The Copyright Society of the USA recently awarded itsExcellence in Creativity Award to legendary musical composer Stephen Schwartz, whose works include Wicked, Pippin and Godspell. Mr. Schwartz is also an advocate for the rights of dramatists and against piracy and a past President of the Dramatists Guild.
Mr. Schwartz accepted the award over lunch at our 2015 Annual Meeting the day after he won the Tony Awards’ Isabelle Stevenson Award for his commitment to serving artists and fostering new talent. At lunch, Mr. Schwartz gave an eloquent defense of the role of copyright in promoting creativity. Dramatists "have maintained ownership and control of our work as the star by which we steer our course through this industry," he said.
It is probably the primary reason successful writers working in other media bother to return to live theatre. But our ownership and control didn’t come down to us from the ether; it is a condition we have been able to achieve with only one element of leverage: copyright.
His talk was followed by an informal performance of several early versions of one of his most well-known works, “Making Good” fromWicked, as he took us step-by-step through the evolution of the song.
The Award for Excellence in Creativity is given annually to a person or
organization who has demonstrated excellence in the creation of
copyrightable works of authorship. Award recipients have devoted their
careers or missions to creating or fostering the creation of
copyrightable works. Criteria include the quality and social value of
the candidate's work, the breadth or inclusiveness of style or media,
and the recognition the candidate has received in the community.
Top to bottom: Stephen Schwartz at the piano, with a young fan, and with CSUSA President Eric Schwartz.