Schwartz Receives Pittsburgh CLO's Richard Rodgers Award 5/9
Pittsburgh CLO, with the families of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II and The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, will proudly present the 12th Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theater to award-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz. The ceremony will be held at the 2009 CLO Guild's Pink Frolic Ball on May 9, 2009, at the Omni William Penn Hotel.
Established in 1988, the Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theater recognizes The Lifetime contributions of outstanding talents in musical theater. Pittsburgh CLO has presented the Richard Rodgers Award 11 times in recent years to such luminaries as Mary Martin (1988), Dame Julie Andrews (1989), Harold Prince (1991), Sir Cameron Mackintosh (1992), Stephen Sondheim (1993), Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber (1996), Gwen Verdon (2000), Bernadette Peters (2002), Shirley Jones (2007), Kathleen Marshall (2008) and Rob Marshall (2008).
Stephen Schwartz's remarkable musical theater career makes him an ideal choice to join this extraordinary group of recipients. Born in New York City on March 6, 1948, Mr. Schwartz studied piano and composition at the Juilliard School of Music while in high school and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1968 with a B.F.A. in Drama. Upon coming back to live in New York City, he went to work as a producer for RCA Records, but shortly thereafter began to work in the Broadway theater. Mr. Schwartz has contributed music and/or lyrics to Godspell, Pippin, The Magic Show, The Baker's Wife, Working (which he also adapted and directed), Personals, Rags, Children of Eden and the current Broadway hit, Wicked. He collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on the English texts for Bernstein's MASS and wrote the title song for the play and movie Butterflies are Free. For children, he has written songs for two musicals, Captain Louie and Geppetto & Son. For films, he collaborated with Alan Menken on the songs for Disney's "Enchanted" as well as the animated features "Pocahontas" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and wrote the songs for the DreamWorks animated feature "The Prince of Egypt." He has released two CDs of new songs entitled "Reluctant Pilgrim" and "Uncharted Territory," and a book about his career, "Defying Gravity", has recently been released by Applause Books. Under the auspices of the ASCAP Foundation, he runs musical theater workshops in New York and Los Angeles and is also a member of the Council of the Dramatists' Guild. Mr. Schwartz is the recipient of three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards and four Drama Desk Awards.
"It is a privilege to honor Stephen Schwartz with this award," said CLO Executive Producer Van Kaplan. "Stephen's prodigious success on Broadway and in film is just part of the story. He is also committed to nurturing young artists and developing new musicals. In 2007, through a partnership with The American Society of Composers, Authors and Producers (ASCAP) Foundation and The ASCAP Foundation/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop, Stephen began working directly with Pittsburgh CLO and his alma mater Carnegie Mellon University to provide professional workshop opportunities for new musicals in Pittsburgh. Stephen is a most generous collaborator and teacher."
"The Rodgers and Hammerstein families are delighted to present this year's Richard Rodgers Award to Stephen Schwartz," said R&H Organization President Ted Chapin. "Stephen's gifts for lyric, melody and story-telling has enhanced the musical theater globally, and his commitment to 'giving back,' through his musical theater workshops, has been extraordinary."
The event will feature dinner coupled with dynamic CLO performances honoring Mr. Schwartz's celebrated career. Mary Rodgers Guettel, an accomplished composer, author, and screenwriter (who composed a song for Mr. Schwartz's 1978 Broadway musical WORKING) and the daughter of the late Richard Rodgers, will present the Richard Rodgers Award. For more information on tickets for the Richard Rodgers Award presentation, please contact Stephanie Snyder at 412-281-3973 x 234.