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REVIEWS of Wicked's Score and CD

wicked logoWicked Sheet Music - Score highlights, piano vocal selections, composer comments

Order the Wicked CD - original Broadway cast recording for the musical Wicked: $9.99 (List price $18.98). Available on the official release date of December 16. Amazon.com - Wicked CD [new browser window] (Wicked soundtrack) .

Comment by Idina Menzel:

As Idina Menzel was interviewed right after receiving her Tony Award for Wicked she said about Stephen Schwartz she says, "I hope he knows how incredible it is for us [the cast]. People are unbelievably moved every night by his music. And it's an incredible honor that I get to interpret Stephen Schwartz's music every night."

Link to Gregory Maguire's Wicked CD review Comments by Wicked's Novelist.

"Street Buzz"

An email from D.H., Fairbanks, Alaska:

The WICKED soundtrack that I pre-ordered when I was at the show arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska the day after it was released! I have listened to it 3 times since 5 pm last night and will be bringing it to work tomorrow to listen to on my computer. My 3 year old neice is enjoying "Popular" she sings " popular, like me" over and over again. I find myself magically winged though the music back to my seat in the Gershwin. The goosebumps, laughter and tears are still there thanks to the beauty of the music. I hope you "Defy Gravity" and let Mr. Schwartz know that "I don't know if I've been changed for the better." but thanks to his collaborative efforts with Maguire and Holzman " I have been changed for good".

"Wicked CD: It's Gonna Be Pop-u-lar" by Shawn McCarthy

If asked to explain one of the reasons I enjoy Stephen Schwartz' musicals as much as I do, my short answer is "Because he's one of the few writers who has successfully been able to blend a pop or contemporary style of music with a theatrical sensiblity to tell compelling stories." Case in point, his latest theatrical offering WICKED, which is virtually selling out its 8 performance schedule each week at Broadway's Gershwin theatre since it opened last October.

The next best thing to seeing this incredible show is to listen to the terrific cast recording, produced by the composer and released in mid-December on the Decca label. From the sombre yet celebratory opening "No One Mourns the Wicked," through the tender and touching "For Good," the score boasts a delightful array of theatrically appropriate songs many of which leave a lasting impression upon first listen. The score has a magical 'other worldly' quality to it that is enhanced by the superb orchestrations and arrangements by William D. Brohn and Alex Lacamorie/Stephen Oremus respectively.

Schwartz' carefully crafted music and lyrics bring the story of the witches of Oz - Glinda (perfectly portrayed by Kristin Chenoweth) and Elphaba (powerfully played by Idena Menzel) - to life through humorous and jaunty numbers such as "What Is this Feeling?" and in particular, another show stopper "Popular". In this latter song Ms. Chenoweth summons all of her musical and comedic powers to deliver one of the most impressive musical theatre songs I've heard in recent years

"Whenever I see someone, less fortunate than I

(And let's face it, who isn't, less fortunate than I)

My tender heart tends to want to bleed.

And when someone needs a make-over

I simply have to take over

I know, I know exactly what they need,...

Menzel gets numerous opportunities to shine and rises - literally in one number - to the occasion each time. She delivers the protagonist's 'I Want' song entitled "The Wizard and I" with such conviction and gusto that you're left with no doubt as to her character's desires and aspirations. It's set to an infectious 3 chord motif reminiscent of a Schwartz's solo piece "Rewriting History". Also in Act I, we get a heartbreaking ballad called "I'm Not That Girl". In this song Elphaba realizes that the dashing young Fiyero (played by Norbert Leo Butz) may be her ideal but she's convinced that she's not in the same league:

"Don't dream, too far

Don't lose sight of who you are...."

Fiyero too gets a chance to step into the spotlight with his first act solo "Dancing Through Life"and in act two together with Elphaba sings the show's most overtly romantic song "As Long As You're Mine"; a strongly pop oriented song made evident with its heavy use of synths and drums.

Other highlights include: Joel Grey's Wizard singing the bouncy vaudeville-style number "Wonderful", a catchy chorus piece entitled "One Short Day" that celebrates the wonders of the Emerald City and "For Good" which is destined to become a classic heard on recordings and in cabarets. This heart felt ode to the power of friendship, sung by Glinda and Elphaba, is the emotional heart of the show and will no doubt have listeners shedding a tear or two even after repeated listening.

"So much of me, is made from what I've learned from you

You'll be with me, like a handprint on my heart..."

This 19 track CD is a must for any Schwartz fan and for anyone interested in experiencing an exciting score that's at once contemporary and theatrical. Much like the Emerald City it sparkles and glows. (End)

A Few Song Notes from Critics

"...Schwartz remains a strong melodist, and the Wicked tunes stay with you....Wicked possesses an all-new, full-bodied, story-based, stylistically traditional Broadway score, all of which makes the CD quite playable."--Ken Mendelbaum, Broadway.com

Wicked boasts songs with honest-to-God melodies and smart, sophisticated lyrics. (How rare is that?) Numbers like "Defying Gravity" and "For Good" will become anthems heard for many years to come. "I'm Not That Girl" is a heartbreaking ballad; "Popular" and "Wonderful" are brightly yet piercingly satiric. --Barbara and Scott Siegel Wicked review at Theatremania.com [new browser window]

