Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked (英語) ペーパーバック – 2008/9/26
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(Applause Books). Defying Gravity takes readers into the creative world of Broadway and film composer Stephen Schwartz, from writing Godspell 's score at age 23 through the making of the megahit Wicked . For this first authorized biography, de Giere draws from 80 hours of interviews with Schwartz and over 100 interviews with his colleagues, friends, and family. Her sympathetic yet frank narrative reveals never-before-told stories and explores both Schwartz's phenomenal hits and expensive flops. The book also includes a series of "Creativity Notes" with insights about artistic life, and more than 200 photographs and illustrations. "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." - Stephen Flaherty, Tony-Award winning composer of Ragtime, Seussical, and Once On This Island "This is a fantastic book, scrapbook, story and photo collection." - Broadwayworld.com "Defying Gravity, which takes its name from the Act 1 closer in Wicked, is not just a he-did-this-then-he-did-this biography: de Giere reconstructs the collaborative process that brought Schwartz's works to the Great White Way." - The Journal News "A wonderful read. And the Wicked section provides a comprehensive account of a thoroughly recondite and even mysterious event: the gestation and birth of a phenomenon." - Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked (the novel), Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men "Trying to reconstruct the writing process of a musical is nearly impossible. Carol de Giere has captured it." - Winnie Holzman, book writer for Wicked (the musical) "This is a loving, in-depth look at the career and process of one of our most important musical theater writers. I am happy to have it on my shelf." - Lynn Ahrens, Tony Award-winning lyricist of Ragtime "A must-have for any of the composer's many fans." - Theatermania.com
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.