People magazine reports that Michelle Pfeiffer and Sandra Bullock have been signed to provide voices for Stephen Schwartz' animated musical The Prince of Egypt, and that Ralph Fiennes and Val Kilmer are expected to join the cast as well.
Schwartz, who shared two 1996 Oscars March 25 with Alan Menken for their Pocahontas score, will write both music and lyrics for The Prince of Egypt. This musical story of Moses -- the Biblical leader who guided the Jews out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan -- is expected in Christmas 1998 from DreamWorks, the $1 billion entertainment consortium of Stephen Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.
Schwartz is no stranger to Biblical stories. He is composer/lyricist of Godspell and Children of Eden, and wrote lyrics to Leonard Bernstein's Mass. Secularly, Schwartz also wrote Pippin, The Magic Show and The Baker's Wife.
In a 1995 interview with Playbill On-Line, Schwartz tried to downplay the notion that he has a particularly spiritual bent in his work.
"In every single instance, I didn't initiate those projects," he said. "They've been suggested to me. John-Michael's [Tebelak, librettist of Godspell] work was already in existence. It even already had songs -- by cast members. One stayed in ['By My Side']. Children of Eden was suggested to me by a friend in California, and in the early stages he was working on it. And Prince of Egypt was either Jeffrey Katzenberg or Stephen Spielberg's idea. They basically said 'We want to do that story.'" "Of course," Schwartz allowed, "I like those stories because they're very big, emotionally. So, when they're suggested to me, I like doing them. So I'll take some of the blame."
Menken and Schwartz are preparing for the June 1996 opening of their next collaboration, the animated Disney musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which is free to use its gargoyle logo unimpeded, now that Getting Away With Murder is closing.
After Hunchback, both men move on to Biblical projects: Schwartz to Prince of Egypt; Menken to the stage musical King David (slated to open in Caesaria, Israel) with Tim Rice after he completes Hercules with David Zippel.