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date: 17 August 2019

Swados, Elizabeth [Liz]locked

  • Charles Passy
  • , revised by Leslie N. Andersen



(b Buffalo, NY, Feb 5, 1951). American composer and writer. She attended Bennington College in Vermont (BA 1972), where she studied composition with Henry Brant. Swados became associated with the La Mama Experimental Theater Company, based in New York, in 1970. For the Romanian director Andrei Serban she composed scores to accompany several of his adaptations of Greek tragedies; she also acted as music director of the International Theater Group, led by Peter Brooks. In 1978 her innovative musical Runaways was given its première in New York. Later she collaborated with Garry Trudeau, creator of the Doonesbury comic strip, on a musical based on the strip and on a revue about Ronald Reagan (Rap Master Ronnie).

In her music for theatre of the 1970s Swados drew on a number of non-Western influences. With Runaways she was established as a force in American musical theatre; like her other so-called collage musicals, it treats a common theme in songs and sketches without relying on a plot. She uses a wide range of popular music from pop and punk to salsa in her revues and other shows. She has also written music and prose based on Jewish themes, such as her song cycle, ...

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Current Biography Yearbook (1955-)