Renowned Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz said he loves taking a familiar story or character that his audience already knows and “spinning it” in a new direction.
That’s what he did with the witches in “Wizard of Oz” when he turned the classic tale into a Broadway phenomenon. And that’s what he — and two of his New York colleagues — did this week as they helped build and transform both the confidence level and on-stage performances of a group of Wright State University’s acting and musical theater students.
Schwartz came to town as the first Distinguished Visiting Artist for CELIA (Collaborating, Education Leadership & Innovation in the Arts), a new university program that will bring nationally and internationally known artists to campus for short-term residencies.
“We want to provide as many of our students as possible with a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Hank Dahlman, professor and director of CELIA. “Forty years from now — when our students are on Broadway or singing at the Met — they’ll look back and say they were here and met Stephen Schwartz.”
Dahlman says the New York composer, who once had three major hits on Broadway at the same time — “Godspell,” “Pippin” and “The Magic Show” — was a natural choice for the initial residency.
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