below letting us know if you think the list is spot on or if there are some episodes that should be added/removed!

The Not Necessarily Top Ten Underrated Seinfeld Episodes

10. “The Doodle,” where George agonized over whether a woman’s sketch of him was a good or bad sign vis-à-vis a relationship.

9. “The Cheever Letters,” where Susan Ross’s father’s big secret—a longtime, passionate affair with writer John Cheever—was unmasked.

8. “The Pen,” which found Jerry and Elaine in Florida visiting the Seinfelds and learning entirely too much about Jack Klompus’s “astronaut pen.”

7. “The Pony Remark,” frequently considered the episode that first established the Seinfeld benchmark in humor.

6. “The Dinner Party,” where the gang’s determined mission was to procure a chocolate babka and a bottle of wine for a party they were all attending.

5. “The Parking Space,” which considered the urban conundrum of who has the right to street parking space, someone backing in—like George—or someone pulling in nose first.

4. “The Apology,” where George testily bristled over not having received—from his vantage point—a well-deserved “Step Nine” apology from a recovering alcoholic.

3. “The Junior Mint,” where a piece of Kramer’s candy fell into the open body cavity of Elaine’s former boyfriend during a major operation.

2. “The Pilot,” where Jerry and George’s sitcom pilot was at long last cast and shot.

1. “The Abstinence,” where George transformed into a genius, an Elaine a blithering idiot, while they were both abstaining from sex.

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How One Extra Minute Can Make For Your Best Audition Ever

Dramatic Circumstances: On Acting, Singing, and Living Inside the Stories We Tell author William Wesbrooks was recently featured on GetAcceptd! In this blog post, he provides advice for performing your best audition ever!

How One Extra Minute Can Make For Your Best Audition Ever

Here’s the scenario: You wait outside the audition room minutes away from being called through the door. You feel your nerves kicking into “overdrive” and your confidence slipping away. You know that you are prepared to do good work, but experience tells you that your nerves are likely to get in the way.

This is what you do: Give yourself one minute — one full minute — to engage your brain, your imagination, and your power of concentration to move yourself away from nervousness and into your dramatic circumstance. Living inside your story is a much more powerful, and fun, place to be than waiting in a crowded room for your name to be called.

Create Your Dramatic Circumstance

  1. Think of your song as a story in which you are the central character.
  2. Determine what events in your story have brought you to the point where you have to sing this song in order to get what you want.
  3. Determine your other — the person to whom you are singing.
  4. Check in with your body (either sitting or standing) and feel yourself “long” through the torso and “wide” across the chest.
  5. Inhale deeply (3 counts in) and exhale completely (6 counts out).
  6. Imagine that your other is standing in front of you.
  7. Continue your deep breathing and give it some time.

By taking these steps you will learn how to become a part of the story you are telling, and as you spend this time “living inside” your story, you will find that your dramatic circumstance comes to life, your “other” comes to life, and — most importantly — you come to life with increasing clarity, power, and freedom. Most importantly, you will also discover that the time it takes to get inside your story — to get inside each song you prepare — will get shorter and shorter.

Give Yourself a Minute

You are back in the waiting room. You feel your nervous system starting to run amuck.   It’s time for you to take charge. So start by sitting up straight in your chair and finding a spot across the room on which you can focus all of your attention.

  • 15 seconds – Inhale deeply (3 counts in) and exhale completely (6 counts out).
  • 15 seconds – In your imagination, in just a few sentences, tell yourself the events of your story that lead you to this point of interaction with your other.
  • 15 seconds – Allow your imagination to turn that spot across the room into the other person in your story.
  • 15 seconds – In your imagination, again in just a few sentences, recreate the dialogue that compels you to take the action that is your song.

Any performer, from the novice to the experienced professional, knows that fear is the thing that can too often keep us from doing our best work. Fear can erase hours of practice, a well-developed technique, and — most critically — our belief in our own ability. I find — based on my experiences as an actor, director, writer, and teacher — that the steps laid out in the Dramatic Circumstance process are a consistently effective and powerful way to combat the effects of fear on a performer’s work.

Give it a try. I think you’ll be pleased with the results.

https://getacceptd.com/blog/

00103894

Congratulations, David Rothenberg!

