Stephen Schwartz, who's written songs for Broadway shows and motion pictures, will...

Stephen Schwartz, who's written songs for Broadway shows and motion pictures, will be inducted into the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame next month. Credit: Getty Images for ASCAP/Alberto E. Rodriguez

Long Island is about to fully embrace its own theatrical maverick. Award-winning Broadway and movie lyricist-composer Stephen Schwartz, who grew up in Roslyn Heights’ South Park, is being inducted into the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame on March 23. A special ceremony at the Stony Brook museum will feature master of ceremonies Paul Shaffer as well as a 90-minute concert highlighting songs from Schwartz’s most famous works including “Wicked,” “Godspell” and “Pippin."

“It is with great honor and pride that the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame inducts the legendary Stephen Schwartz into our esteemed institution,” said Ernie Canadeo, LIMEHOF chairman. “With a career spanning over five decades, Schwartz has enriched the world of American musical theater and the silver screen with timeless classics. We celebrate not only his remarkable talent but also his enduring legacy, which will continue to inspire generations to come.”

Schwartz’s love of theater began at home as his neighbor and family friend was composer George Kleinsinger.

“My parents and I would go over to his house from time to time and he’d play us what he was working on,” said Schwartz, 75. “I’m told that I would wander over to the piano and pick out the tune.”

Kleinsinger saw potential in 7-year-old Schwartz and suggested that he explore piano lessons. By age 9, Schwartz’s parents took him to see Kleinsinger’s Broadway show “Shinbone Alley” in 1957.

“Just being in a theater and seeing a Broadway musical was it for me,” recalled Schwartz, who currently resides in Manhattan and Connecticut. “My sister and I used to do little puppet shows and I’d write songs for them. I’d also get neighborhood kids together to put on shows in my backyard using a picnic table as a stage and leaving the screen door open so I could play the piano.”

After portraying Otto Frank in “The Diary of Anne Frank” and directing Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians” at Mineola High School, Schwartz studied drama at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. In his early 20s, he created the venerable musicals “Godspell” and “Pippin,” which are still performed annually by high schools, colleges and local theaters all over the world.

“It’s enormously gratifying as both shows are over half a century old and they still speak to a current generation. I’m very proud of that,” said Schwartz. “These are shows about young people and their concerns. Maybe that’s why they stay generationally fresh.”

Additionally, Schwartz found success writing music for animated musicals such as “Pocahontas” (1995), “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996) and “The Prince of Egypt” (1998). In 2003, he again became the toast of Broadway when he composed the songs for “Wicked,” which is being produced as a two-part motion picture franchise with its first film premiering this November.

“With ‘Wicked,’ we had a sense that we were on to something that could be popular if we got it right,” said Schwartz. “There’s a difference between a hit and a phenomenon. I’ve been lucky in my life to have two shows that became phenomenons with ‘Godspell’ and ‘Wicked.’ That all has to do with what’s happening culturally and the zeitgeist at the time.”

Regarding his LIMEHOF induction, Schwartz said he is humbled.

“There are a lot of entertainers, especially amazing musicians, who have come from Long Island and I’m certainly honored to be part of that group,” he said. “For me, it all started on Long Island.”

Tickets for the induction ceremony ($75-$150) are on sale at

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