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Animals in Wicked

and lyrics for "Something Bad"

 

Also see the Wicked lyrics index page for full details

about Wicked songs by Stephen Schwartz

 

 

Wicked Dr. Dillamond Goat

 

This photo by Joan Marcus shows Idina Menzel as Elphaba with Goat professor Dr. Dillmond, costume by Susan Hilferty. (Read more about Wicked Costumes)

 

Animals and the Story Behind "Something Bad" from Wicked

 

With comparisons between Wicked the Novel and Wicked the musical (originally published for The Schwartz Scene)

 

by Carol de Giere

 

The first thing Stephen Schwartz ever told me about Wicked, back in November of 2000, was how difficult the Animal puzzle was to solve. Refering to Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked that he was trying to adapt he said, "Well, there's a whole subplot in the book about talking Animals. It is in the show. Frankly, we tried to get rid of it because it's confusing, but so much of the plot hinges on it so there is nothing that can be done. That is the biggest thing for us to solve-figuring how to do that without bogging the whole thing down."

 

From the first draft, the conflict with the Animals was the part of the story designed to turn Elphaba against he Wizard.

 

It all started with the novelist, Gregory Maguire, who made discoveries in his imagination as he wound his way into Oz. One day his teenage character Galinda boarded the train from her homeland to start a new phase of her life as a college student at Shiz University. The writer envisioned the scene with the conductor calling out stops and another passenger nearby. He wrote: "The old goat who sprawled on the seat across from her was missing the Wittica stop. She was glad that trains made passengers sleepy."

 

The writer himself was ready to rest, and paused for the day at the end of that paragraph. The next morning he reentered his Oz-world by reading what he'd written the previous day. "I gulped to realize that 'the old goat' wasn't a dreary older gentlemen with crumbs in his beard, but a real goat, and he was going to wake up and speak. Who would he turn out to be? Dr. Dillamond, therefore, introduced himself to me at the same moment that he introduced himself to Galinda. When he spoke, it was about Animal rights . . . ."

 

The conductor punched the Goat's ticket and said, "You're a rare beast that can afford to travel first class."

 

"Oh," said the Goat, "I object to the term beast. But the laws still allow my traveling in first class, I presume?"

 

Maguire had invented a class of creatures who would be the oppressed in Oz in various ways. He would place the newly discovered distinguished Goat as a professor at Shiz where he would become a focal point of Elphaba's future break with the status quo.

 

Maguire's Animals (which he distinguished from animals - lowercase a) were highly conscious beings whose societal conflicts included travel restrictions, and various other forms of discrimination.

 

Stephen Schwartz thought Dr. Dillimond was a colorful character for a musical. Through his personality and costume, the Goat could add to the fantasy dimension as well as the political themes, and serve as a catalyst for Elphaba's transformation. As in the novel he was a biology teacher.


Schwartz and bookwriter Winnie Holzman looked at the conflict Gregory Maguire had cooked up with regard to Animals. The Wizard's regime confiscated property owned by Animals in order to finance the building of the Yellow Brick Road to unite the country, among other issues.


Dr. Dillamond wanted to prove that Animal and human consciousness were on the same level in order to discourage discrimination. With Elphaba's assistance, he worked on an "Extract of Biological Intention" as the basis of his proof.

 

The writers of the musical Wicked tried to use this level of detail in their early drafts. In the first draft of Act I, Schwartz and Holzman invented a "Rain in Spain" moment and Schwartz wrote a song called "As If by Magic." Dr. Dillamond, Elphaba, and Fiyero sang and danced over a breakthrough in the research, echoing a scene from My Fair Lady where the three principle actors sing and dance over Eliza's improving diction.

 

The writers abandoned this approach and left the Goat songless for a long time.

 

In discussions with producer Marc Platt and director Joe Mantello, the concept for how to treat the Animals in Wicked was simplified. The whole idea about the Animals became focused on them losing their powers of speech.

 

As part of their being silenced, Dr. Dillamond loses his job and begins losing his voice. Elphaba becomes upset. To demonstrate all of this, Schwartz wrote, "Something Bad"

 

Defying GravityResolving the song for Dr. Dillamond wasn't the end of the traumas for the Animals. In San Francisco, some commentators complained they didn't know why the treatment of Animals was so important for Elphaba. The team decided to emphasize Animal confinement, referring to cages in the script and augmenting the design related to them. In fact there is one spooky moment when the stage is flooded in an eerie red light and in the background, using projections against a back wall as well as actors, winged monkeys flap around inside a caged area on the stage horizon.

 

Read the full story of Wicked's development in Defying Gravity - a biography of Schwartz that includes 150 pages on the making of Wicked.

 

Defying Gravity also features some handwritten notes from Stephen Schwartz for Wicked, his original outline for the show, over 200 photos from his long career, and insights on his creative process.

 

"Something Bad" in context of show

 

SOMETHING BAD - Dr. Dillamond and Elphaba

The mistreatment of talking Animals provides a storytelling vehicle for the political element of the tale. Something "Baaaaad" (as bleated by the talking Goat professor Dr. Dillamond who may be losing his voice) introduces the conflict between the Wizard, Madame Morrible, and the Animals without giving away the whole story. This song hints at the nature of the Animal oppression. It also provides a context for the interaction between the goat and Elphaba, and on stage it's clear that these two at the fringe of Oz society are beginning to care about each other's welfare.

SOME COMMMENTS FROM STEPHEN SCHWARTZ

From his website forum: Oz in the book is essentially a totalitarian state, and the Wizard rules by fear, aided by his secret police force. In the show, the Wizard is more manipulative, pretending to be doing things for the good of Oz and to be subjugating the animals for the greater good, but it becomes clear through the course of the evening that he is doing these things only to remain in power, and that his scapegoating of the animals (pun intended) is because "one sure way to bring people together is to give them a really good enemy".

Oz in the show is still a place where one "race", the animals, is being systematically deprived of its rights; the Animal story in the show still has strong elements of Jews in Nazi Germany or minority races in the United States.

"Something Bad" lyrics

DOCTOR DILLAMOND
(spoken) Oh, Miss Elphaba - The things one hears these
days. Dreadful things...
(sung) I've heard of an Ox
A professor from Quox
No longer permitted to teach
Who has lost all powers of speech
And an Owl in Munchkin Rock
A vicar with a thriving flock
Forbidden to preach
Now he can only screech!
Only rumors - but still -
Enough to give pause
To anyone with paws
Something bad is happening in Oz...

ELPHABA
Something bad? Happening in Oz?

DILLAMOND
Under the surface
Behind the scenes
Something baaaaaaad...
(spoken) Sorry. "Bad"

ELPHABA(spoken)
Doctor Dillamond - If something bad is happening
to the Animals, someone's got to tell the Wizard.
That's why we have a Wizard.
(sung) So nothing bad....

DILLAMOND
(spoken) I hope you're right...

BOTH
Nothing all that bad...

DILLAMOND
Nothing truly baaaaaad....
(spoken) Sorry... "Bad"...

ELPHABA
It couldn't happen here
In Oz...

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