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Marc Shaiman (/ʃmən/; born October 22, 1959) is an American composer and lyricist for films, television, and theatre, best known for his collaborations with lyricist and director Scott Wittman. He wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics for the Broadway musical version of the John Waters film Hairspray. He has won a Grammy, an Emmy and a Tony, and been nominated for seven Oscars.

Marc Shaiman
Marc Shaiman Crop.jpg
Shaiman at the Drama League All Star Benefit Gala, February 7, 2010
Background information
Born (1959-10-22) October 22, 1959 (age 59)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
  • Composer
  • lyricist

Personal lifeEdit

Shaiman was born to a Jewish family[1] in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Claire (née Goldfein) and William Robert Shaiman.[2] He grew up in Scotch Plains, New Jersey and attended Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, but got his GED and left school at age 16 to start working in New York's theaters.[3] He lives in both Los Angeles and Manhattan.

Shaiman married Lieutenant Commander Louis Mirabal on March 26, 2016.[4]


Shaiman started his career as a theatre/cabaret musical director. He started working at SNL as an arranger/writer and also became vocal arranger for Bette Midler, eventually becoming her musical director and co-producer of many of her recordings, including "The Wind Beneath My Wings" and "From a Distance." He helped create the material for her performance on the penultimate The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. His work with both Bette Midler and Billy Crystal led to his involvement on their films.

His film credits include Broadcast News, Beaches, When Harry Met Sally..., City Slickers, The Addams Family, Sister Act, Sleepless in Seattle, A Few Good Men, The American President, The First Wives Club, George of the Jungle, In & Out, Patch Adams, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Team America: World Police, Flipped, and HBO's From the Earth to the Moon and 61*. He frequently works on films by Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner. He also appeared in many of these films.

Shaiman has earned five Academy Award nominations, a Tony Award and a Grammy Award for his work on the musical Hairspray, and an Emmy Award for co-writing Billy Crystal's Academy Award performances. He has also been Grammy-nominated for his arrangements for Harry Connick Jr.'s recordings When Harry Met Sally... and We Are in Love as well as Hairspray and Smash and Emmy-nominated for his work on Saturday Night Live and Smash. In 2002, he was honored with the "Outstanding Achievement in Music-In-Film" award at The Hollywood Film Festival, and in 2007 he was honored with ASCAP's Henry Mancini Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements and contributions to the music of film and television.[5] He is the first recipient of the Film & TV Music Award for Best Score for a Comedy Feature Film.

On Saturday Night Live, Shaiman portrayed Skip St. Thomas, the accompanying pianist for The Sweeney Sisters, a singing duo played by Nora Dunn and Jan Hooks, which earned him an Emmy nomination.[6] He began his professional relationships with Billy Crystal and Martin Short during his tenure at Saturday Night Live. He wrote and sang the song "Yes" for his agent's film Finding Kraftland. He co-wrote (with partner Scott Wittman) songs for Neil Patrick Harris when Harris hosted the 63rd Tony Awards (2009) and the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards (2009), and was Emmy-nominated for musical directing and co-writing the 82nd Academy Awards (2010).

Shaiman co-produced and co-wrote cuts on Mariah Carey's 2010 Christmas album Merry Christmas II You.

Shaiman & Wittman wrote original songs for the musical-based television show for NBC, Smash, and served as Executive Producers. For their song "Let Me Be Your Star," Shaiman and co-lyricist Wittman were nominated for both an Emmy Award and a Grammy Award, and as Executive Producers they were nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series - Comedy or Musical.

Shaiman co-wrote Billy Crystal's farewell to Jay Leno which featured Carol Burnett and Oprah Winfrey among others. He collaborated on the final performances for Johnny Carson's Tonight Show (with Bette Midler), Conan O'Brien's Late Night (with Nathan Lane), both of Jay Leno's final Tonight Show broadcasts, and Nathan Lane's farewell to David Letterman called "Dead Inside."

Shaiman & Wittman were honored on April 28, 2014, by The New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.[6]

Shaiman produced Bette Midler's CD It's the Girls, which had the highest debut of Midler's recording career on the Billboard Album charts.

Shaiman appeared on The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special, having co-created Martin Short and Maya Rudolph's salute to musical sketch characters.

Jennifer Hudson sang Shaiman & Wittman's Smash song "I Can't Let Go" at the 87th Academy Awards, which they revised to fit the In Memoriam section.

Shaiman & Wittman's latest Broadway musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ran on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, after finishing a four-year run on London's West End at The Royal Drury Lane Theater. Shaiman was Tony-nominated for his orchestrations for their previous Broadway musical Catch Me If You Can.


In 2008, a controversy erupted nationwide when California Musical Theatre's then artistic director[7][8] resigned over the revelation of his personal donation of $1000 to a political campaign to support California proposition 8, which was an amendment to change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. After the amendment was passed, donor information became public. Shaiman and other Broadway artists who had previously worked with the director became critical and called for a boycott of the theatre by all gay artists and performers, ending in the director's resignation days later.

To protest the passage of California Proposition 8 in November 2008, Shaiman wrote a satiric mini-musical called Prop 8 — The Musical. The 3-minute video was distributed on the internet at, beginning on December 3, 2008. It was written and produced in just a few days. The cast includes Jack Black (who plays Jesus), Neil Patrick Harris, John C. Reilly, Allison Janney, Andy Richter, Maya Rudolph, Margaret Cho, and Rashida Jones. Shaiman plays the piano and appears briefly in the video. It received 1.2 million internet hits in its first day.[9][10]



= Oscar nominee

* = Golden Globe nominee


= Emmy nominee

†# = Emmy winner

* = Golden Globe nominee



  • Prop 8 - The Musical (2008) (composer, lyricist, pianist) - 2009 "Webby" winner for Best Comedy: Short or Individual Episode


Concert/cabaret workEdit


  1. ^ Bloom, Nate (February 2, 2012). "Jewish stars: Whales, ghosts and 'Smash'". Cleveland Jewish News. Archived from the original on May 6, 2018.
  2. ^ Marc Shaiman Biography (1959-) Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Fowler, Linda. "N.J. native Marc Shaiman drops in on Paper Mill's production of his Broadway hit 'Hairspray'" Archived 2015-10-03 at the Wayback Machine,, December 23, 2010. Accessed October 1, 2015. "Joking with fans during this fall production, Shaiman refers to his Scotch Plains hometown as exit 135.... Reluctant but supportive, his parents let him drop out of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School at 16 — he later earned a GED — to work in Manhattan’s fringe theaters."
  4. ^ "Hairspray Composer Marc Shaiman Ties The Knot" Archived 2016-03-29 at the Wayback Machine Playbill, March 26, 2016
  5. ^ "ASCAP Henry Mancini Award". ASCAP. Archived from the original on October 27, 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Smash - NBC Official Site: Bios". NBC TV. Archived from the original on February 3, 2012. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  7. ^ "Sacramento theater director who donated to Prop. 8 faced storm of criticism". 12 November 2008. Archived from the original on 20 August 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  8. ^ McKinley, Jesse (12 November 2008). "Scott Eckern of California Musical Theater Resigns Amid Gay-Rights Ire Over Proposition 8 in California". Archived from the original on 6 January 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2018 – via
  9. ^ Itzkoff, Dave. "Marc Shaiman on 'Prop 8 — The Musical'", Archived 2009-12-06 at Wikiwix The New York Times, December 4, 2008
  10. ^ "Star-studded Web video protests Prop 8 – Spoof musical's blockbuster cast includes Jack Black as Jesus", Archived 2009-05-16 at the Wayback Machine Associated Press,, December 4, 2008

External linksEdit