Last night marked the 25th Annual Village Awards, presented by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation! GVSHP is a leader in protecting the sense of place and human scale that define the Village’s unique community. GVSHP recognizes those people, places, and organizations which make a significant contribution to the quality of life in Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo. This year, David Rothenberg was one of the Village Award winners!

00138534David Rothenberg’s multilayered life thrust him into Broadway’s brightest lights, prison riots, political campaigns, civil rights sit-ins, and a Central American civil war. In his memoir, Fortune in My Eyes, his journey includes many of the most celebrated names in the theater: Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Sir John Gielgud, Peggy Lee, Alvin Ailey, Lauren Bacall, Christine Ebersole, and numerous others.

He produced an Off-Broadway prison drama, Fortune and Men’s Eyes, which reshaped his life. John Herbert’s chilling play led directly to the creation of the Fortune Society, which has evolved into one of the nation’s most formidable advocacy and service organizations in criminal justice.

Rothenberg was Elizabeth Taylor’s opening night date at the Richard Burton Hamlet – a distant cry from his entering Attica prison during that institution’s famed inmate uprising; these are just two of the experiences revealed in this memoir. As a theater publicist and producer – and as a social activist – he shares experiences with politicians and with anonymous men and women, out of prison, who have fought to reclaim their lives. The human drama of the formerly incarcerated that unfolds in this book is a match for many of the entertainment world’s most fabled characters.

Check out the GVSHP blog about Rothenberg here!

1 Funny Lady, 6 Hilarious Monologue Books

Alisha Gaddis, author of both Women’s Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny and Men’s Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny, was recently interviewed by Rebecca Strassberg of Backstage.com!

00123100“You have an audition. One where you are supposed to be funny. Really funny. They want you to actually make them laugh…in an audition,” writes Alisha Gaddis in the introduction to her book Women’s Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny.

“But you have to have a comedic monologue, and if you see another person do that tuna fish one one more time, you may gouge y
our eyes out! And wedon’t want that. You need your eyes to see the standing ovation that you will get once you snag the job that one of these monologues helps you land.”And with the help of Applause Theatre & Cinema Books and Hal Leonard, humorist, writer, and performer Gaddis is just beginning to deliver on that promise.

A go-getter by nature, the Indiana native currently stars with her husband on the PBS show “Lishy Lou and Lucky Too”—the music for 00130770which won the duo a Latin Grammy—and has been doing standup comedy since her days at NYU. She has acted on and Off-Broadway and has a long list of credits on TV shows, including “Mad Men,” “House,” and others. But Gaddis says she’s always been writing, and she started weekly magazine Say Something Funny…B*tch in 2010.

In conjunction with the magazine, its writers put on Say Something Funny…B*tch live shows until Gaddis saw yet another opportunity.

“Only a select number of people were hearing the words at the shows, and I thought these could really be funny monologues,” she says. “So I wrote the pitch in the middle of the night and sent it to my literary agent.”

Leonard and Applause “thought they were really fresh, really funny, and really current,” she explains.

Since the00130749 book’s publication, five more in the series have been ordered, including collections for men and teen boys (both coming in July), teen girls (currently being edited), kids (set for 2016), and the one Gaddis is most excited about: an LGBT 00130748version.

“There’s not anything like that right now out there, and I’m, like, ‘Come on, let’s be strong for our community!’

“It’s going to be more all-encompassing, so it’ll be all different ages, different categories,” she adds. “I’m working with one of my friends, the president of Swish [Ally Fund], and he’s going to help me guide it and make sure everything’s sussed out properly.”

With over 60 monologues in each book, Gaddis is establishing a monologue empire—the success of which was unanticipated.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Two Inches Down – Saving Arlene in Tarantino’s Death Proof

Dale Sherman, author of Quentin Tarantino FAQ, provides us with a fan-fiction post exploring what might have been if Arlene had survived in Tarantino’s Death Proof.

Two Inches Down – Saving Arlene in Tarantino’s Death Proof

by Dale Sherman

00122479When writing about Death Proof (2007) in the manuscript for the Quentin Tarantino FAQ, I started writing my own alternate version of the film. Oh, sure, that’s a neat thing to do as a fan; but for the author of a book discussing Tarantino? Here I am telling readers about the history of and ramifications facing a movie and suddenly I go all fanboy on everyone. Fortunately, I saw that I was heading down a … well, not a dangerous road, but a rather useless one for the book – who wants to pay to read fan-fiction, after all – and edited the material out soon after finishing the chapter.

