In "The Schwartz Scene," an e-mail newsletter to Stephen Schwartz fans, the Tony-nominated composer writes, "Next year is the bicentennial of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen, and his native Denmark is going all out to celebrate it. Among the ways is the commissioning of a musical theatre piece about Andersen, which will be presented in one of the major theatres in Copenhagen. It turns out that a friend of mine, Philip LaZebnik, who was one of the writers of 'Pocahontas' and 'Prince of Egypt,' now lives in Denmark, and he will be writing the book for this musical. Through Philip, I have been invited to contribute some songs to the show, and I expect to write four or five."
Born in Odense, Denmark in 1805, Hans Christian Andersen moved to Copenhagen at the age of 14 to begin a career as a singer, dancer and actor. He later entered Copenhagen University, and in 1829 the Royal Theatre produced his musical drama Love in St. Nicholas' Church Tower. Although he wrote additional plays and novels, Andersen is best known for his many fairy tales, which appealed to both children and adults. Among his best known tales are "The Ugly Duckling," "The Princess and the Pea," "The Nightingale," "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "Little Claus and Big Claus." Andersen, who died in 1875, also published his memoirs, titled "The Fairy Tale of My Life."
Stephen Schwartz, a Dramatists Guild Council member, composed the scores for Wicked, Godspell, Pippin, The Magic Show, Rags, The Baker's Wife and Children of Eden. He has also written for several film musicals, including "Pocahontas," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "The Prince of Egypt" and the TV musical "Geppetto." His solo CDs of new songs are titled "Reluctant Pilgrim" and "Uncharted Territory." Schwartz is the recipient of three Academy Awards, three Grammy Awards and three Drama Desk Awards.