In a first-of-its-kind cruise industry partnership, the three-time Oscar winner and composer of Wicked, Pippin and Godspell, Stephen Schwartz will oversee the creative development of four new musicals to debut across the fleet over the next several years. The excitement was evident in a special “behind the scenes” presentation marking this Princess Cruises Industry-First Partnership with the Broadway legend on June 9 at The Ailey Studios at the Joan Weill Center for Dance.
(Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Princess Cruises)
The Born to Dance creative team (below), Stephen Schwartz, Daniel C. Levine, Al Blackstone and Bryan Perri, left to right, join professional dancer Rachelle Rak and host Seth Rudetsky, third left, Seth Rudetsky, host of “Seth’s and “Seth Speaks” on Sirius/XM.
(photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Princess Cruises)
Created and directed by Broadway veteran, Daniel C. Levine, the creative team also includes: So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Al Blackstone; Tony winner and 2016 nominee, scenic designer Beowulf Boritt; six-time Tony winner, costume designer William Ivey Long; plus lighting designer Jack Mehler, and projection/media designer Caite Hevner. Long (below) is considered a “sweet guy, a real gentleman originally from the South who has costumed all the greats.”
Professional dancer and TV personality Rachelle Rak Rachelle Rak (Lifetime’s Dance Moms), center, is joined by studio dancers at the workshop preview of “Born to Dance,” the newest musical production by Princess Cruises. (photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Princess Cruises)
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 aboard the Crown Princess this fall 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.
“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.”
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.
Theater Producer Jayson Raitt will be working closely with Schwartz and consulting on the creative development of the three additional shows.
Additional information about Princess’ new partnership with Stephen Schwartz can be found at http://www.princess.com/schwartz.
Insider information: Broadway chorus line dance, Rachelle Rak with Barbara Kline below. Rachelle is currently getting ready to pitch a reality show on cable TV about choreographers that will show them in the process and the final result, which will also be a competition in each show.