Elizabeth Swados, American writer and composer, Died at 64


Elizabeth Swados was born on February 5, 1951, in Buffalo, New York and died on January 5, 2016.

She was an American writer, composer, musician, and theatre director.

Even though her subject matter was humorous, such as her satirical look at Ronald Reagan (Rap Master Ronnie) and Doonesbury, both collaborations with Garry Trudeau and much of her work deals with dark issues such as racism, murder, and mental illness.

Her father was Robert O. Swados.

Swados has suffered from depression, a condition she discussed in her book, My Depression: A Picture Book.

Her mother and sibling suffered from schizophrenia, he mother passed away in 1974 due to her committing suicide.

Elizabeth had written about her life in her 1991 autobiography, The Four of Us, A Family Memoir, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Ms.Swados studied music at Bennington College in Vermont, receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973.

Swados was honored by the Hobart and William Smith College, with an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters, in 1980.

Most of her works are musicals, her compositions draw from folk and world music genres rather than from standard musical theatre.

Ms. Swados first success, Runaways, was intended to be a community service piece with a short run.

She gained her Tony Award nominations for Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Choreography.

Elizabeth was nominated for Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Director of a Musical, Outstanding Lyrics, and Outstanding Music, and won an Obie Award for her direction.

Elizabeth Swadoshas written music for film (Four Friends) and television and has performed at Carnegie Hall.

She has published 3 novels, 3 non-fiction books, and 9 children’s books.

She received the Guggenheim Fellowship, a Ford Fellowship, a Covenant Foundation Grant, a Special International PEN Citation, a Cine Award, and a Mira Award, among others.

Elizabeth has taught in the drama department at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and at The New School’s Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts as a visiting artist.

Elizabeth Swados most recent books are My Depression, Sidney’s Animal Rescue, and At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater.

Elizabeth Swados passed away at 64 yrs old due to esophageal cancer.