Princess Cruises unveils industry-first partnership with Oscar-winning composer Stephen Schwartz
Posted: March 12, 2015
Princess Cruises today announced a first-of-its-kind cruise industry partnership with three-time Oscar winner and composer of Wicked, Pippin and Godspell Stephen Schwartz. The cruise line’s new relationship with such a major creative talent from Broadway and Hollywood includes a multi-year agreement to oversee the creative development of four new musicals to debut across the fleet over the next several years.
During his 40-year career, Schwartz has won four Grammys, three Academy Awards for “Best Song” and “Best Score” for Pocahontas and “Best Song” for The Prince of Egypt and has been nominated for six Tony Awards. He is the only songwriter in Broadway history to ever have three shows run more than 1,900 performances.
His first musical for Princess Cruises will celebrate Schwartz’s lifelong fascination with magic. Called Magic to Do, the show will combine thrilling magic with some of Schwartz’s most famous songs and a brand new song written exclusively for Princess. The show will debut aboard Crown Princess in the fall.
“Stephen is hands down one of the most talented and accomplished Broadway composers of all time and we couldn’t be more honored to partner with him to ideate and bring fresh talent together to create memorable entertainment experiences for our guests,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Princess is known for introducing product innovations and we’re thrilled to embark on this extraordinary new live-show entertainment, unlike anything any cruise line has ever before offered.”
“I’m excited about the possibility of using the enormous resources available with Princess to create new and innovative theatrical entertainment,” said Schwartz. “Their onboard theatres are Broadway-caliber venues with state-of-the-art technical capability, and coupled with their access to first-rate performers, I see it as an extraordinary and almost irresistible opportunity. I have already received overwhelming and enthusiastic interest from talented colleagues – writers, directors, and designers to whom I have spoken – and I hope together we will create new kinds of cruise ship shows to entertain and inspire Princess guests unlike any other productions at sea.”
Schwartz will oversee the creative development for all four shows, bringing together a cadre of Broadway talent to support the productions through direction and design. The Magic to Do team includes: Don Frantz, associate producer of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast on Broadway, among many other Broadway and international accomplishments; Gabriel Barre, internationally acclaimed director whose credits include the national tour of Pippin and the current Broadway-bound musical, Amazing Grace; Jeremy Railton, four-time Emmy winner whose extensive background in theatre, film, television and multi-media design includes the 2002 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies and the Academy Awards; Ken Billington, Tony award-winning lighting designer with nearly 100 Broadway show credits to his name, including Sweeney Todd and the current production of Chicago; Mark Hartman, award-winning music director with numerous Broadway credits including Sondheim on Sondheim, Avenue Q and the national tour of Pippin; and Jennifer Paulson-Lee, choreographer with credits including Enter Laughing, the Musical, A Rockin’ Midsummer Night’s Dream, 101 Dalmatians and Seussical.
In addition, Jim Steinmeyer, the mastermind behind many of the great magic illusions over the last 25 years, will create the magic experience in Magic to Do. Steinmeyer has worked with some of the greatest magicians of all time including Doug Henning, Siegfried & Roy and David Copperfield.
Auditions for Magic to Do begin next week in New York and Toronto, followed by Los Angeles and Vancouver. Schwartz will participate in the audition process, helping source top talent and performers for the 45-minute show.
Theater Producer Jayson Raitt will be working closely with Schwartz and consulting on the creative development of the three additional shows.