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"Defying Gravity" the Song

Info, Q and A, Lyrics, Chants

About the Song "Defying Gravity"

In the book Defying Gravity, you'll find a scan of Stephen Schwartz's handwritten notes while preparing the lyrics, and multi-page section about how the creative team developed that exhilerating first act climax scene.

Below are a few additional notes about the song.

Stephen Schwartz planned the first act climax of Wicked in his mind as he conceptualized the musical. He knew he'd write a musical number that expressed Elphaba's shift in perception about the Wizard, and her changed behavior. In the novel it happens quietly. In the musical it would have to be clear and bold. Early in the show's development, he stepped into the character and wrote a version of "Defying Gravity." learned and sang it in the readings during the development process. It was always an audience thriller, even without any fancy staging. Menzel was able to enhance the song by bringing the final section up an octave from the original pitch Schwartz had written.

QUESTION posted by "Wicked Lover" on StephenSchwartz.com forum by Stephen Schwartz

Wicked Lover: "I continue to get chills, as I first did in the theater, every time I replay Defying Gravity. It's currently my all-time favorite song from any musical ever. And that's saying something, as I've loved musicals all my life and devour scores for the ones I haven't seen or heard. I can't play piano worth beans, but I read music well and brought the magic show to life in my head long before I finally found the songs recorded.

So my question is - at what point did Defying Gravity come into being? Was it one of the original songs, written from the start? Did it replace an earlier something? I've seen shows evolve and it's interesting how sometimes the best songs are last minute additions to the show. So I'd love to know the history of that one. It's just FANTASTIC. AMAZING. INSPIRING. Tell me all about it!

Answer from Stephen Schwartz: "Dear WICKED lover: Thanks for your message, and obviously, I'm delighted by your enthusiasm for the show. "Defying Gravity" was written fairly early in the writing process and has been in the show since the first reading we did of just the first act in the fall of 2000 (it was written in the summer of 2000.) It is the only song I wrote for the end of the first act (unlike other spots in the show for which I wrote several numbers). The hardest thing about the writing process was arriving at the title, but once I did, the song flowed pretty quickly and easily, and the basic song itself hasn't ever really changed; the lyrics in the final show are the originals, as is the tune and accompaniment. But the surrounding material ("I hope you're happy") evolved over time, and during our readings, Glinda became more involved, as in the chorus where the girls sing in harmony or her line "if we work in tandem", which used to be Elphaba's. (This may be more detail than you wanted, but I thought I would answer fully.) Thanks again for taking the time to write, Stephen Schwartz

Chants Schwartz made up to use for "Defying Gravity" - Levitation Spell:

AHBEN TAHKAY, AHBEN TAHKAY, AHBEN AHTUM
AHBEN TAHKAYAH
ENTAYAH TINFENTAH
AHBEN TAHKAY

Lyrics from the Broadway Musical

"Defying Gravity"

music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

(Copyright by Stephen Schwartz. Used with permission.)

GLINDA
Why couldn't you have stayed calm, for once! Instead of flying off the handle -- !

I hope you're happy
I hope you're happy now
I hope you're happy how you've
Hurt your cause forever
I hope you think you're clever

ELPHABA
I hope you're happy
I hope you're happy too
I hope you're proud how you would
Grovel in submission
To feed your own ambition

GLINDA & ELPHABA
So though I can't imagine how
I hope you're happy
Right now

GLINDA
Elphie, listen to me. Just say you're sorry!

You can still be with The Wizard
What you've worked and waited for
You can have all you ever wanted -

ELPHABA
I know
But I don't want it - No!
I can't want it anymore

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by
The rules of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes
And leap...

It's time to try defying gravity
I think I'll try defying gravity
And you can't pull me down

GLINDA
Can't I make you understand
You're having delusions of grandeur?

ELPHABA
I'm through accepting limits
Cuz someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try I'll never know
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

I'd sooner buy defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye, I'm defying gravity
And you can't pull me down!

Glinda, come with me. Think of what we could do - together!

Unlimited
Together we're unlimited
Together we'll be the greatest team
There's ever been - Glinda!
Dreams the way we planned 'em

GLINDA
If we work in tandem

GLINDA & ELPHABA
There's no fight we cannot win
Just you and I, defying gravity
With you and I defying gravity

ELPHABA
They'll never bring us down!

Well, are you coming?

(GLINDA decides to stay behind.)

GLINDA
I hope you're happy
I hope your happy now that your choosing this -

ELPHABA
You too--
I hope it brings you bliss

GLINDA & ELPHABA
I really hope you get it
And you don't live to regret it
I hope you're happy in the end
I hope you're happy my friend

ELPHABA
So if you care to find me
Look to the Western sky!
As someone told me lately
Everyone deserves the chance to fly
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who ground me
Take a message back from me!

Tell them how I am defying gravity
I'm flying high, defying gravity
And soon I'll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!!

GLINDA
I hope you're happy

CITIZENS OF OZ
Look at her
She's wicked
Get her!!

ELPHABA
Bring me down!

CITIZENS OF OZ
No one mourns the wicked
So we got to bring her -

ELPHABA
Ahhhh!

CITIZENS OF OZ
--Down!

_________