eleven

S1 Ep2: Stephen Schwartz

February 27, 2020 Stephen Schwartz Season 1 Episode 2
eleven
S1 Ep2: Stephen Schwartz
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eleven
S1 Ep2: Stephen Schwartz
Feb 27, 2020 Season 1 Episode 2
Stephen Schwartz

The Oscar, Grammy, Drama Desk, Golden Globe and honorary Tony winner on bringing the official DreamWorks adaptation of The Prince of Egypt to the stage, his thoughts on jukebox musicals rising in popularity, and the new British show that’s got his vote. 

Host: William J Connolly
Produced by: Club 11 London / club11.london
Edit: Jordan Priestley

Show Notes Transcript

The Oscar, Grammy, Drama Desk, Golden Globe and honorary Tony winner on bringing the official DreamWorks adaptation of The Prince of Egypt to the stage, his thoughts on jukebox musicals rising in popularity, and the new British show that’s got his vote. 

Host: William J Connolly
Produced by: Club 11 London / club11.london
Edit: Jordan Priestley

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Hi, my name is Steven Schwartz and you're listening to eleven the official theatre podcast.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Hello and welcome to eleven the official theatre podcast that brings the biggest stars and creatives together in one place to discuss life in the arts. Our guest today is an internationally renowned composer and lyricist in 1976 at the age of just 28 he had three musicals running simultaneously on Broadway, Godspell Pippin, and the magic show. Since then, he's truly changed the landscape of modern musical theatre. He's known internationally for his work with Alan Menken on Disney classics i n chanted, Pocahontas and the hunchback of Notre dam and h is b reakout musical wicked has been performed in more than 130 cities in 16 countries around the world and is now officially the fifth longest running show in Broadway history. Oh, and he's casually been the recipient of three Academy awards f or Grammy awards, a golden globe award, and the Isabelle Stevenson Tony award. He's also a six time Tony nominee and has been presented with 16 lifetime achievement honors has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame and has been inducted into both the theatre hall of fame and the s ongwriters hall of fame after global success of the animation movie of which he wrote both the music and the lyrics. He j oins us today to discuss the official stage adaptation of the Prince of Egypt, which is now playing at London's d ominion theatre and the Academy award winning song. When you believe that's one of his as well, please welcome t o eleven, one of the greatest theatrical giants of all time. Mr . Steven Schwartz. Hi, how are you?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

That guy sounds so impressive to me. I'd like to meet him some time .

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

I feel a little bit exhausted just reading all of that out.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

I got very tired hearing . It's like who is that.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

is that your natural reaction to when people read stuff back to you like it or you Little bit embarrassed.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

It's a little bit embarrassing. Let's , let's face it.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

I mentioned that we are here at the dominion theatre we are backstage. It's very, very exciting cause you are just a few days away from the official launch of the Prince of Egypt and opening night, at this moment in time. It's a brand new piece of work for the stage. How are you feeling?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

I'm feeling very encouraged. We are in the middle of our preview process. obviously we've been changing things every night. No one audience has seen the same show as the audience the next night or the night before. b ut the audience response has been quite encouraging to us and th at, that gives you energy to continue making the changes and just trying to make the show better and better until they finally tell you yo u're o ut of time.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

How often do you get to change it ? So you said that it's a different show every day. Do you make those changes every single day?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Yes. Yeah.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

How, I guess, how does that progress the story? Why would you do that?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

b ecause we want to be trying to tell it as e xcitingly, as efficiently as emotionally and as clearly as we possibly can. And that's what you learn in pr eviews. You can feel where things are working, you can feel where the au dience i s r estless or confused. Obviously we're talking to people after the show and saying, you know, what, what parts didn't you like? What parts didn't you get? a n d you're not goi ng to do every single thing that every single person says, but the whole point of doing theatre is to communicate with an audience. So yeah, we, o ne continues to try and make it better and better, t o do exactly that. you know, just because we got this great reaction for us pr ev iew didn't mean that we were done. and u h, an d w e knew it could be better and, fran kl y when we freeze the show, we'll still know it can be better, but we're, you know, we're making it as good as we possibly can within the time we've got.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

it's interesting you mentioned talking to audience members because the audience really do play an impact on what we see on stage. You really do listen to them and they kind of, I guess part of their creative family, they're kind of like the extra person, I guess.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Of course. Well, that's what theatre is. That's what makes it extremely exciting is because the, the complicity of the audience in this event, which is after all quite an artificial event, if you think about it, you know, movies are literal and they're very real. Even if they're animated, it's you , it's, it's real. People in real landscapes, the events are supposed to look as if they are actually happening. theatre is all about metaphor and theatricality and the audience's imagination supplying part of what's not really there. That's what makes it an incredibly exciting art form to me. But it means the communication with the audience is essential to the job of , of theattrical storytelling.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

