September 21, 2011

Stephen Schwartz ('68) Gives Master Class to Musical Theatre Students

Filed under Alumni

By Kaitlin Mickere, Photos by Louis Stein

Yesterday, Junior and Senior Musical Theatre students of the School of Drama got a special treat—performing Stephen Schwartz songs for the award-winning composer/librettist himself.

Mr. Schwartz, whose credits include successful shows like GODSPELL, PIPPIN and the recent Broadway hit WICKED, has always made time to return to the School of Drama to conduct master classes.

Students were eager to perform for Mr. Schwartz, who offered practical advice on auditioning. As he listened to Broadway standards and songs from his own shows, he stressed the importance of discovery and “tracking the story of the song”. He stressed that actors must live in the moment and make discoveries each time they perform a piece. Mr. Schwartz even got to hear his favorite song, “Go the Distance,” from Disney’s HERCULES.

Mr. Schwartz seemed impressed with the level of technical mastery and acting talents of the students. He credited the training they have received from Gary Kline and Thomas Douglas, both of whom are Associate Teaching Professors of Voice at the School of Drama. Schwartz said that directors and casting personnel are always impressed with alums of the School of Drama in professional auditions, saying, “When you see Carnegie Mellon University at the bottom of that resume, you think to yourself, ‘This person is going to be good’”.