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4 Songs About Empowerment and Friendship from Wicked

by RepublicAsia

What is this feeling? So sudden and new. I felt it the moment the melody hit my ears. They were upbeat, and some were ballads, but all gave the same feeling of empowerment, comfort, loss, and friendship. 

These are the Wicked songs from Stephen Schwartz’s musical “Wicked” about the story of the Witches of Oz friendship, Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West. 

According to the Behind the Magic Documentary on the musical (2021), it is a story that started with L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” inspired Gregory Maguire to write a book about his favorite character, The Wicked Witch of the West, whom he named Elphaba, entitled “Wicked” in 1995. 

Then, a few years later, it became a play written by Winnie Holzman and composed by Stephen Schwartz, who you may recognize from works like “Pocahontas” and “The Prince of Egypt”. 

The documentary also says they began to cast the roles with Kristin Chenoweth, who impressed the makers so much that they changed the story to focus on the friendship between the two witches, which started with her and Stephanie J. Block then later Idina Menzel who played Elphaba. After many more revisions and characters cast and recast, it became a musical that debuted on Broadway in 2003 but was created in San Francisco. It went on tour for many years, coming to the Philippines in 2011, 2014, and 2017. Now, it is set for the long-awaited big-screen debut in a few months. 

The story follows the story of the Witches of Oz, Glinda, and Elphaba before Dorothy comes into the picture. It follows their time at Shiz, their school, their rivalry turned friendship, and Elphaba’s banishment, as well as the story we did not see during the original story. 

Now, though, let us look back at some of the best songs from Wicked sung by our two leads that celebrate their hopes, dreams, zest for life, and friendship. 

Photo courtesy: wicked_musical | Instagram

“Popular” is the second song by our two leads after “What is This Feeling?”. “What is This Feeling?” is a song that shows their dynamic as enemies and sets up their different statuses in life. Then as the story goes on, Galinda (later becoming Glinda) begins to see another side of Elphaba and even stands up for her (which happens in the previous scene with her dancing with her). After that scene, the two girls start their friendship with Galinda helping Elphaba, or Elphie as she calls her, with a makeover. It was set to this song which shows Galinda’s genuine desire to help her newfound friend be more liked in school while Elphaba is still unsure of it and herself. 

The upbeat song shows Galinda’s bubbly personality and how much she wants to help Elphaba be popular like her. It also indicates the start of their friendship, which is still off to a rocky start, but it gets better. 

Photo courtesy: wicked_musical | Instagram

“One Short Day” 

This song starts as soon as the girls go to Emerald City to meet the Wizard, who wants to meet Elphaba because of her tremendous powers. At Emerald, they start to explore the place in awe as they find a place where they belong since it is all grand and all green. It is a song about the two girls discussing their dreams and desires to live there one day and fulfill their dreams together. It is also the type of song that lets you have fun with your friends while exploring places you have always dreamed of visiting like them. This is also the song that solidifies them as best friends, which Galinda mentions at the end of the song. 

Photo Courtesy: wicked_musical | Instagram

“Defying Gravity”

This song is the final song of Act I and the start of Elphaba’s journey as a misunderstood hero. This happens after she meets the wizard and realizes the man she thought was so wonderful and could help her was not who he said he was. This makes her want to go against him and defy the traditional norms for what she believes is the right thing. In this song, any Elphaba can make the show due to the notes she needs to hit and the power they must have. In this song, we see Elphaba’s fighting spirit as she feels hopeful and passionate about her cause and goes against the wizard, even if it is a risk. She still takes a risk. 

This song will empower anyone to defy gravity and pursue their unlimited potential despite what others say and what holds them back. Elphaba even asks Glinda to accompany her because she knows they will be stronger together. Yet, Glinda has to follow a different path, so she stays behind, but still, she supports her best friend as she pursues her cause. Not only will this song empower you, but it will also remind you that you have people who support you. Even though they cannot go with you, they will still cheer for you.

Photo Courtesy: wicked_musical | Instagram

“For Good”

“For Good” is the last song our leads sing together. It is also the last time the best friends see each other. After all that has happened, Elphaba’s banishment, the guy they both love’s death, and everything that happened with Dorothy, they both know that things cannot be like how they were in Shiz. Life has changed so much that they must part permanently. This song is about still caring about someone you spent a long time with but understanding that life is pulling you in different directions. It still celebrates a long-term friendship that is changing, which is a thing that happens in reality, too. Sometimes, you still care about people, but they are no longer in your life. In Elphaba’s case, she can’t be in Glinda’s life after everything happened. But through this song, you can acknowledge that you shared beautiful memories and learned from each other that changed you. 

Hopefully, these songs empowered you and your friendships. And now that you know the story of the witches of Oz, you also enjoy the new movie musical.

With reports from Brigitta Feliza R. Aquino 
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