Tag Archives: Winnie Holzman

Dramatists Guild National Conference: #writechange – Celebrating Stephen Schwartz

by Robin Byrd

If you weren’t there, you missed a PARTY!  You missed a SHOW!  Other than all us playwrights, here is who was there celebrating Stephen Schwartz in song and song and words and music and song, did I say song?  And not just any song but songs by Stephen Schwartz, oh and Stephen, himself, sat down at the piano and took us for a spin!  Can you tell I am still excited about it?  Michael Kerker was there moderating and if you have ever gone to the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshops held around the country, you know how much fun it is to have Michael and Stephen in the same room.  Brent Barrett and Susan Egan performed – you have not heard a musical till you’ve heard it done right, in character, full of life, exquisitely executed.  Songwriting/musical writing collaborators, Alan Zachary & Michael Weiner performed — stop playing!  Them some bad boys.  Their presentation should be a musical!   John Boswell served as musical director/accompanist; he did not miss a beat.  I just wanted to know how he knew all those songs – the repertoire was seamless.  Thank you ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and Dramatists Guild for letting us all enjoy this evening extraordinaire.

Stephen Schwartz, Michael Kerker, DG
Pictured L to R backstage after the concert: ASCAP’s Michael A. Kerker; Winnie Holzman (librettist, Wicked); Lisa Kron (TONY award winning lyricist and librettist of Fun Home); Stephen Schwartz; Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (composer/lyricist of Broadway’s First Date)

Picture from ASCAP page “Honoring Stephen Schwartz at the DG Conference” http://www.ascap.com/playback/2015/07/faces-and-place/musical-theatre/stephen-schwartz-dg.aspx

Stephen Schwartz is one of the most generous, down-to-earth persons, I have met.  He shares his talent on so many levels, all the time; Stephen Schwartz is a national treasure.  I have learned so much about the spark of creativity and how to mine for gold from just sitting in on his talks.  As a person and as an artist, he deserves every accolade and I am so happy that we can celebrate his musical genius and let him know how much we love him…

Winnie Holzman at the LAFPI Gathering…

by Robin Byrd

When you talk about Wicked, two names come up Winnie Holzman, the book writer and Stephen Schwartz, the composer/lyricist. Winnie spoke at yesterday’s LA FPI Gathering held at Samuel French here in Los Angeles.  She spoke about what inspires us or what shuts us down as writers and how to navigate those waters.  In order to do so, we must know what inspires us and work toward it and we must know what shuts us down and steer away from it.  “Positive Denial” is a process she uses – in positive denial, one does not look at the whole picture.  You have to have the blinders on like a runner who is in denial that anyone is there because they are running their race…  We have to learn to be our own parent – a parent’s job is to encourage their children to develop their gifts and stay away from things that get them off track.

We also have to know what’s normal for a writer – the amnesia that happens when we begin a new piece, the feelings of being less than adequate for the task at hand, and the failures (projects that don’t seem to get picked or get picked but don’t go anywhere) between the home runs.  Writers go through basically the same things regardless of their notoriety.

She talked about her play, Assisted Living, which she wrote with her husband Paul Dooley which looks at the ways in which people change each other without meaning to or knowing that they do.  Assisted Living will be playing in New Brunswick, New Jersey at the George Street Playhouse, January 28 – February 23, 2014.

We all found Winnie to be such a lovely, down-to-earth, and powerfully fierce woman.


For more on writing Wicked with Winnie Holzman & Stephen Schwartz go to the Dramatists Guild Panel at  http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/STAGE-TUBE-Dramatists-Guild-Panel-Stephen-Schwartz-and-Winnie-Holzman-Talk-Writing-WICKED-20130824