Amish Acres

Amish Acres® Historic Farm and Heritage Resort is Listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is America's most complete Amish heritage experience featuring historic interpretation, culinary and performing arts, lodging, and shopping.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Hardest Part of Love

Yesterday I spoke of Sarajane Mullins' "small world" relative to Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. It is serendipitous that Jeff and Angie Stillson, my daughter and son-in-law, have created Stillson Studio: Original Art for Kids at Heart, and are creating a children’s picture book, The Hardest Part of Love, with song lyrics by Stephen Schwartz as featured on his CD, Reluctant Pilgrim. This sentimental story will literally become a collective work of art, as several artists-illustrators including daughter, Jessica Schwartz, will envision and provide stylized pictures that chronicle a father’s love for his son. Scott Schwartz, Stephen's son, directed The Baker's Wife, which was written by Joseph Stein and Stephen, on the Round Barn Theatre Stage at Amish Acres in 1998.

The collaborative effort will produce a timeless volume for children and adults to read together and open for discussion the song’s refrain – “But you cannot close the acorn once the oak begins to grow. And you cannot close your heart to what it fears and needs to know. That the hardest part of love is the letting go.” An accompanying CD featuring the songwriter himself will provide further enjoyment, introducing those who haven’t had the pleasure, to Mr. Schwartz’s captivating style; for fans a new memento to share with family and friends.

Mr. Schwartz is composer-lyricist of Wicked, Broadway’s biggest blockbuster that tells the untold story of the Witches of Oz. It opened in 2003 at the Gershwin Theatre and has broken The Producers box office record of highest weekly gross sales. Variety called it, “a cultural phenomenon.”

Also to his credit: Godspell, Pippin, and The Magic Show (all three on Broadway simultaneously). In film he has collaborated with composer Alan Menken on the scores for the Disney animated features Pocahontas, for which he received two Academy Awards and another Grammy (two for Godspell) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He also provided songs for DreamWorks’ first animated feature, The Prince of Egypt, for which he won another Academy Award for the song “When You Believe.”

Stephen and Alan are reunited once again presently working on Disney’s Enchanted, a new movie project that begins with animation and then leads into a live-action film starring Susan Sarandon, Idina Menzel, and Amy Adams to be released July 2007.

“I love children’s books viewing them as inspiring artwork with a clever message no matter the reader’s age,” stated Angie. Her personal favorites to share with daughters Summer and Cybil include Wilma Unlimited, The English Roses, The Polar Express, Olivia, not to mention Stephen Schwartz’s The Perfect Peach published by Little, Brown and Company. She continued,
“I yearn to follow suit, and with Mr. Schwartz’s support, encouragement, and respect my project is underway!”

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