“Defying Gravity” never looked so effortless for esteemed composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz, who recently celebrated his 70th birthday at a star-studded concert hosted by Paul Shaffer and The Dramatist Guild Foundation at the Hudson Theatre this past April.
Schwartz is known for devising the music and lyrics to the Broadway hit Wicked, and for his contributions to musical theatre classics like Godspell, Pippin, The Magic Show, Working (which he adapted and directed as well), Rags and Children of Eden. Schwartz is the winner of three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, and the Isabelle Stevenson special Tony Award.
A heartfelt video montage featuring Broadway superstars Kristen Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Patti Lupone, Victor Garder and Kelli O’Hara kicked things off on a high note on the night of Monday, April 23rd. The renowned gang wished Schwartz a Happy Birthday and expressed a deep gratitude for his contributions to the theatrical community.
Patina Miller, followed by brothers Casey and Corey Cott who gave their rendition of Wicked’s ‘What is this Feeling,” began the showcase of extraordinary talents. Other notable performances included Darren Criss’s acoustic rendering of The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s ‘Out There,’ and Tony Award-winner Ben Platt’s jaw-dropping performance of Godspell’s ‘All Good Gifts.’
The Dramatist Guild Foundation’s President, Andrew Lippa, and host Paul Shaffer accredited many thanks to Schwartz and threw in a triple-threat performance of ‘All for the Best’ from Godspell.
Recitals from Alan Menken, Renee Fleming, songwriting duo Justin Paul and Benjamin Pasek all led up to a notable performance by Stephen Schwartz himself. The highly anticipated appearance highlighted a new song from an upcoming film Schwartz has embarked on.
The celebration continued at the Hudson Theatre’s Ambassadors Lounge as guest dived into slices of birthday cake and champagne toasts.