Michael Stewart

Michael Stewart

Playwright, Librettist, Lyricist


Michael Stewart was an American playwright, librettist, and lyricist. He was born Myron Stuart Rubin in Manhattan on August 1, 1924, and he grew up in Jamaica, Queens. At age 10, he went with his family to see the original Broadway production of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, and he decided then that he wanted to write for the theatre. Stewart graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Queens College before receiving his master of fine arts in drama from the Yale School of Drama in 1953.

After Yale, Stewart wrote sketches for revues starring upcoming greats of the stage and screen such as Chita Rivera, Bea Arthur, and Arte Johnson. He then became one of the writers on comic actor and writer on Sid Caesar’s variety and sketch comedy shows, Your Show of Shows and Sid Caesar’s Comedy Hour. In 1954, Stewart met composer-lyricist Charles Strouse and lyricist Lee Adams, and he ultimately worked with them on what has become a staple of the American musical theatre canon, Bye Bye Birdie.

Afterward, Stewart continued to write the books for musicals that are now considered classics in musical theatre history: Hello, Dolly!, George M!, Mack and Mabel, Barnum, and 42nd Street, among others. Bye Bye Birdie and Hello, Dolly! won Tony Awards for Best Musical, and Stewart himself won the Tony Award for Best Author of a Musical for the latter. Stewart often lamented that it was difficult to be a book writer because when a show flops, they blame the book, but when it succeeds, they credit the score. Stewart died of pneumonia on September 20, 1987, at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Shows by Michael Stewart


One of showbusiness’s most classic and beloved tales, 42nd Street tells the story of Peggy Sawyer, a talented young performer with stars in her eyes who gets her big break on Broadway. Peggy arrives to New York City from her... read more

Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth, the world of Phineas Taylor Barnum, full of spectacle and humbug. Sometimes with her support, and sometimes against her objections, P.T. Barnum works with his wife Chairy to create unbel... read more

Bring Back Birdie is the sequel to one of the great musicals of all time - Bye Bye Birdie. The show takes place twenty years after the events depicted in Bye, Bye Birdie and focuses on Albert and Rose trying to bring back Co... read more

The year is 1958, and the much-adored rock-and-roll idol -- Conrad Birdie -- has been drafted into the US army. His songwriter and agent, Albert, and Albert’s secretary and some-time girlfirend, Rosie, hatch a plan for a fare... read more

Lili, a lonely orphan, is enchanted with a traveling carnival troupe. She finally gets to join the troupe and ends up working with the puppet act. Meanwhile, both the puppeteer, Paul, and the magician, Marco the Magnificent,... read more

The show tells the story of the singer-dancer-actor George M. Cohan's life in show business with his show-business family, and takes place from the late 1880's to 1937. The story takes George from working with his parents an... read more

Set in 1940, the story concerns an unlikely pair forced together due to approaching Nazis. S.L. Jacobowsky, a Polish Jewish intellectual, has purchased a car. Meanwhile, Stjerbinsky, an aristocratic, anti-Semitic Polish Col... read more

Jerry Herman’s energetic Hello, Dolly is a musical filled with charisma and with heart. Matchmaker Dolly Levi is a widow, a matchmaker, and also a professional meddler --but everything changes when she decides that the next m... read more

In I Love My Wife, Alvin and Wally have been friends ever since high school and are now married men. They decide that on Christmas Eve they will have a foursome. Alvin will have sex with Wally's wife and Wally will have sex... read more

Mack and Mabel deals with the complex relationship between Max Sennet, a temperamental, workaholic film director and Mabel Normand, a waitress who became one of his biggest stars. In a series of flashbacks, Sennett recalls t... read more


Show Categories
Comedy, Drama, Historical/Biographical, Romance, Dark Comedy