Today is mega-successful composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz’s. The New York native is best known for his musical theatre works, the Wicked composer has had a part in creating fantastic music for animation.

Here are our favorite tracks (in no particular order):

“Deliver Us” (The Prince of Egypt, 1998)


The very theatrical opening to DreamWorks animated classic is as powerful as it sounds. Even if you’re not religious, you’ll enjoy Schwartz’s blend of Israeli folk style with modern musical theatre writing of the time.

“Colors of the Wind” (Pochahontas, 1995)


“Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?” – ‘Nuff said. Schwartz has an unbelievably delicate touch with his lyrics in Disney’s mature cartoon from the 90s renaissance.

That’s How You Know (Enchanted, 2007)


Simplicity is very effective in this clever tune from Disney’s self-aware “princess fairy tale.” Schwartz with composer Alan Menken poke fun at their own works within the genre and the combination is “enchanting!”

God Help the Outcasts (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1996)


Esmeralda’s somber and haunting tune in one of Disney’s darkest features still brings us to tears. The lyrics smartly question the power of prayer from the viewpoint of a nonbeliever – love it!

Defying Gravity (Wicked, 2003)


Quite possibly his most popular tune! The amazing Act I closer to the very popular musical lives up to its namesake. If you were part of the MT crowd, you know this was the “Let it Go” of its day.

Happy Birthday, Stephen!

(Photo Credit: Michael A. Mariant)