So I guess the million dollar question is why now? Why was Prince of Egypt the right story to tell for 2020?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

I think it has a lot of resonance and that's why there suddenly was a ground swell of interest in telling this particular story at this particular time. I mean, if you think about it, u h, the times we're living in people are sort of, there's a lot of like my side, your side, us against them. I 'm only hearing from people with my point of view. t h e, the class or sect or race into which I was born is different than the ot hers and we have to prevail over them. And these are the exact conflicts that we deal with in Prince of Egypt. Obviously it's not a very good way to run a world and th a t sor t of the journey of Prince of Egypt and I would hope the journey of our own world.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

It's interesting how when you are mentioning all of the things that influence your decisions to do the show now, how really relevant it is now. It's the conversations that so many of us are having. I actually am trying to think of a more perfect time for their story and for this show. Have you found that when you've been talking to the audience moments we referenced a moment ago that's been one of the things they were picking up on?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Of course. Yeah. People are talking about how, even though it's a story that took place 5,000 years ago , how much the conflicts and the sort of themes are things that everybody is thinking about and talking about. We, you know, w e're, this is a story of human beings caught up in events which are larger than themselves a nd over which they don't have a great deal of control, even if they're the Pharaoh and should have control over them. They don't. But yet what do we do as individual human beings to live in the world, to make our world better, to be able to get along with our fellow human beings. a nd I think these are issues we 're, we're all dealing with now because there se emed t o be huge events that were being swept up in that we don't have a whole lot of control over. And yet we don't want to have the world and th en w e don't want to, you know, be an endless clash and conflict. So what can we as individuals do about that?

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Yeah, definitely. So when you begin to discuss mounting a full scale production like this, how long does it take you from, I guess that fast germination of an idea through to, you know, right now where we're a few days away from opening, how long does that take?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Musicals take a long time because they're highly collaborative and they're developmental. I believe we've been working on Prince of Egypt, not obviously not every single day, but I'm for about seven years.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Okay.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

For on the stage adaptation since the time when Dreamworks decided, you know, there's a, there's an appetite for a stage version of this show. let's start developing it through all the writing and the various readings and workshops and a couple of small developmental productions t ill now. y eah, I think it's been about seven years to get to this point.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

And was it much convincing for you and Dreamworks to even think about it? Cause the film means a lot to a hell of a lot of people. And I think that right . Even from a fan perspective, very protective of the material as I imagine you will. So offer your weld as well.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Yeah, I think Dreamworks was hesitant for that reason at first. which is why this undertaking began so many years after the film's release. But there was a sort of g roundswell of requests that Dreamworks was getting from various theatre groups, u h, and church groups and regional theatres actually internationally saying we would like to put on some kind of production of Prince of Egypt.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Yep.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Does a stage version exist? obviously we want not to disappoint the fans of the movie. a nd thus far the indication from audience response and from things we're hearing is that we are not disappointing them, but we are not taking the movie and putting it on stage. It's quite different.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

That was giving me my next question is that this is not carbon copy of the movie on stage .

