On Thursday, April 26, School of Drama Music Theater students, along with other interested denizens of the Purnell Center for the Arts gathered in the Checco Studio for a Q&A with acclaimed composer and Carnegie Mellon alumnus Stephen Schwartz.

As Schwartz answered questions from the audience, he talked about the journey from being fresh out of school to being known for Broadway hits like Godspell, Pippin, and Wicked. He also touched on casting CMU alumnae in his shows, his ability to compartmentalize and maintain a healthy balance, news of an upcoming “Wicked” film, and his various inspirations for music and lyrics.

The importance of knowing oneself was a theme that returned throughout the session.

“I think the thing that requires development [in young performers] most often is actually knowing who you are,” Schwartz said. “What is unique about you? What do you bring into the room?”

At the end of the session, the audience was treated to an impromptu performance by Schwartz of a new song written for an as-yet-untitled movie based on the work of Hans Christian Anderson.