Still, the things that bugged me a bit as a viewer kept rolling around in my head, as I know it does for a certain number of Tarantino fans who never have taken to the film as they have to most of his others. We spend half the film with extremely irritating characters who get bumped off, only to spend even more time with a new group of characters re-enacting the first part of the film. Could there have been a better way of handling it? Why bring our old friend Sheriff McGraw in for exposition that doesn’t really mean much to the rest of the film? Why are we introduced to other movie people, including two stunt-women, who are making a movie in essentially the middle of nowhere but don’t know about Stuntman Mike? What is he doing there anyway? Is he working on the film with everyone else? If so, wouldn’t everyone be creeped out that the stuntman who killed several women with his “death proof” car is working on the picture? The community of stunt people is rather tightly knit, wouldn’t Stuntman Mike be like the John Wayne Gacy of stunt-people? Known, hated, and avoided at all costs by everyone else in the profession? The stunt Zoe performs is neat and nail-biting, but could there have been a better way to get her on the hood of the car rather than “this will be cool”? And after all that, the film’s final image may be satisfying, but it seems almost too quick as well.

As I state in the book, the setup of the women partying in the bar and then being wiped out is obviously a type of Psycho influence on the storyline. In Hitchcock’s film, we’re supposed to side with Marion and even come to identify in some ways with Norman Bates as they have dinner and discuss their problems nearly a third of the way into the film. Then Marion dies and the character the audience identified with is gone, leaving us to take on new characters and go into a new direction with the film.

Same here with Stuntman Mike. We’re supposed to like him a bit in the first half of the film and we’re supposed to feel a connection between him and Arlene (Tarantino has stated he purposefully filmed scenes in such a way to make the audience see Arlene as the girl who survives to the end of the slasher film). Then he kills her off and – boom – the audience has to readjust to new character (Zoe Bell and the gang), while knowing Mike deserves to have something nasty happen to him for what he did. Yet we see that his new car isn’t exactly “death proof” and then there’s the odd way he pranks the women and then heads off as if that would be it, instead of the stalking deaths he caused in the first half of the film. And while we know that he’s a killer, why would the new group of women suddenly be out to kill him? Sure, he’s a jerk as far as they know, and dangerous perhaps, but they have no way of knowing that they need to get him. Because of that, their “roaring rampage” seems to make them out to be crazier than Mike.

Yet what if things had been different?

In the scene midway through the film, where Stuntman Mike kills the women in the other car, we see Arlene lower her head right before impact. The wheel of the car then comes flying through and gets her at the tip of her head, snapping her head back and does a lot more damage as it kills her.

Now suppose that Arlene had lowered her head just an inch or two further down? What if that tire had gone through and missed her by “that much”? Furthermore, with it missing her, there’s not only a possibility that she would have survived, but let’s go one step further – what if she emerged alive and without major injuries?

Here’s Stuntman Mike living, as McGraw states in more provocative terms, his sex life through his “death proof” car. He gets injured, but he’s still the survivor. But now there’s Arlene, the woman who he talks into dancing for him and being her own person, walking away from the wreck. She’s “death proof” without the need of a car. How would that affect Mike? More so, how would Arlene be affected in knowing that Mike intentionally killed everyone with his stunt car?

McGraw can’t be involved, but he can certainly put the thoughts into Arlene’s head that Mike is a deviate who killed her friends “for fun” and will likely do so again. Meanwhile, as in the film, Mike is all banged up and needs to stay in the hospital for several months. Arlene can’t do anything to him there, but she can plot her revenge for when the time comes. With this, you can still bring in Zoe Bell and the other stunt people. Have Arlene train with them to get a better understanding of stunt work, how Mike would build such a car, and how to counteract him when she (or they) get a chance. Sure, in reality there’s no way she’d become an expert at any of that within the six months or so Mike is recuperating, but this is the movies after all. You can even throw in Sheriff McGraw with his own thoughts and actions to help catch Mike (little knowing that Arlene has more in mind than simply catching him “in the act”).

