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Ohio Northern University to present ‘Defying Gravity: The Music of Stephan Schwartz’

Aug 25, 2014

Ohio Northern University’s Freed Center for the Performing Arts will present “Defying Gravity: The Music of Stephan Schwartz” on Friday, Aug. 29, at 7:30 p.m.

Veteran singers from Broadway will perform music composed by the legendary Schwartz, who has composed some of the most recognizable songs from movies and Broadway.  In a career spanning more than four decades, Schwartz has written such hit musicals as “Godspell,” “Pippin” and “Wicked.” He also has written lyrics for a number of successful films, including “Pochantes,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “The Prince of Egypt,” and “Enchanted.” Schwartz has won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics, three Grammy Awards, and a trio of Academy Awards, and he has been nominated for six Tony Awards. Schwartz was recently given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

John Boswell will be the musical director for the event. Boswell has served as musical director for Judy Collins, Andy Williams and Bob Newhart as well as the concert tours of “Cinema Toast, That’s Life: A Toast to Sinatra,” “Three Men and a Baby Grand” and “Broadway Today.”

Scheduled to perform is Kelli Rabke Agresta, who got her big break playing the role of Dorothy in Paper Mill Playhouse’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.” Following that, she played her dream role: Eponine in “Les Miserables” on Broadway. 

Debbie Gravitte, who has sung with more than 100 orchestras and performed on Broadway, will also be singing. She won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway,” along with a Drama Desk Award.

Scott Coulter, one of New York’s most honored vocalists, is also performing. For his work in cabaret, Coulter received five Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs Awards (MAC), five Bistro Awards, and two Nightlife Awards for Outstanding Vocalist. He also has performed at most of NYC’s top rooms, including Birdland, 54 Below, The Oak Room at the Algonquin, and Feinstein’s at The Regency, where he spent eight months in 2011 performing the revue “11 O’Clock Numbers at 11 O’Clock.” His self-titled debut CD won the 2003 MAC Award for Outstanding Recording and was chosen as the best recording of the year by TheaterMania and Cabaret Scenes magazines. 

Tickets for this event are $20 for general admission and $15 for seniors, $10 for ONU faculty and staff, and $8 for children and students. The Freed Center box office is open Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Phone orders are accepted with American Express, MasterCard, VISA or Discover by calling 419-772-1900. Tickets also are available online at