Marc Shaiman
At the Drama League All Star Benefit Gala, February 7, 2011
Born (1959-10-22) October 22, 1959 (age 64)
  • Composer
  • lyricist
Louis Mirabal
(m. 2016)

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 and director Rob Reiner. Shaiman has received numerous accolades including a Grammy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and a Tony Award. He has also received seven Academy Awards nominations.

Shaiman started his career as a writer on Saturday Night Live from 1984 to 1987. He went on to compose such films as When Harry Met Sally... (1989), Misery (1990), City Slickers (1991), Sister Act (1992), Mr. Saturday Night (1992), A Few Good Men (1992), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), The American President (1995), The First Wives Club (1996), Patch Adams (1998), South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999), Hairspray (2007), and Mary Poppins Returns (2018).

He wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics for the Broadway musical Hairspray (2003) based on the John Waters 1988 film, for which he earned the Tony Award for Best Original Score. He has since received nominations for Catch Me If You Can (2011) and Some Like It Hot (2023).

Personal life

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 Manhattan and upstate New York.

He is openly gay,[4] and married Louis Mirabal, a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, on March 26, 2016.[5]


Shaiman started his career as a theatre/cabaret musical director. He started working at Saturday Night Live as an arranger/writer, where he 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; he returned for an appearance on The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special, having co-created Martin Short and Maya Rudolph's salute to musical sketch characters.[6] He began his professional relationships with Billy Crystal and Martin Short during his tenure at the show. He also was a 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 Midler and Billy Crystal led to his involvement on their films. He later produced Midler's album It's the Girls, which had the highest debut of Midler's recording career on the Billboard Album charts, and co-wrote Crystal's farewell to Jay Leno which featured Carol Burnett and Oprah Winfrey among others.

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, Hairspray, Flipped, Mary Poppins Returns and HBO's From the Earth to the Moon and 61*. On television, he worked 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 has earned seven 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.[7] He is the first recipient of the Film & TV Music Award for Best Score for a Comedy Feature Film. He wrote and sang the song "Yes" for his agent's film Finding Kraftland, and 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. He and Wittman wrote original songs for the musical-based television show for NBC, Smash, which ran from 2012 to 2013, 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 and Wittman were honored on April 28, 2014, by The New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.[6] The following year, Jennifer Hudson sang theSmash song "I Can't Let Go" at the 87th Academy Awards during the in memoriam tribute, featuring revised lyrics. The duo'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 2021, they wrote a song titled "Save the City" for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in-universe Broadway production titled Rogers: The Musical featured in the first episode of Hawkeye, "Never Meet Your Heroes".[8] It was released as a single on November 24, the day the episode became available on Disney+.[9]

In February 2021, it was announced that Shaiman and Wittman were writing songs for a new musical adaptation of Some Like It Hot, coming to Broadway in 2022 with a book by Amber Ruffin and Matthew Lopez.[10]


In 2008, a controversy erupted nationwide when California Musical Theatre's then artistic director Scott Eckern[11][12] 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.[13][14]



Year Title Director Notes
1988 Big Business Jim Abrahams Songs only
Beaches Garry Marshall Music supervisor
1989 When Harry Met Sally... Rob Reiner
1990 Misery
1991 Scenes from a Mall Paul Mazursky
City Slickers Ron Underwood
The Addams Family Barry Sonnenfeld
Hot Shots! Jim Abrahams Actor
For the Boys Mark Rydell Songs only
1992 Sister Act Emile Ardolino
Mr. Saturday Night Billy Crystal
A Few Good Men Rob Reiner
1993 Sleepless in Seattle Nora Ephron
Heart and Souls Ron Underwood
Hocus Pocus Kenny Ortega Musical arrangement: Additional arrangements
Life with Mikey James Lapine
Addams Family Values Barry Sonnenfeld
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit Bill Duke
1994 City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold Paul Weiland
North Rob Reiner
Speechless Ron Underwood
That's Entertainment! III Bud Friedgen and Michael J. Sheridan
1995 Stuart Saves His Family Harold Ramis
Forget Paris Billy Crystal
The American President Rob Reiner
1996 Bogus Norman Jewison
Mother Albert Brooks
The First Wives Club Hugh Wilson
Ghosts of Mississippi Rob Reiner
1997 George of the Jungle Sam Weisman
In & Out Frank Oz
1998 My Giant Michael Lehmann
Simon Birch Mark Steven Johnson
Patch Adams Tom Shadyac
1999 The Out-of-Towners Sam Weisman
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Trey Parker
The Story of Us Rob Reiner With Eric Clapton
2000 The Kid Jon Turteltaub
2001 Get Over It Tommy O'Haver Songs only
One Night at McCool's Harald Zwart
The Wedding Planner Adam Shankman
2003 Down with Love Peyton Reed
Alex & Emma Rob Reiner
The Cat in the Hat Bo Welch Songs only
Marci X Richard Benjamin
2004 Team America: World Police Trey Parker Song only
score was rejected and replaced by Harry Gregson-Williams
2005 Rumor Has It... Rob Reiner
2007 Hairspray Adam Shankman
The Bucket List Rob Reiner
Bee Movie Simon J. Smith and Steve Hickner Song in end credits only
2010 Flipped Rob Reiner
2012 The Magic of Belle Isle
Parental Guidance Andy Fickman
2014 And So It Goes Rob Reiner
2016 LBJ
2017 The Star Timothy Reckart
2018 Mary Poppins Returns Rob Marshall
2021 Tick, Tick... Boom! Lin-Manuel Miranda Cameo appearance
2022 Bros Nicholas Stoller
Hocus Pocus 2 Anne Fletcher additional lyrics / song and vocal producer


