David Zippel

David Joel Zippel (born May 17, 1954) is an American musical theatre lyricist, director, and producer.

David Zippel
David Joel Zippel

(1954-05-17) May 17, 1954 (age 68)
EducationUniversity of Pennsylvania (1976)
Harvard Law School

Early life and educationEdit

Zippel was born and raised in Easton, Pennsylvania in the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania. Falling in love with theater as a child, Zippel first articulated his life's ambition to become a lyricist and director in junior high school.

As an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, he contributed lyrics to an equity production of "a bizarre political musical" called Rotunda, which had a brief run in Washington, D.C. before graduating with a B.A. in 1976. Mindful of the difficulties of achieving success in theater, Zippel first obtained a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School, graduating in the class of 1979. At Harvard, Zippel continued to pursue his ambition of writing several pop songs with singer Pamala Stanley that appeared on her 1979 debut album, This Is Hot, and collaborating on three songs with Wally Harper, Barbara Cook's musical director, whose performance of the songs at Carnegie Hall in 1980 marked Zippel's own New York theatrical debut.[1]



As lyricist/writer

As conceiver/director

  • Princesses (2004), loosely inspired by A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Zippel conceived and directed; book by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner, music by Matthew Wilder. The musical was produced at the 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle, Washington, in August 2005, after a "developmental" production at Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre in fall 2004.[2]
  • The Best Is Yet To Come: The Music of Cy Coleman,[3] Indy Award for Best Direction (2010);[4] Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revue (2012)
  • They're Playing His Songs: The Music of Marvin Hamlisch (2013)[5]
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (In New York) (2015)[6]

As producer

Film and televisionEdit

As lyricist/writer

Zippel contributed lyrics to The Swan Princess (1994) and provided the singing voice of Jean-Bob the Frog. He also wrote the lyrics for the Disney films Hercules (1997), with music by Alan Menken (the song "Go the Distance" received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song), and Mulan (1998), with music by Matthew Wilder. The music and lyrics received an Academy Award nomination for Best Musical or Comedy Score and an Annie Award nomination for Music in an Animated Feature Production. He was in his agent Richard Kraft's film Finding Kraftland.

Pamela's First Musical, written with Coleman and Wendy Wasserstein, based on Wasserstein's children's book, received its world premiere in a concert staging at Town Hall in New York City on May 18, 2008.[8][9]

In 2011, Zippel wrote the lyrics to the song "The Star-Spangled Man" featured in the film Captain America: The First Avenger. Alan Menken composed the music for the song, which was an affectionate send-up of 1940s Irving Berlin songs.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b "David Zippel". Masterworks Broadway. Retrieved 2014-07-04.
  2. ^ Jones, Kenneth (August 17, 2005). "Princesses, the Broadway-Aimed New Musical by Zippel & Company, Opens in Seattle Aug. 17". Playbill.
  3. ^ Spindle, Les (July 20, 2009). "The Best Is Yet to Come: The Music of Cy Coleman". Backstage.
  4. ^ Donelan, Charles (May 27, 2010). "2010 Indy Awards". The Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  5. ^ Jones, Kenneth (January 23, 2013). "They're Playing His Songs: The Music of Marvin Hamlisch". Playbill.
  6. ^ Green, David (November 25, 2015). "BWW Review: Coyote Stageworks' Zippel-Directed BEING EARNEST IN NEW YORK a Triumph at the Annenberg". BroadwayWorld.
  7. ^ "Spamilton: An American Parody". spamilton.com.
  8. ^ Blank, Matthew (May 19, 2008). "PHOTO CALL: Pamela's First Musical Premieres at Town Hall". Playbill. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  9. ^ David, Cara Joy (July 17, 2014). "A Playwright's Well-Traveled Valentine to Broadway". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Jones, Kenneth (June 15, 2011). "Alan Menken and David Zippel Pen Song for 'Captain America' Movie". Playbill. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  11. ^ Newman, Melinda (July 21, 2008). "Interview: Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken talks 'Captain America'". HitFix. Retrieved January 8, 2022.

External linksEdit