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

It is absolutely not. No, it's, it's considerably different and not just because it's longer and not just because it has more songs. the, you look times have changed and t heatre is a bit of a, you know, in some ways it's a more, if you will, adult medium. It's certainly a more three dimensional medium than fi lm. So, we really reapproached the story. I t hink that tha t one of the things that wasn't much admired about the original film was that there was, there wasn't so much like good guy, bad guy as in traditional animation, but I f eel we've gone even further away from that in the show that we've really tried to make characters who are nuanced and have flaws and are heroic and every single one of them is coming from a point of view that did them seems justified.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

And moving from animation to real life also includes the writing, I believe. Is it 10 new songs for this or is it, is it more, is it 10 songs?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

It's, it's , that's a little bit misleading. Yes. O kay. 10 new songs, but it's not as if, you know, the action grinds to a halt and someone sings a song a nd i t goes on. I've approached it the way I approach any score, you know, like the score to wicked where I'm thinking of a dd, I'm thinking about it as an overall score, and themes that come in and out. y ou know, it's not just write some new songs and pl ug t hem into the story. It's, it's really, in corporating them along with five songs from the movie into an overall score.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Is it nice for you to revisit that? Well, but then as you say, like, you know, start such , you start again and write these new songs. Did you enjoy, I guess, writing for this story again,

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

this musical world is really fun for me because the sort of middle Eastern scale is different than the Western scale and so it leads to different harmonization, different kinds of melodies. The vocal style of singing is a little different. We're using more than movie did a lot of , instrumentation of the region. So musically I think it just has its own sound. And consequently, a s a composer, that's really, e xciting for me to explore.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

How do you feel about , audiences getting to hear new work from you? Is, does that kind of bring the butterflies in t he stomach or is it, or are you kind of quite excited?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

I , I, I feel like that's what I do. You know, I write, I write musicals and usually the audience is hearing all new songs when they come in. t he only thing that I'm a little bit aware of because I, I've seen this ha ppen t o my good friend Al an Macon a nd other people, is p eople always, u h , f eel a little bit more comfortable with songs they've heard before. Someone always gets the reaction of, well, the new songs, they're not really as good as the old songs. Th en w hen they get to know them a little better, when they hear the cast alb et c e tera, then sometimes those songs get embraced. But I know right now that that's going to be happening a little bit and that's just the nature of the game.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

I think if we play this conversation probably with within the next month, everyone will be like, well, I love all the new songs as opposed to the ones from the film. I love the fact that people have that likes like in between period where they're like, well, they're not as good as the, the originals when actually they end up loving them .

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

yeah. One hopes that that will be the ultimate response.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

I've got a funny feeling they will do. A nd you mentioned the cast album I'll have to ask you for people that perhaps can't make it to the d ominion theatre or live in another part of the world, is there g oing t o be an album he planning to do that?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

We have recorded the cast album.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Amazing.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

w e, it is not finished in that, it's not mixed yet or fully mixed. b ut it's in process and I think it's going to be available quite soon.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Oh, fantastic.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

I, I mean we originally had the goal of having it be fully available by press night. I , I don't think we're going to quite meet that goal, but it's going to be pretty quick. and I think it's come out really beautifully. I mean, the recording sounds great. You know, I hope within the mixing process w ill enhance it even further.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

The one thing that I will say looking on social media at the reaction as I'm just about to go see the show is that everyone's talking about now I want to listen to the songs. Like that is definitely one thing. And then if you have social media, I'm sure you've seen that people are saying it was great to experience it live, but now I want to go away, listen to all the songs. So I think that will be really exciting to.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

i am excited to hear that. To be honest. at this point I've been staying away from social media, b ecause you can just read one troll an d, and it can be so it can actually hurt your working process co uld b ecause it's so hurtful. But what we have been doing is asking our producers to be checking social media, an d, and it's been useful to us in fi nding areas where the story has not been as completely communicated as we would hope. And we've, we've tried to address that and then seen, alr ight, a re we still hearing the same criticism? No, we're not hearing that anymore, which means we've probably fixed that. So, so actually the audience response, whether it's been in the theatre or individual audience members to whom we've spoken or social media has actually been very helpful to us in our process.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

