Stephen Schwartz Won’t Take Away Utah’s Flying Monkeys

Here is everything you need to know about your Mormon gay marriage war: Utahans have been seriously fretting for weeks now that the gay marriage backlash would come home to roost–in the form of composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz taking away their precious, precious musicals. The panic’s so widespread that the composer behind Wicked, Pocahantas, Godspell, The Prince of Egypt and Pippin’ had to issue a statement to assure the state he wouldn’t take away their precious, precious musical theatre rights.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

“Stephen Schwartz finds Mormon organizational zeal on behalf of California’s Proposition 8 to be “reprehensible,” but the award-winning composer of hits such as “Wicked” has no plans to withhold his works from Utah or LDS-related singing groups.

For more than a week, Mormons in show business have whispered rumors that Schwartz might punish Mormons for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ involvement in passing an initiative establishing marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.

On Dec. 10, KTVX Channel 4 news reported that Jon Powell, a former Mormon and a gay activist, called on the music industry to refuse to license certain material to LDS musical groups. In the piece, Powell specifically targeted Brigham Young University’s Young Ambassadors, a group of which he was once a member.

Powell said he received an e-mail from Schwartz that read in part, “I’m looking into it. If it truly is a ‘promotional’ group, rather than just student singers, I will try to do something about it.”

Worried Mormons can now breathe a little easier.

“I have not withdrawn the use of my songs by the BYU Young Ambassadors and do not intend to do so,” Schwartz said Monday in an e-mail. “They are a student singing group.”

We’re reminded that despite its anti-gay stance, the Mormon Church is pretty big on the business called show. From the Mormon Tabernacle singers to rockin’ A/V presentations about locust-eating seagulls, Salt Lake’s Temple Square is just like Broadway, if Broadway were really boring and the cast kept showing up at your door for months after the show offering you a copy of the script.