Legendary composer brings ‘Wicked’ opportunity to Australian artists

Image of Suzie Mathers on stage during a performance with other actors.
Suzie Mathers (Glinda - Brisbane and Perth). Image: Andrew Ritchie

Update 20/10/17: Sadly, we have encountered significant scheduling issues in bringing Stephen Schwartz to Australia in February 2018. Due to these unforeseen circumstances, we have decided to postpone Stephen’s visit and consider other opportunities to host him in the future.

Musical theatre writers and composers will have a career-making opportunity to present their work at the ASCAP Musical Theatre workshop which includes an expert panel led by Broadway and Disney composer Stephen Schwartz, best known for composing Wicked.

Running in early 2018, this is the first time the workshop has been held in Melbourne and the first time since 2010 it has been held in Australia since its inception 25 years ago.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne are presenting the workshop with the support of APRA AMCOS who help music creators get paid for their work.

A Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Award winner, and six-time Tony nominee, Stephen Schwartz said he is excited to be returning to his “favourite country” to support aspiring musical theatre makers.

“I have always been impressed with the high quality of writing by Australian musical theatre creators and hope we will help encourage and nurture their original new works,” Mr Schwartz said.

VCA Head of Music Theatre Margot Fenley is coordinating the visit and said that VCA is hosting the event as part of its commitment to supporting local artists in the development of new Australian musicals.

“Successful musicals generally require many years of work, which is best supported by supportive mentorship and expert critique,” Ms Fenley said.

“This is what the ASCAP workshop will offer to our local creative artists, as well as the opportunity to perform for Stephen Schwartz.

“We’re looking for works that are by Australian writers/composers, though not necessarily confined to Australian themes and with original scores. They could be commercial large-scale musicals or more intimate pieces. And of course we’re looking for artists who are hungry for feedback and the kind of expert critical feedback that Stephen and the panel will be able to provide.”

APRA AMCOS Head of Membership Dean Ormston said  the workshop will create potentially life changing opportunities for Australian writers.

“We are thrilled to be working with VCA, Stephen Schwartz and ASCAP, our US sister PRO, to present a musical theatre workshop in Melbourne in 2018, enabling Australian artists to showcase original compositions and gain valuable insights from one of the world’s most accomplished and honoured musical theatre composers,” Mr Ormston said.

Submissions for the coveted places require a script sample and a musical score, which will be reviewed by a panel of Australian musical theatre professionals before the finalists are selected.

Submissions open today and close 14 August 2017.

During the visit, professionals and the public will also get the chance to connect with Mr Schwartz at events to be announced.