Defying Gravity book

Just in time for Wicked’s 15th anniversary of opening on Broadway!

The only book-length biography of Stephen Schwartz, covering his legendary career up through 2018.

Defying Gravity

The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz from Godspell to Wicked

Revised and Updated Second Edition
by Carol de Giere
Foreword by composer Alan Menken


We’re so excited to announce the release of Carol de Giere’s second and updated edition of Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, just in time for Wicked’s 15th anniversary of opening on Broadway! I (Holly) had the honor and privilege of designing the cover and am delighted that Carol is once again sharing her insights into Stephen’s creativity.

There’s definitely a buzz going around about it.

Playbill Must Read includes the updated edition of Defying Gravity on their list of Must Read Theatre Books. The list also includes Jerome Robbins: A Life in Dance, a book by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Rise Up! Broadway and American Society from Angels in America to Hamilton by Chris Jones.

Praise for Defying Gravity

“In Defying Gravity, Carol de Giere pulls back the curtain and gives us a fascinating glimpse into the creative process of one of musical theater’s greatest wizards. Enjoy!”
-Stephen Flaherty, Tony-Award winning composer


“Carol de Giere’s Defying Gravity is a wonderfully illuminating book about Stephen Schwartz’s multifaceted creative process, revealing valuable insights about putting together a musical that should be required reading for every musical theater writer. It rewards readers who return to it again and again the way an original cast album of a great musical offers new delights with multiple listenings. Schwartz has a well-earned reputation as a generous mentor and here he shares his thoughts, advice, and expertise so that we may all benefit from his years of experience and illustrious accomplishments. When I was writing my first musical one of the resources I often turned to for guidance was the original version of Defying Gravity. Now as I work on my third musical I am using this updated edition with its expanded sections to reinforce lessons I had learned and enlighten me in new areas. Reading Defying Gravity has helped me to change my musicals ‘for good.'” (Mark Evan Chimsky, editor of Johnny Cash’s autobiography Cash, and book writer/lyricist of The Pledge,

“Ms. de Giere has done a masterful job of entering into the mind, heart and soul of Stephen Schwartz in learning to understand his creative and collaborative processes. She has structured her insights with a wonderful dramatic arc – early successes, troubled middle career, recent acclaim amid some continuing travail and disappointment. The resulting book is a gift to fans of musical theater and to students of creativity…”  (Al Chase, White Rhinoreport Blog)

What’s New in the Updated Edition?

Defying Gravity 2018This updated second edition offers an unprecedented look at the life, times, and making of American musical icon Stephen Schwartz. Carol takes readers behind the scenes, from Schwartz’s writing of Godspell’s score at age 23 through the making of the megahit Wicked, which will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its Broadway debut this October. The new edition delves into Schwartz’s creative process for the new stage musicals The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Prince of Egypt, and other shows, with additional insights on his early work with Leonard Bernstein and his more recent international work on Wicked. Also included are additional Creative Notes with comments from Schwartz about overcoming creative blocks, collaboration, and the artistic life.

The 2018 edition of Defying Gravity also begins with a foreword by Schwartz’s four-time Disney collaborator, Alan Menken, with whom he recently worked on the stage production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Menken reveals the inside story of their creative efforts for the stage and movie versions of this production, as well as the movie versions of Pocahontas and Enchanted.

If you’re a fan of Broadway, musical theater, or film, you won’t want to miss this landmark celebration of the phenomenal Stephen Schwartz!

Purchase Defying Gravity

We’re so proud of Carol and all her accomplishments and contributions to the world of musical theatre. Visit Carol’s new website at for signed copies of Defying Gravity. Unsigned copies are available at Amazon and other book retailers (see Carol’s site for more information).

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