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PRIME CUTS: First Song Written for “Wicked”

March 5th, 2012

Jackie Burns in "Wicked". Photo by Joan Marcus.

In our continuing series, we’re taking a look at songs cut from Broadway musicals to see what happens in the making of a show. Next up, the first song finished–and revised–from the mega-hit musical Wicked

Like the set of the wizardly Wicked, a musical has to click together like clockwork. Each piece should serve the greater whole and be intensely focused on the story and themes. In a conversation with Carol de Giere at, the composer Stephen Schwartz reveals how this idea played into the cutting of one early part of the score:

“Making Good” was the first song Stephen Schwartz finished for his witches of Oz musical¬†Wicked, and the first to be revised. Scene two and its song were crucial for setting up Elphaba’s desire line for the entire show. “Making Good” explored her ambition to “making good” in both senses of the phrase, “that is, to do things which were good, and in doing so, to make good in the sense of succeed,” Schwartz explains. But there was something too mild about it, so he wrote a second version, which still wasn’t hitting the mark. Then the songwriter reconsidered what Elphaba wanted. “It’s got to be about the Wizard,” he said to bookwriter Winnie Holzman in their next phone call. “What does she want? She’s gotta want to meet the Wizard because she thinks that’s going to solve her problems, just like everybody else in The Wizard of Oz.” He asked Holzman to write a monologue that would express the ideas, and spun “The Wizard and I” from there.

Think he made a “good” decision? Listen to Stephanie J. Block singing the cut song “Making Good”:

And for comparison’s sake, here is the song that replaced “Making Good” in the final score of the show, “The Wizard and I”:

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