How could I choose which 5 moments I love the most when you love the show from start to finish? Indecisively, that’s how. My favourite moments probably do and will continue to change, but I think the following list is the current general feeling I have. And I couldn’t fit everything I love in, so, some honourable mentions: Dancing through Life (Fiyero’s Arrival), As Long As You’re Mine, Thank Goodness, Governor’s Mansion (Wicked Witch of the East), The Wizard and I.
5. For Good
The accumulation of the journey we have been on with these two characters. The powerful statement of ‘because I knew you, I have been changed for good’ echoes widely, which is why this song is so successful out of context, and within the show. I particularly love this moment on a cast change in which the Elphaba, Glinda or even both are performing the song for the last time. The above lyric has more than one meaning in this circumstance, which makes it all the most poignant, and to see these amazing women get so emotional when they are leaving the show is a testament to how it affects people so strongly.
4. Dancing Through Life: Ballroom Sequence
From the end of a friendship to the beginning. A couple of moments still get me every time. The Nessarose/Boq supporting plot always breaks my heart (no pun intended); some performers who have played Nessarose have managed to hit me emotionally in the moment in which she feels loved and dances for the first time. Then in another kick to the gut, Elphaba arrives to the dance. The ensemble as the Students of Shiz are hilarious every time as they mock and tease her, and when Elphaba attempts to fit-in, it’s both hysterical and heart-breaking. But the scene soon changes mood when Glinda realises her mistake and joins in to dance with Elphaba. Just explaining it here does not do justice to how powerful that moment is on-stage. Many times I still find myself getting emotional because its such a poignant and relatable circumstance I feel begins the friendship of the two characters perfectly; the build-up of the Dancing through Life motif, and eventual reprise, compliments the scene so well.
3. The Finale
The most beautiful sequence in the show. I also look forward to seeing how a show ends – not because it’s ending of course – but you know that it is the scene that will finish the show and the imagery is the last you’ll see before the curtain comes down, so it needs to wow you. And luckily, Wicked has one of the best final scenes. The music (particularly those harmonies!), the strikingly emotional imagery as Glinda descends and Elphaba and Fiyero walk up-stage into their new life, and the link full-circle back to the beginning of the story. Everything about it still give me goosebumps even after so many times.
2. Catfight / No Good Deed
Without a doubt my favourite extended sequence of the show. From Dorothy’s house drop to the Witch Hunters rally, so much happens to the characters in this part of the show. Most fans consider the “Catfight” scene and No Good Deed one sequence, because it flows so perfectly. I always look forward to the “Catfight” scene – it’s my favourite fully spoken dialogue scene in the show because it showcases Elphaba and Glinda at this point in their story so effortlessly. Elphaba has turned into the ‘Wicked Witch’ we know from “The Wizard of Oz”, but here, we are still on her side. Glinda has been corrupted by the public figure image, so naturally, the two clash for the first time since before they became friends. Then we have No Good Deed – which is just the most incredible 11’o’clock number and possibly my favourite song in the show. It’s gritty, powerful, and services the character of Elphaba as she attempts to save Fiyero. It’s ridiculously good, and each Elphaba brings their own layers to the complex character which makes this equally a heart-breaking and exciting moment to experience.
1. Defying Gravity
An obviously choice? Probably. Oh, well. This scene is so powerful in multiple ways; it’s build-up from The Wizard’s chamber scene, to Madame Morrible’s speech and the eventual flying never fails to make my heart go three times faster experiencing it live. You experience Elphaba’s hope turn to torment when she discovers The Wizard’s plan and rebels against him; and the lyrics are relevant without the context of the show, yet work so perfectly inside it too – a factor all the best theatre songs have: they stand-alone, but you can’t have the show without them. Again, each Elphaba I’ve seen brings something different to the role and I’m always excited to experience how this is performed – a sure-fire showstopper! My favourite 100 seconds in theatre is the climax of this song, it’s without a doubt, my life.