Ep. 22: Defying Gravity – Carol de Giere on Stephen Schwartz and ‘Pippin’

Ep. 22: Defying Gravity – Carol de Giere on Stephen Schwartz and ‘Pippin’

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When I was a kid, I studied classical piano. I’d learn one song a year and then practice that song over and over and over again to perfect it for competition. As I got older, all I wanted to do was play popular music, or what in my mind was popular music, which consisted of movie themes and show tunes. And one of the first songs I learned to play outside my classical repertoire was ‘Corner of the Sky’ from the musical PIPPIN. It is without a doubt one of my favorite musical theater songs and PIPPIN is one of my favorite shows. So, I was so excited to get a chance to chat once again with Carol de Giere about the show. You might remember, Carol was my guest on Episode 14 of this podcast, talking about the musical GODSPELL and her book The Godspell Experience. Well, in addition to that book, Carol also wrote the biography Defying Gravity, which documents Stephen Schwartz’s career from GODSPELL to WICKED. In DEFYING GRAVITY she writes about the evolution of PIPPIN, Stephen’s experience working with Bob Fosse which was recently dramatized in the mini-series ‘Fosse/Verdon,’ and the 2013 revival and what has now become known as the Theo ending.

Raleigh Little Theatre’s production of PIPPIN runs through June 16th. For more information visit: https://raleighlittletheatre.org/. All of the music used in this episode is from the RLT production (see musical credits below). In addition, we are giving away a pair of tickets to one of our lucky listeners. To be entered for a chance to win tickets to the June 6th performance at Raleigh Little Theatre, follow @rduonstage on Facebook or Instagram and leave a comment on one of our podcast posts. The drawing will be held on Tuesday night, June 4th. The winner will be notified by email or messenger no later than Wednesday, June 5th.

About the Guest

Carol de Giere is the author of two books that provide behind-the-scenes stories on popular musicals. The first book Defying Gravity takes readers into the world of the award-winning composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz known for the musicals WICKED, PIPPIN and other Broadway shows and films. The second book The Godspell Experience: Inside a Transformative Musical records the history and song-by-song details for GODSPELL. Both books serve as historical records in addition to offering insights on the creative process for fans of musicals, working writers, and performers. For more information visit:


Special thanks to Leonard Lopate for allowing RDU on Stage to use an excerpt of his podcast interview with Stephen Schwartz. To hear Leonard’s complete interview with both Carol and Stephen on the Leonard Lopate at Large podcast, click here.

Special thanks also to Patrick Torres, Artistic Director of Raleigh Little Theatre (RLT) and Director of the 2019 RLT production of PIPPIN which runs through June 16th.

On the Right Track, music/lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, performed by Deanna Richards and Jesse Farmer from the Raleigh Little Theatre 2019 production directed by Patrick Torres.

Magic to Do, music/lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, performed by the cast of the Raleigh Little Theatre 2019 production.

Corner of the Sky, music/lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, performed by Jesse Farmer from the Raleigh Little Theatre 2019 production.

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