It's interesting how important social media is in , I guess the development of modern data. But how did you have those conversations, you know, 10, 15, 20 years ago when you were creating, did you, was that down to word of mouth outside of the theatre? Was it the same sort of principle.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

well you didn't have, you didn't have all these opinions to read? but you still could tell just by sitting in the audience things that were working, things that were not working, and then you would invite as we still do that and we still invite friends and, c olleagues and, and ask them, you know, what worked for you? What didn't work for you? Was there anything you didn't understand? Was there any place you were restless? y o u know, and, and, and then you try to address those, those issues. I, I think it's, I think social media is a great thing for live theatre and for the arts because it's, it's, it's direct communication. That mea ns, you know, in the old days, particularly in the States, if you opened on Broadway, you were very dependent on what one person from the New York times happened to say. And if that critic really liked your show, you're in good shape. And if he or she really disliked the show, it was very difficult. And it's just one person with one opinion. Now because of social media, there are so many opinions out there that you, you get to have a kind of consensus and, and a more direct relationship to the audience. And I think that's very welcome.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Yeah, definitely. Absolutely. And it's so nice to see theatre progressing with the outside world as well. I think it's , you can almost be a little bit too kind of shy to look outwards, whereas actually it feels so collaborative now and it's not , see that to me seems really exciting.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

One of the other exciting things that's happened , in previous of this show, and I don't know how much of that is due to social media, but it's been very exciting for us, is that our a udience i s not only the traditional theatre audience, there are a lot of young people. It's a younger audience than we expected, and it's extremely diverse. Okay? And we've been hearing that a lot of people are there for the, it's their first show ever, or they don't really go to theatre, but they'd heard that this was something that might appeal to them. a nd that's really exciting to sit in that broadly, th at bro ad a spectrum of an audience,

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

a young, diverse audience and theatre just you saying those words is so exciting and actually quite moving to hear that that's really translating so much to your credit and to everyone here. w e're g oing t o take a break community back in 60 seconds.

ADVERTISEMENT:

May stone the acclaimed Dreamworks animation film comes now Prince of Egypt, the extraordinary new musical from the composer of wicked and Godspell featuring the Academy award winning song. When you believe the greatest adventure is now playing at London's dominion theatre both now at the Prince of Egypt. Musical dot com.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Welcome back to eleven. S teven Schwartz i s h ere. Thank you very much. l et's talk about this cast. So it's a cost of 42 and 60 m usicians. I hope I've got that right. b u t let's talk about Christine, Alexia, Luke and Alexia.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Right? It's the most beautiful people on Broadway. I mean on, in the West and the West end.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

I mean it's , it's a pretty impressive lineup. It really is. The creme de LA creme of West end talent. I mean, what's it been like working with this cast and getting to bring this story to life? Cause they are amazing. We saw that from the launch too . We see that from the videos as well, but just stunning.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Well the whole cast is, first of all, they sing really, really well. which to be honest, didn't always used to be the case in the West end. I find that the level of just the vocal ability is higher than when I was working here in the 90s. a nd it's particularly high in this cast, not just with Luke, Liam, Ch r istine an d Lex i, b ut the entire cast, the ensemble, many of whom of course are covering rol es an d wil l pr obably frequently be going on our in really great singers. bu t the level of acting is also very high caus e I t hink just here in London, people just train in that way. So that's been, it's been really exciting because you know that, that what you've written is going to be given its best, pr es entation and therefore if it's not working, you can't just blame the actor. You actually have to fix it. Of course.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

I c an think of a million reasons why t o the answer to this question, but I guess from your perspective, why London and why not anywhere else? Why is London the right place for, for you to g uess to s tart?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Well, first of all, some of it has to do in fact with the level of acting kind of acting that , it, you know, i s, is pretty commonplace in London because a ctress are so well trained. But frankly, the other reason is that, o ur lead producers, Mike McCabe and Neil Laidlaw who are producing in association with th e u niversal theatricals, but ou r, our lead producers are British. And so they're bringing the show basically to their, th eir home constituency, if you will.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

I thrive on pressure. I quite like the idea of pressure and people's thinking, Oh, he's done this before, so that full , I've got to do this. Does, you know the fact that wicked is literally the most successful thing ever and everyone knows about it in his head about it? Is their expectations of that show in you? Does that, is that exciting I guess? Or are you a bit like, Oh gosh, just see this as itself? Like is how do you approach it?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Yeah, I don't, I don't feel any pressure from that. I feel fortunate that it, c reates a t e nsion f ocused on this brand new project and some interest people want to see like, Oh, we liked wicked. Maybe we'll like what he's done next. So that's just helpful, frankly. b u t they're just two completely different projects and I don't really associate one with the other. bu t as I say, I'm grateful for the attention.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

