Shannon Lewis was the standout dancer of 10 Broadway musicals, including Sweet Charity, Fosse, Contact, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. She toured the country starring as Sheila in A Chorus Line and Fastrada in Pippin. Now, Shannon is a choreographer and her latest project is The Secret Silk, a new musical for Princess Cruises based on the Japanese fable “The Grateful Cane” by Oscar & Grammy winner Stephen Schwartz and Avenue Q Tony nominee John Tartaglia with life-sized puppets by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.
Scroll on as Shannon shares with BroadwayBox her all-time favorite Stephen Schwartz musical numbers.
I have such respect and admiration for Stephen Schwartz’s ability to write beautiful melodies that instantly become classics the moment you hear them, yet they are also each unique and singular creations all to themselves. He also has an insane talent for writing powerful, timeless anthems. I hear such interesting and unique rhythms and tacets, making his music for me so innately danceable. He is also able to seamlessly convey such a strong sense of story and character along the way. Here are some of my favorites!
MEADOWLARK (Liz Callaway)
Such a soaring and simply stunning song! Storytelling at its best with a melody line that stays with me forever. The tenderness yet power here is unforgettable. It’s a perfect musical journey and never fails to make me cry. (especially when Liz Callaway is singing it!)
ALL FOR THE BEST (Stephen Nathan & David Haskell)
I really connect with the ragtime, vaudevillian rhythms and style here. I love a fast patter song—the intricacies of the two voices coming together lends itself to lots of fun staging ideas. It’s simple but potent!
SIMPLE JOYS (Patina Miller)
The plethora of unique rhythms and timing in this song are exceptional. You can listen to it many times and still hear new things every time. It’s a complicated song technically, but I really connect with the bouncy beats and the unexpected vocal lines.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK (Ben Vereen)
One of my favorite dance breaks ever. The stop time and chord progression is exciting and builds to such a great finish. (I may or may not have danced around my apt just now. )
GLORY (Patina Miller)
I have always loved the edge and smolder of this song! It’s dirty and steamy and sinewy. I love the heaviness of the downbeat and the percussion, as well as the sudden lightness as we go into the Manson Trio. It’s so unique and so disturbing! And awesome!
LOST IN THE WILDERNESS ( Darius de Haas)
I love that much of the subject matter in the music (and projects that Stephen writes and creates) have an underlying message of breaking free and living the life that calls to you. There is a driving beat and galloping chords in this song that just set my heart free. It also allows the vocalist (Darius de Haas) to sing with such abandon and vibrancy! I get goosebumps every single time I hear it—so melodic and inspiring.
DEFYING GRAVITY (Idina Menzel)
I mean how could I not have this classic on my list. It’s one of his most famous creations for a reason—it’s the ultimate anthem for freedom and living the life you were mean to live. That message will always be inspiring forever! The vocals soar over the melody and the transitions between soft and powerful only add the drama and tension that builds to the quintessential warrior cry ending.