- Elizabeth Swados
Elizabeth Swados (born 1951) is an American
writer, composer, musician, and theatre director. While some of her subject matter is humorous, such as her satirical look at Ronald Reagan, "Rap Master Ronnie", and "Doonesbury" - both collaborations with Garry Trudeau- much of her work deals with dark issues such as racism, murder, and mental illness.
Buffalo, New York, Swados has been open about her turbulent life in her autobiography "The Four of Us, A Family Memoir" published by Farrar, Straus and Girouxin 1991. Her father Robert was a very successful attorney who helped Seymour H. Knox IIIconvert the local Buffalo Sabres hockey club into a full National Hockey Leagueteam. (His autobiography, "Counsel in the Crease: A Big League Player in the Hockey Wars" was published by Prometheus Books in 2005.) Her actress mother struggled with depression, while her older brother (and only sibling) Lincoln developed schizophrenia. Her mother committed suicidein 1974, and Lincoln followed suit in 1989. Swados herself has suffered from depression from childhood on, a condition she explored in her book "My Depression: A Picture Book."
Swados studied music at
Bennington Collegein Vermont, receiving her Bachelor of Artsdegree in 1973. In 1980, the Hobart and William Smith Collegeawarded her an honorary doctoratein Humane Letters.
Although many of Swados' plays are musicals, her compositions draw from folk and world music genres rather than from standard
musical theatre. Her first major success, "Runaways", was intended to be a community service piece with a short run. However, after appearing at The Public Theater, it transferred to Broadway and became a hit. It garnered her Tony Awardnominations for Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Choreography. She was nominated for Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Director of a Musical, Outstanding Lyrics, and Outstanding Music, and won an Obie Awardfor her direction.
As a composer, Swados has also written music for film ("Four Friends") and television, and has performed at
Carnegie Hall. She has published three novels, three non-fiction books, and nine children's books. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Ford Fellowship, a Covenant Foundation Grant, a Special International PENCitation, a Cine Award, and a Mira Award, among others.
Swados teaches in the drama department at
New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Her most recent books are "My Depression", "Sidney's Animal Rescue", and "At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater". Her articles have been published in the " New York Times", " New York Times Magazine", "Vogue", and "O". She also has collaborated on film scripts with Milos Forman, Marlon Brando, and Sean Penn.
* "Nightclub Cantata" (1977)
* "Dispatches, a Rock & Roll War" (1979)
* "Alice in Concert" (1980)
* "The Haggadah, a Passover Cantata" (1980)
* "Lullabye and Goodnight" (1982)
* "The Red Sneaks" (1989)
* "Jonah" (1990)
* "Groundhog" (1992)
* "Jabu" (2005)
* "The Beauty Inside" (2005)
* "Mental Missiles" (2006)
* "Spider Opera" (2006)
* "Kaspar Hauser" (2007)
* [http://www.lizswados.com/index.html Official website]
*ibdb name|id=5358|name=Elizabeth Swados
* [http://www.lortel.org/LLA_archive/index.cfm?search_by=people&first=Elizabeth&last=Swados&middle= Elizabeth Swados at the Lortel Archives Internet Off Broadway Database]
* [http://drama.tisch.nyu.edu/object/SwadosE.html NYU bio]
* [http://www.broadwayworld.com/viewcolumn.cfm?colid=2424 BroadwayWorld.com profile]
* [http://www.king5.com/sharedcontent/dws/fea/healthyliving/stories/052405dnlivmydepression.d88b5da1.html King5 May 23, 2005 interview]
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