“Wicked” Composer Stephen Schwartz reveals origin of hit song “For Good” as concert celebrating musical is set to air



It was not originally intended as a way to celebrate the return of live Broadway performances, but given its air date, PBS ‘ Wicked in Concert: A Musical Celebration of the Iconic Broadway Score became exactly that with the live Broadway shows now set to resume in a few weeks, on Tuesday, September 14e.

In this special, highly recognizable names from musical theater will perform songs from the hit Bad, musically arranged by Stephen Schwartz, with Winnie Holzman as author of the book.

The special is co-hosted by mean guys Original Broadway stars Kristin Chenoweth, Emmy Award winner and Tony and Idina Menzel, Tony Award winner, and features performances by Ariana DeBose, Cynthia Erivo, Stephanie Hsu, country artist Jennifer Nettles, Alex Newell, Isaac Powell, Amber Riley, Gabrielle Ruiz, and also includes EGOT winner Rita Moreno, among others.

“Wicked” in concert is directed by Broadway legend Baayork Lee with musical direction by Luke Frazier. Orchestral arrangements are created by Frazier with members of the American Pops Orchestra.

Thinking back to the early days of the musical, Schwartz says, “We did a lot of workshops and readings leading up to actual performances, but the first performance we were, of course, terrified. The show lasted at least half an hour longer than today. We didn’t even know if the landscape was going to collapse. But when it started and Kristin came out and said, “It’s good to see me, isn’t it” and got a wonderful response from the audience, we were a little relieved. Then when Idina walked in as the Wicked Witch of the West and received a round of applause at the entrance, we thought, “Okay, maybe we’ll be fine here. . “

Speaking of one of the most recognizable songs from Wicked, a heartfelt duet sung by lead characters Elphaba and Glinda, titled “For Good,” remarks Shwartz, “All Songs [I write] are my kids, which of course is a bit of a cliché, but we’re trying not to play favorites. That being said, I am really proud of “For Good”. I am so proud of the way it has been used outside of the show for everything from graduation ceremonies to funerals. ”

He hastens to add: “I want to give the author of the book Bad, Winnie Holzman, a little credit, because she actually came up with the title. When we were first talking about the final song for Elphaba and Glinda and I was thinking with [her], and at one point she just said in the conversation, ‘Well, you know, they had such an impact on each other. Really, they’ve changed for good. And I said, ‘I’m hanging up now because it’s one of the best tracks for a song I can imagine. Thanks for giving me the title. Now I will write it down.

Frazier says PBS is the perfect platform for the event, stressing, “It’s not easy to get to New York to see the show, so what better way to reach the country than through a PBS special? ”

The film version of Bad there’s been a lot of talk going on, says Schwartz. “Yes, you will see the film. I can definitely say. I can’t give you a definitive date, but as you know we have a director, a wonderful director, John M. Chu, who made the great movie version of In the heights. He works far away. The writing is done. The studios are in the process of being reserved. The casting is under discussion. So, I am confident that we will see it eventually. ”

Thinking back to his work, Schwartz says that with a new project, “I’m mostly in agony for everything.”

Breaking this thought down a bit more, he adds: “Ultimately, with some experience behind me, I recognize that most important to me, I have to deliver the musical lyrics, and I also have to collaborate with the director, choreographer. , and of course my co-writer, but also with the performers and trying to make adjustments for them so that they can play with confidence and be able to give the best of themselves to the material.

With the 50 to comee anniversary of two Schwartz musicals, Divine spell and Reinette apple, he talks a bit about celebrating the milestones of these projects, saying, “Before COVID, there were plans to Divine spell the comeback. Obviously that has been put aside for now, so it won’t be a 50th anniversary, but hopefully it will come true. Some exciting people were starting to talk about working on it. There have always been discussions about a Reinette apple movie. I think it would lend itself very well to cinema if one could figure out how to translate the theatrical vanity of the series into film. “

Of the relatively new model of shooting live shows for broadcast on TV, for streaming and / or theatrical release, Schwartz says, “Well, there hadn’t been Netflix before.

. There was no Peacock. Before, there wasn’t Disney + and the whole idea of ​​streaming, et cetera. And i think what [the musical] Hamilton was able to argue that you can do it and the audience for your live show won’t go away. People won’t say, ‘Oh, I saw it on Disney +, so I don’t have to go see the show.’ In fact, the opposite seems to be happening, and I think it’s very encouraging and I think there will be more.

“Wicked” In Concert premieres on PBS Sunday, August 29 at 9 p.m. EST.


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