I Have Been Changed For Good

I’m flying high, defying gravity tonight. That’s right… I saw “Wicked” tonight. And I loved it. Every. Single. Moment.

So call me a dork, call me a musical junkie, call me a gayboy, call me whatever you want. I loved it and I am not ashamed to say it. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, right? Right.

I never got to see Wicked in New York… in fact, I have never seen a Broadway show ON Broadway. (It’s time I change that, don’t you think?)

But fortunately for me, Chicago has a pretty decent stream of Broadway-bound shows that premiere here, as well as well-known Broadway hits, such as “Wicked,” that play either short or extended runs here.

We’re really lucky with “Wicked,” because after this current cast, which is a touring production based on the Broadway show, we are going to get our own, permanent cast (starring, interestingly enough, Ana Gasteyer from “Saturday Night Live” as Elphaba) that is going to say for an open run. Needless to say, the city is abuzz.

The current cast is not represented on the poster displayed here… that, of course, is the original Broadway cast that everyone knows. But this cast was really superb. Stephanie J. Block (Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West) was simply outstanding. She easily gives Idina Menzel a run for her money. And Kendra Kassebaum (Galinda/Glinda) was also fantastic, maybe not as vocally strong as Kristin Chenowith, but every ounce as perky and entertaining. Other strong performers were David Garrison as the Wizard, who you may remember playing Steve, Marcy’s first husband on “Married, With Children;” Barbara Tirrell, who was the understudy for Carol Kane in the role of Madame Morrible, and Jenna Leigh Green as Nessarose.

My only disappointment was with Fiyero, played by Derrick Williams. He was a little cardboard in his presence, and at times I wasn’t happy with his voice… but when he and Stephanie Block dueted on “As Long As You’re Mine,” it was pretty electric.

But the show belonged to the leads… and they were wonderful. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house during “For Good,” the final duet between them. And when Elphaba lept and flew above the stage during “Defying Gravity,” the audience was stunned.

Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the music and lyrics to “Wicked” has long been one of my favorite composers. Ever since I sang “All Good Gifts” during a production of “Godspell” in my sophomore year of high school, I’ve been hooked. Hell, my cat’s name is Pippin… you don’t think I named him after the former Chicago Bulls star, do you? 😉

Some say this isn’t his best score, but I say it is. There are some downright gorgeous songs in this show. And one of them– probably my favorite of all– is “For Good.” The words are as moving as the melody. And they fit so many different situations, and mean so many different things to so many people.

So I am sharing some of them with you. Because they express how I feel about many of you out there… and I just want to thank you for all you’ve done for me in the last year. (Can you believe it’s almost been a year since I started this blog?)

Of course, these are copyright of Mr. Schwartz, so I must give credit to him here… so please visit his website at www.stephenschwartz.com.

For Good from “Wicked”

I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good …

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend…

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you…
Because I knew you…
I have been changed for good…
And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I’ve done you blame me for
But then, I guess we know
There’s blame to share
And none of it seems to matter anymore

For the full set of lyrics and other good stuff about “Wicked,” visit this link: http://www.musicalschwartz.com/wicked-lyrics.htm