Year Title Notes
Saturday Night Live
1986 Comic Relief
Billy Crystal: Don't Get Me Started
1987 Billy Crystal: Don't Get Me Started - The Lost Minutes
1988 The Mondo Beyondo Show
1989 I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood
What's Alan Watching?
1990 Billy Crystal: Midnight Train To Moscow
62nd Academy Awards
1991 63rd Academy Awards
1992 64th Academy Awards
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Episode: "Robin Williams/Bette Midler"
1993 65th Academy Awards
1997 69th Academy Awards
Bette Midler in Concert: Diva Las Vegas
1998 70th Academy Awards
From the Earth to the Moon Episode: "The Original Wives Club"
1999 Saturday Night Live 25th Anniversary Special
1999, 2002 South Park Composer (Episode: "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics")
Actor (Episode: "Cripple Fight")
1999 Get Bruce
1999 Jackie's Back
2000 72nd Academy Awards
2001 61*
2002 Greg the Bunny
2003 Charlie Lawrence
The Score
2004 Biography Episode: "Bette Midler"
76th Academy Awards
2005 77th Academy Awards
2007 79th Academy Awards
2009 63rd Tony Awards
61st Primetime Emmy Awards
2010 82nd Academy Awards
The Kennedy Center Honors
2012 84th Academy Awards
2012–2013 Smash
2015 Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special
87th Academy Awards
2016 Hairspray Live!
2020 Mariah Carey's Magical Christmas Special
2021 The Prince Episode: "School Musical Part 2"
Hawkeye 2 episodes
2023 Only Murders in the Building




Concert/cabaret work


Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Marc Shaiman

For his work as a composer and lyricist for films, television, and theatre, Shaiman has received numerous accolades including a Emmy Award, a Grammy Award and a Tony Award as well as nominations for 7 Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. He earned the Hollywood Film Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music and Film in 2002.


  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 September 29, 2007, 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 October 3, 2015, 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. ^ Itzkoff, Dave. "For This Songwriter, the Political Is Musical" The New York Times, December 6, 2008
  5. ^ "Hairspray Composer Marc Shaiman Ties The Knot" Archived March 29, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Playbill, March 26, 2016
  6. ^ a b "Smash - NBC Official Site: Bios". NBC TV. Archived from the original on February 3, 2012. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  7. ^ "ASCAP Henry Mancini Award". ASCAP. Archived from the original on October 27, 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  8. ^ Paige, Rachel (November 10, 2021). "'Hawkeye': Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman on Bringing 'Rogers: The Musical' to Life". Archived from the original on November 10, 2021. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  9. ^ Perine, Aaron (November 24, 2021). "How to Listen to Rogers: The Musical Song, "Save the City," From Hawkeye". Archived from the original on November 24, 2021. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  10. ^ McPhee, Ryan (February 10, 2021). "Amber Ruffin to Co-Write Broadway-Aimed Some Like It Hot Musical". Playbill. Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  11. ^ "Sacramento theater director who donated to Prop. 8 faced storm of criticism". Los Angeles Times. November 12, 2008. Archived from the original on August 20, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  12. ^ McKinley, Jesse (November 12, 2008). "Scott Eckern of California Musical Theater Resigns Amid Gay-Rights Ire Over Proposition 8 in California". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 6, 2018. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  13. ^ Itzkoff, Dave. "Marc Shaiman on 'Prop 8 — The Musical'", Archived December 6, 2009, at Wikiwix The New York Times, December 4, 2008
  14. ^ "Star-studded Web video protests Prop 8 – Spoof musical's blockbuster cast includes Jack Black as Jesus", Associated Press,, December 4, 2008
  15. ^ Musto, Michael (July 23, 2002). "NY Mirror". The Village Voice. Retrieved September 25, 2021.