Lawrence Toppman

‘Wicked,’ ‘Pippin’ composer gives up N.C. royalties to fight HB2

Stephen Schwartz, composer of “Wicked” and “Godspell” (among many other shows), is donating his proceeds from four N.C. productions of “Pippin” to Equality North Carolina.
Stephen Schwartz, composer of “Wicked” and “Godspell” (among many other shows), is donating his proceeds from four N.C. productions of “Pippin” to Equality North Carolina. Courtesy of Barbara Sinclair

Last June, composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz – the guy behind “Wicked,” “Pippin” and “Godspell” – took part in a New York fundraiser titled “Broadway Voices for NC.” He and fellow Tony-winner Jeanine Tesori lead a team of entertainers who raised dough for Equality North Carolina, an organization protesting House Bill 2, and local LGBT support groups in the Tar Heel State.

Back then, he said, “There have been times when a concerted isolating of a society – where you know many (residents) are not in sympathy with what's happening – has been an inducement to people who might otherwise have sat by to take action. This (bill) shocked me, because I have friends all over the state, and I've been dealing with enlightened and forward-looking people there ... and my hope is, the more tolerant people will be galvanized to act.”

Despite protests that the bill costs the state by driving away businesses and investors – not to mention lowering our prestige nationally – the N.C. Legislature refuses to repeal it.

So Schwartz is putting his money where his mouth is this year: He’s giving all the royalties from four productions of “Pippin” – two in Wilmington, one in Morganton and one in Pembroke – to Equality North Carolina.

“This is in response to HB2, which I consider to be discriminatory and beneath the level of the decent people of North Carolina. While all I can do is not accept any money from work of mine performed in the state, it is my hope that people of good will in North Carolina will prevail in getting this shameful law overturned.”

Toppman: 704-358-5232

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