Composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz, known for such fanciful musicals as Godspell and Pippin, is writing a stage musical of Gregory Maguire's novel, "Wicked," which tells the story of the early life of The Wicked Witch of the West, of L. Frank Baum's "Oz" stories.
Schwartz told NY-1's "OnStage" program the week of Aug. 7 that he has the rights to the adult fable and that his librettist is Winnie Holzman, creator of the cult 1994 TV series, "My So-Called Life," and a contributor to TV's "thirtysomething." There is no timetable for production, he told NY-1, but he said he and Holzman expect to have a draft of Act One completed by September. Schwartz is writing music and lyrics.
"Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West," told in the third-person, is Maguire's first novel, and is an adult take on the story of the famous hag created by L. Frank Baum and made even more popular in the 1939 film, "The Wizard of Oz." The novel presents the early life and origin of the character -- the story of a little green girl who grows up to become the Wicked Witch of the West. His next book was "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister," a take on the "Cinderella" story.
Of "Wicked," author Wally Lamb ("I Know This Much is True," "She's Come Undone") wrote: "Maguire's adult fable examines some of literature's major themes: moral ambiguity, the nature of evil, the bittersweet dividends of power, the high costs of love."
Schwartz has served as composer and lyricist for Pippin, Godspell, The Baker's Wife, the animated picture, "Prince of Egypt," and was lyricist for Rags, the films, "Pocahontas" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." He also wrote songs for the 2000 TV movie, "Gepetto."