Oh you Wicked haters out there, you knew it had to come. Stephen Schwartz’s score is probably the best-loved score since Rent, maybe even more so, and I stand on the side of those who celebrate its strength and power.
There are any number of great songs in Wicked that could be listed above; “What is This Feeling?,” “Dancing Through Life,” “Popular,” “I’m Not That Girl,” and “For Good” are all remarkable songs, “For Good” being particularly powerful.
“Defying Gravity,” however, stands out as the ultimate Act I closer. Sitting in the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles and seeing Stephanie J. Block fly while singing this amazing song was thrilling. It pushed you into intermission not wanting to leave the story and very excited to return.
It’s the song that best represents what people love about Elpaba, her determination to rise above expectations and to change the world. I love the lyric:
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love I guess I’ve lost
Well, if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost
There’s a truth to that, the choice many people make while in middle school that affects the rest of their lives, that decision to follow the crowd and to never be unique. We do follow our fears and settle for less than we want to be because we crave acceptance. Elphaba, in “Defying Gravity,” inspires us all to follow our dreams and aspirations instead.
Plus I am in love with theme of the song as a whole—rising above expectations, soaring beyond limitations, and following your heart, all with defiance toward those who would bring you down. If you listen to “You Can’t Stop the Beat” to cheer you up, you listen to “Defying Gravity” to inspire you to do great things.
the Broadway Mouth
June 9, 2008