I think it's nice as well that we get to hear a different sound , t o that show with this as well. It feels like we're getting the best of everything from you. I t's, i t's exciting to h ear, b ut I t hink.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

thank you. Well, it's a different world. you know, a nd, and as I said earlier, the, p art of the fun of this is the new instrumentation and the, the harmonies of the middle East that are different than how they sing an d O z. So, ye ah, so it's different, but I, you know, I feel my approach to songwriting is pretty much always going to be the same in that I'm always going to be, t ry ing to get at the emotion of something and, so me thing that makes me feel when I write it or when I have to sing it. and, and that I hope that emotion will translate to the audience. I know that, you kn ow, not everybody in the world is a fan of my approach and I may be a little, uh, y o u kn ow, heart on the sleeve for some people, but, but I 'm always just going to do t h at because that's, that's the way I write.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

And Prince of Egypt, it's a family affair as well. Your son is the director, is that right? So does he boss his dad around?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Of course. Cause he's the director. He totally bosses me around. But you know, we've worked together before where Scott was the director. He did t he stage version of hunchback of N otre Dame, which was fantastic. b ut even before we wo rked t ogether, of course, Scott has, you know, a very good reputation and has done a lot of stuff that had nothing to do with me. b u t we've always had a professional component to our relationship in that I will go to see his shows and, y ou know, early on and give some thoughts to him. He comes to readings of my shows and will give me thoughts. He actually solved a writing problem for us that we were having in wicked when he came to see one of the early read ings. So the point being that nature of our relationship existed before we were working together as writer and director.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Do you think creatively, you have almost like an unspoken connection about things when you work together? Do you feel that, I guess not magic, do you think that there was that connection?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Well, I think we have very similar sensibility in that we tend to like the same things. You know, if we see we , we both usually will like a show or not like a show. However, we don't agree all the time. And I also think that his skill set is quite different from mine. He's extremely visual and has sort of big theatrical ideas of how things can look and how they can be staged. And that's not really my skill. But , I think both of us have very strong storytelling, i mpulses that for both of us telling the story is, is paramount. An d, and so that makes the collaboration, pr etty easy.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

looking at new work here in the West end looking at new work in New York and elsewhere around the world cause there has been created in so many varying different places now. It's really exciting. And tell me about something that's caught your eye. What's been a show that you've either heard of or been to see and thought? Actually that's interesting. I'm , I'm intrigued by that.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

w ell in the West end, I just saw and Ju liet.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Okay.

:

I had a really great time. I have to tell you, I'm not a fan conceptually of jukebox musicals obviously as a composer. I think it's very disappointing that so many shows are just recycling songs and that the audience, you know, that they're depending on the audience responding to a song that they already know when they come in. so I had my backup a little bit about seeing it, but I thought it was really witty and clever and well done and extremely well performed. So, a nd the audience, it was just like a big party in the theatre. And because I was playing hooky from this show, th at was, I sort of needed a party to go to. to n ight. I can't speak about it caus e I h aven't seen it yet, but I'm actually playing hooky again tonight. I'm goin g to g o see Leopold Stott.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Oh yes.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Yeah. You know, I feel like any new work by Tom Stoppard, I want to be there. So I'm really looking forward to that.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Absolutely. One show in the Western that has gone everywhere and it's just about to open in New York is six.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Yeah, I have not. I've met the writers and I liked them very much. See yeah, they're, they're , really, v ery vibrant personalities and I, you know, I understand very talented. I know that there's been very good response early on to , pr e, I don't think six is open yet , y et , b ut , b ut I' ve hea rd, b een hearing very good things in previews, but frankly I haven't seen it here because I have to see it in New York cause I'm a Tony voter. So I figure I want to come in completely fresh to it and uh , a n d see it there. But I've, I've been hearing, you know, the buzz is very good as th ey say.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Definitely have you had any of the songs from it,