In order words, the movie no longer is simply a twist on the slasher film, but one on the revenge thriller. You avoid the odd chase at the end of the film where Mike puts a scare into everyone and then seems to be happy to drive off into the sunset. Instead, we have a cat-and-mouse game between the obsessed killer, Stuntman Mike, and the obsessed avenger, Arlene. Will she push too far and endanger everyone or will he get his chance to claim his “death proof” girl? Will the others try to get her to do the right thing instead of simply get her revenge? Eventually it would all wind up in the car chase as seen in the film, but you could then add in the extra ‘70s spice of a sheriff in pursuit along with them, just like in so many Hal Needham (Smokey and the Bandit) type films of the period, along with the uncertainty of who is actually out to get who. Imagine them working on a film with that stunt on the hood of the car, but with Mike as the other stunt person who has now been pushed too far and wants to see them dead. They go “off-script” by continuing the chase past the filming point and into the main roads, while McGraw is in on the chase, trying to bring them all to justice.

I’m not going to kid anyone. I’m sure that many reading this may think that it’s a bad idea, and certainly that what we got is better than what I’m suggesting. After all, there’s no way anyone is going to say, “let’s remake the film your way, Dale!” Still, it’s hard to not look at all the brilliant work put into that film and wonder what “could have been.” That shows that there was certainly something there worth watching in the first place and therefore not the failure that some make it out to be.

And as for the above fanboy rantings? Well, it is a blog, and it is for free. Simply an added bonus for the fans who want to read more about the film and others done by Tarantino in the Quentin Tarantino FAQ. Just be reassured that you won’t find me going off-track like this in the pages of the book, no matter how fun it is to do so here.

2015 Tony Season and Stephen Schwartz

Congratulations, Stephen Schwartz! Schwartz received an honorary Tony award last night! In light of this recent event, Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked author Carol de Giere has contributed a blog post in honor of the award recipient!

By Carol de Giere, author of Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked (Applause 2008) and The Godspell Experience (Scene 1 Publishing, 2015).

00314791Famed Broadway and film composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz (Pippin, Wicked, et. al.) is not short on recognition by awarding agencies. A glass case in his home is filled with golden Grammy trophies, Oscar statuettes, plaques and various other symbols representing the way his achievements have been honored. Some are remembered in photos, like his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in recognition and images from receiving an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree this year at Carnegie Mellon University where he originally received his B.F.A. in 1968.

His new honor this Tony Award season is an unusual one. He receives the 2015 “Isabelle Stevenson Award” (named for the late president of the American Theatre Wing, Isabelle Stevenson). This award is presented annually to a member of the theatre community who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations.

Although Schwartz received Tony nominations for Godspell, Pippin, Working, Rags, and Wicked, his award from the American Theatre Wing is not for his many achievements but for his years of contributions to help writers around him and for donating his time to important causes. They honor “his commitment to serving artists and fostering new talent through his work with ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, ASCAP Foundation and helping develop new partnerships as President of the Dramatists Guild,” according to a press statement.

Also, he recently served as President of the Dramatist Guild for six years. In that position he worked “…to strengthen and protect the rights of American dramatists, including battling censorship and piracy and improving the relationship between writers and directors, actors and producers,” the press statement adds.

As I was writing his biography, Defying Gravity, I noticed innumerable situations in which he helped other writers with some aspect of their new musical, especially during the annual workshops at ASCAP that he has led for over twenty years. In addition, he regularly performs for benefit concerts organized by friends. He helped with last fall’s Uprising of Love concert at the Gershwin Theatre to benefit and raise awareness of LGBT people in hostile countries. The list goes on.

His award doesn’t mark any kind of ending. Schwartz, now 67 years old, still has many irons in the fire, including a new stage musical Emanuel and Eleonore, scheduled to open in Vienna in the fall of 2016, a stage musical version of the DreamWorks film The Prince of Egypt, and several movie projects, among other things. He took time to write a Foreword to my new book The Godspell Experience, reflecting on his first major success: writing the score for Godspell at age 23.

An online newsletter The Schwartz Scene follows this artist’s ongoing efforts. http://www.theschwartzscene.com/ 

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