Elphaba's First Song, "The Wizard and I": Wicked wonderful beyond belief. Not since Ariel sang her first song in The Little Mermaid has there been such a bolt-of-lightning moment when we immediately and squarely land on a character's side. That Idina Menzel delivers the number so astonishingly only adds to the glorious experience. What a wicked great performance this lady is giving! ...I'm grateful for "Defying Gravity," the socko song that helps the first act curtain be so impressive; and "For Good," in which Schwartz uses some impressive wordplay to make his point, set to a wicked dynamite melody. --Peter Felicia Felicia's review at Theatremania.com [new browser window]

Idina Menzel's Elphaba is a powerfully human sorceress, particularly when delivering haunting new songs such as No Good Deed and I'm Not That Girl. - USA Today

On Idina: "Her big numbers raise the roof." --New York Observer

On Wicked's score: "It has a lush and lively score by the long-silent composer Stephen Schwartz" - Jacques Le Sourd -- The Journal News

Return to the main Wicked Music page

Original Broadway Cast: Glinda: Kristin Chenoweth; Elphaba: Idina Menzel; The Wizard: Joel Grey; Fiyero: Norbert Leo Butz; Madame Morrible: Carole Shelley; Dr. Dillamond: William Youmans; Boq: Christopher Fitzgerald; Nessarose: Michelle Federer; Citizens, students, etc.: Ensemble

Wicked Original Broadway Cast Album Track List courtesy of Decca Broadway:

  • 1. NO ONE MOURNS THE WICKED - Glinda and Citizens of Oz
  • 2. DEAR OLD SHIZ - Glinda and Students
  • 3. THE WIZARD AND I - Morrible, Elphaba
  • 4. WHAT IS THIS FEELING? - Glinda, Elphaba and Students
  • 5. SOMETHING BAD - Dr. Dillamond and Elphaba
  • 6. DANCING THROUGH LIFE - Fiyero, Glinda, Boq, Nessarose, Elphaba and Students
  • 7. POPULAR - Glinda
  • 8. I'M NOT THAT GIRL - Elphaba
  • 9. ONE SHORT DAY - Glinda, Elphaba and Denizens of the Emerald City
  • 10. A SENTIMENTAL MAN - The Wizard
  • 11. DEFYING GRAVITY - Elphaba, Glinda, Guards and Citizens of Oz
  • 12. THANK GOODNESS - Glinda, Morrible and Citizens of Oz
  • 13. WONDERFUL - The Wizard, Elphaba
  • 14. I'M NOT THAT GIRL (reprise) - Glinda
  • 15. AS LONG AS YOU'RE MINE - Elphaba and Fiyero
  • 16. NO GOOD DEED - Elphaba
  • 17. MARCH OF THE WITCH HUNTERS - Boq and Citizens of Oz
  • 18. FOR GOOD - Glinda and Elphaba
  • 19. FINALE - All

A MUSICAL CROSS REFERENCE

These suggestions are especially for those who enjoyed the show and are new to Schwartz music. Each musical is unique but some of Schwartz's style can be traced through his musicals.

From the Webmaster: Carol's Picks. If you enjoyed Wicked's songs you might Also like...

"Popular"

If you like the bright, bouncy, humorous style of "Popular" you might also enjoy "All for the Best" from Godspell, "No Time at All" and "Extraordinary" from Pippin, "Style" and "Two's Company" from The Magic Show(DVD and video available), and maybe "Bread" or "Luckiest Man in the World" from The Baker's Wife, "Moving in with Linda" (music by Schwartz) from Personals, and "Crowded Island" from Schwartz's Reluctant Pilgrim CD.

"The Wizard and I"

If you like the music for Idina Menzel's belted solo "The Wizard and I" you might also enjoy "Meadowlark" from The Baker's Wife, recorded by many divas, including (among others):

"For Good"

If you liked "For Good" you might enjoy Schwartz's beautiful duet "In Whatever Time We Have" from Children of Eden, "Since I Gave My Heart Away" - another heartful song with a country feel (From Gepetto), or the Menken/Schwartz ballad "If I Never Knew You" from Pocahontas.

In addition to the Children of Eden cast album recording, "In Whatever Time We Have" is also recorded on:

Stephen Schwartz sings "Since I Gave My Heart Away" on Uncharted Territory.

"If I Never Knew You" is recorded on:

  • John Barr - In Whatever Time We Have - (Dress Circle, 1998)
  • Michael Crawford - The Disney Album - (UNI/Disney, 2001)
    Michael Crawford's The Disney Album. [new browser window]
  • Hal Ketchum and Shelby Lynne - The Best of Country Sings the Best of Disney (Walt Disney Records, 1996)
  • Jon Secada and Shanice - Disney's Greatest Pop Hits - (Walt Disney Records, 1998)
  • Angela DeCicco and Bill Whitefield - Our Heart Sings (Jerome Records, 2000)

Find out all about Wicked by following links from the Wicked home page


Musicals of Stephen Schwartz:

Music and Lyrics

The Baker's Wife, Children of Eden, Geppetto, Godspell, The Magic Show, Pippin, The Prince of Egypt, Wicked, Working (four of the songs)

Lyrics

Bernstein's Mass, Rags, Disney's Pocahontas, Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

More Songs by Stephen Schwartz

Reluctant Pilgrim, Uncharted Territory, Butterflies are Free theme song, Life with Mikey "Cold Enough to Snow" (lyrics) (Now on Uncharted Territory, Personals (Music for several songs), A My Name is Still Alice (one song), "Manchild Lullaby" (music), and "Rewriting History" (music) See recordings list.