The Wizard and I: The Musical Journey of Stephen Schwartz Made Magic at Carnegie Hall

By Steven Suskin
15 Apr 2013

Schwartz himself then came on and offered a fascinating seven-minute demonstration of the craft of songwriting, concentrating on the process of writing an introductory "I Want" song for Elphaba in Wicked. The composer and his librettist Winnie Holzman came up with the idea of their heroine getting on a train to go to school and bidding goodbye to her old life in a song called "Making Good." Not quite satisfied with the song after several readings—and inspired by the addition of Idina Menzel to the mix—Schwartz wrote a second, altogether different "Making Good." (He performed extended sections from each).

After which, he confessed to his "very smart director son Scott" that he didn't feel the song was working like it should. Scott Schwartz agreed, explaining to his seasoned father that the notion of bringing her to school and the train journey was too old-fashioned and should be "junked." Stephen explained why it was necessary, but nevertheless tried this different approach, which resulted in the final song in the slot, "The Wizard and I." Murney, who spent time on Broadway as Elphaba, sang the song in full, followed by "For Good" with Thompson (one of the Broadway Glindas).

The two-hour evening ended with Schwartz—assisted by the four singers and the chorus—performing the little-known "Can You Imagine That?" Schwartz wrote this song about the creative process for My Fairy Tale, a 2005 Danish musical about Hans Christian Andersen, and it is quite lovely.