David Zippel was born and raised in Easton, Pennsylvania, and began participating in theatre from a young age. While in his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania, Zippel wrote lyrics to Rotunda, a political musical. After graduating in 1976, Zippel was nervous about the stability of a career in theatre and obtained a Juris Doctorate degree from Harvard Law School. While studying at Harvard, Zippel continued to pursue his passion of theatre, writing several songs for various artists. Some of his works were even featured at a Barbara Cook concert at Carnegie Hall in 1980.
Zippel’s first major work as a lyricist came with City of Angels (1989), which won the Tony Award for Best Musical. His next hit was The Goodbye Girl (1993), which he collaborated on with Marvin Hamlisch. In 2004, Zippel wrote the lyrics for The Woman in White, and he received a Tony Award for Best Score along with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Other works include Liza’s at the Palace (2009), Hercules (2019), and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new adaptation of Cinderella (2020). Zippel has also worked as a conceiver/director on many theatre projects including Princesses (2004), The Best is Yet to Come (2010), The Importance of Being Earnest (2015).
Beyond theatre, Zippel has written lyrics for the film The Swan Princess (1994) and sang on the cast recording as Jean-Bob the Frog. Zippel also wrote the lyrics for Hercules (1997), which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song, and for Mulan (1998). He has collaborated with Alan Menken on his Disney projects and well as with music for Captain America: The First Avenger. Over the course of his career, Zippel has been nominated for three Golden Globes, a Grammy, and two Academy Awards.
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