The upcoming premiere of Dreamworks' Stephen Schwartz-scored animated film "The Prince of Egypt," will be heralded on Nov. 17 by the release of not one, but three related recordings. There will be, of course, the Schwartz soundtrack. Also in the racks, however, will be two "inspired by" CDs -- a "Nashville" record and an "Inspirational" record. All three will be released on Dreamworks Records.
The soundtrack features a batch of new songs by Schwartz, who has previously written the scores to Disney's animated films Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. (The latter is being turned into a stage musical, set to debut in Berlin next spring.) Among the songs are such titles as "Deliver Us," "All I Ever Wanted," "Through Heaven's Eyes," and "When You Believe."
Lending their voices to the film and its soundtrack are actors Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steve Martin, Danny Glover, Martin Short and -- though he has no speaking role in the movie -- Ragtime star Brian Stokes Mitchell, who sings "Through Heaven's Eyes."
The "Nashville" CD contains 17 songs written by a variety of composers and sung by country artists including Wynonna, Randy Travis and Clint Black. Likewise, the "Inspirational" CD includes the work of various songwriters and artists, among them Boyz II Men and Take 6.
The $60 million movie musical based on the biblical story of Moses is scheduled to open Dec. 18, 1998. An all-star cast has supplied voices: Val Kilmer (Moses), Fiennes (Pharaoh), Glover (Jethro), Pfeiffer (Tzipporah), Martin (Hotep), Short (Huy), Mel Brooks, Natalie Portman, Jeff Goldblum (Aaron), Patrick Stewart (Seti), Sandra Bullock (Miriam) and Helen Mirren (The Queen). Schwartz made a splash in the early 1970s by writing music and lyrics for his biggest hit, Godspell, then wrote lyrics for Leonard Bernstein's Mass. He went on to write music for two more 1970s megahits, Pippin and The Magic Show before beginning a two-decade hitless spell. During that time he wrote respected scores for The Baker's Wife, part of Working, lyrics to Rags and several other projects.
Schwartz returned to the limelight in the 1990s writing lyrics to Alan Menken's music for animated Disney films The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Pocahontas, the latter of which won him an Oscar.
The animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, for which Schwartz provided lyrics to Alan Menken's music, also is being adapted to the stage, by Walt Disney Theatrical Productions.
-- By Robert Simonson and David Lefkowitz