David Joel Zippel
May 17, 1954
Easton, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Education||University of Pennsylvania (1976)|
Harvard Law School
David Joel Zippel (born May 17, 1954) is an American musical theatre lyricist, director, and producer.
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.
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.
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.