David Zippel

Lyricist, Director
It delights Harvard Law School graduate David Zippel that he does not have to practice law, and his work as lyricist on three successive animated Disney features probably guarantees he will never have to go slumming as ... Read more »
Born: 05/16/1954

Filmography

Music (12)

Captain America: The First Avenger 2011 (Movie)

("Star Spangled Man") (Song)

Liza's at the Palace 2009 - 2010 (TV Show)

Music

Match Point 2005 (Movie)

("I Believe My Heart from The Woman in White") (Lyrics)

Disney's Hercules 1998 - 2000 (TV Show)

Theme Lyrics

Veronica's Closet 1997 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Theme Music

Allegra's Window 1994 - 1998 (TV Show)

Theme Lyrics

Mulan 1998 (Movie)

lyrics (Theme Lyrics)

The 70th Annual Academy Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Theme Lyrics

Hercules 1997 (Movie)

lyrics (Theme Lyrics)

Hercules 1997 (Movie)

songs("Go the Distance" "From Zero to Hero" "A Star Is Born") (Song)

The Swan Princess 1994 (Movie)

songs (Song)

Biography

It delights Harvard Law School graduate David Zippel that he does not have to practice law, and his work as lyricist on three successive animated Disney features probably guarantees he will never have to go slumming as an attorney. During the 1980s, he contributed lyrics to the off-Broadway revues "A ... My Name is Alice" and "Diamonds" (for director-producer Harold Prince). Zippel also penned the words to composer Doug Katsaros' music for the Off-Broadway musical "Just So" and provided the original songs for "5,6,7,8 ... Dance!", starring Sandy Duncan. He made his Broadway debut in 1989 with "City of Angels", a delightful spoof of 40s Hollywood and films noir. Framed as a story-within-a-story, it tells of screenwriter Stine and his trials and tribulations getting his script about a detective Stone filmed. Zippel wrote the snappy, witty lyrics to composer Cy Coleman's pastiche score, which included musical numbers wherein the movie characters interacted with the "real" ones. This is best epitomized in the rousing "You're Nothing Without Me", wherein the screenwriter and his fictional detective argue. The show earned six 1990 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score (for Coleman and Zippel). He returned to the Great White Way with the musical adaptation of Neil Simon's "The Goodbye Girl" (1993), providing lyrics to Marvin Hamlisch's serviceable music. The show suffered in comparison to the film version and closed fairly quickly. (Zippel co-staged a revised production in Chicago in 1994, but the results were still problematic.)

Zippel received his first feature film credit providing the lyrics to Lex de Azevedo's music for the animated "The Swan Princess" (1994), based on "Swan Lake". One of their songs, the love theme "Far Longer Than Forever", earned a Golden Globe Award nomination. He began his run at Disney writing the lyrics to Alan Menken's melodies for "Hercules" (1997), including the stirring "Go the Distance" (which also garnered a Golden Globe nomination). Zippel then teamed with composer Matthew Wilder on "Mulan" (1998), about a Chinese girl who disguises herself as a boy and joins the army, and made it three in a row for Disney with "Tarzan" (1999), collaborating with Phil Collins on the song score.

EDUCATION

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia , Pennsylvania

Harvard Law School

Cambridge , Massachusetts
graduated

Milestones

1998

Teamed with composer Matthew Wilder to write the song score for Disney's animated feature "Mulan"

1997

Collaborated with composer Alan Menken on the tunes for Disney's animated feature "Hercules"

1994

Co-directed (with Joe Leonardo) the Chicago revival production of "The Goodbye Girl"

1994

First feature credit, wrote lyrics for the animated "The Swan Princess"; music composed by Lex de Azevedo

1993

Returned to Broadway as lyricist of "The Goodbye Girl" (music by Marvin Hamlisch, book by Neil Simon)

1990

Made his Broadway debut as lyricist with "City of Angels"; music composed by Cy Coleman; show won six Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score

1984

Provided the original songs for "5,6,7,8 ... Dance!", starring Sandy Duncan

1984

Was contributing lyricist to the Off-Broadway revue, "Diamonds"

Collaborated with Menken on the score for a stage musical biography of director Busby Berkeley

Raised in Easton, Pennsylvania

Contributed lyrics to the Off-Broadway revue "A... My Name is Alice"

Wrote Off-Broadway musical "Just So" with composer Doug Katsaros

Bonus Trivia

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For the 1997 London production of "The Goodbye Girl", many of Zippel's lyrics were thrown out in favor of new ones provided by Don Black, creating a sort of weird hybrid musical. "I was very busy working on 'Hercules' and 'Mulan', so I wasn't able to take the time" to work on the London show, Zippel told Variety by phone from Orlando, FL. Then, after catching replacement lyricist Don Black's amended version in tryout previews in Bromley, Zippel became aware that "two songs and a few reprises of mine were all that remained in the show. I felt that to take billing inaccurately reflected my participation, (so) I asked them to take my name off." --David Zippel in Variety, May 4, 1997.

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