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

I've heard nothing.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

It's quite, it's quite a beautiful thing because the cast album is very musical theatre meets pop and there they're obviously always going to be , examples where that's happened before, but it feels like almost like a new step forward. It really j ust feel fresh and exciting and I, I think it's exciting that people are trying new things.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Yeah. I mean, it's interesting on Broadway now , because it's both encouraging and extremely discouraging and disheartening. y ou know, every now and then they'll be, u h , y ou know, there's like one show a year or two shows a year. Like I was a huge fan of hadestown. I just loved it and you know, before that dear Evan Hansen and you know, some other shows, obviously Hamilton, but at the same time, I feel like there's so much playing safe. There's so much. All right, well we're going to do a musical about this pop star or this rock group, or we' re ju st goi ng to re c ycled th ese old songs and, and yo u know, or we're goin g to t ak e this movie and just, you know, because people already liked the movie and we're just goin g to s ti ck some songs in it. tha t 's, that's been pretty discouraging. But every now and then something rises above.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Why do you think that happens? Why do you think this seems to be this trend of movie musicals?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Because producers are playing safe because there's a , they know there's a built in audience for the title. Okay. Now this is very hypocritical of me to say, of course, because here I am doing Prince of Egypt where there is a built in audience for the title. what we hope is that we're going to give the audience something more than they're expecting. And indeed some of these works do that. But I find that a lot of times it's just recycling and we're just, you know, doing something because somebody liked it before and we don't have to work very hard.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Do you? O h, have you even been asked previously to work on jukebox musicals or other pieces of work that you've actually said this? This is not the sort of thing I go for?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Well, I wouldn't have been asked to work on a jukebox musical though though. There are , you know, there are a couple of compilation reviews of my work and actually there is this very sort of strange scrapbook show called snapshots, which is a bunch of my old songs. But with new lyrics y ou tell a different story, which is kind of a jukebox musical, but kind of not. Yes, the lyrics are new. b ut yeah, I mean I have been asked to work on some projects where it was like, Oh, this was a hit movie and now we want to do it as a show. And I've just turned it down because it, unless I can find something new that new in it and something of my own to bring to it, I, I' m j ust not interested in recycling.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

How many projects at any one point do you work on? Do you have multiple or do you just focus on the one?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

No, no. I think when you're a writer you have to throw a lot of spaghetti at the wall because you really do not know what's going to stick. So, you know, I have , a show that a new, t heatre piece that I'm just starting on and a few movie projects that are in various stages of development, I have no idea of any of them will ever see the light of day. So yeah, I think, I think that's what you have to do. If you just concentrate on one thing, you're, you're likely to, you know, have it not happen. And that's pretty disappointing.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

I'm just thinking of all the gems of musicals that are quite finished that you've got kind of on the back burner that perhaps never even see the light of day. That's what.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

I wish everyone would share your enthusiasm and actually produce these shows and movies and you know , sometimes t hat happens and sometimes it doesn't without,

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

I know you won't say and without saying names , but there probably are a couple. I imagine that you think I , we think that should, that should happen. And that.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

of course, yeah. But , but I don't run movie a movie company, so, u h, you know, I'm not in charge of a studio, so it's not up to me.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Fingers crossed, fingers crossed. o kay. We've got a couple more minutes. I wanted to ask you about the lasting im pacts o f Prince of Egypt on your life, fr om the original movie and the animation all the way to now. How do you think this story and this music has changed your life?

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

Well, I think it has made me more aware of other people's point of view and, and that it's not as simple as I'm right and you are wrong. you know, politics, I have very strong opinions. a nd, and it's hard sometimes to think of the, about the people who don't share my point of view as being, as not being evil idiots. b u t of course the y're no t. so m e of them. And, uh , and I think working on a, o n a piece like this gives me a little bit more empathy and understanding and, and, and actually just interest in, in knowing why someone shares a point of view. That's anathema to me or just seems completely benighted. You know, what's behind that? How can I understand that? Is, is there a middle ground? Is there something where I'm seeing things? two f rom two, one sided perspective. I th i nk those sorts of questions are contained in Prince of Egypt and therefore they'r e now i n my head as well.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

Absolutely. S tephen, thank you very much for being on eleven.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ:

My pleasure.

HOST / WILLIAM J CONNOLLY:

A real pleasure to meet you and thank you so much and much as I back them up with the Prince of Egypt and now playing at the dominion theatre in London's West end, you've been listening to eleven, the official theatre p odcast, find out more about eleven at club eleven. Dot. London or via our official social channels.