In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Defying Gravity

Tonight I was feeling a little nostalgic. As I searched the internet, I could find the music that brought me back.

I wrote last fall about the closing of my favorite gay establishment, a bar named Boom! (the exclamation point was a part of the name). On Sunday nights, they would play video clips of showtunes and all the fellas (and a few ladies) would sing along when they could. I know, it's such a stereotypical thing to do. Get over it.

It was there that I first heard any music from Wicked. The bar played a clip that was performed at the 2004 Tony Awards. The song is "Defying Gravity", sung mainly by Idina Menzel, with some assistance from Kristin Chenoweth. It's a powerful song that grabs your attention and holds it until the climactic ending. Needless to say, I was mightily impressed!

Fast forward to this past April. I am able to attend Wicked in New York over the Easter weekend. The musical was quite good. Of course, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth are no longer around, but it's still very impressive. Then, we get to the climactic moment when I can tell they are going to start singing "Defying Gravity". If I thought the song was powerful by itself, pulled out of context, then understanding the plot made it even more so.

For those of you who are not aware of the plot of Wicked, I'll give you a little primer. We have learned that Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, were actually classmates and eventually became friends. As Elphaba was born green, she was always an outsider. At best, she was amusing to others, but often she was seen as a threat. The point when she sings "Defying Gravity" was when she was able to embrace that she would always be an outsider. She's not going to try to live up to anyone else's expectations. She's going to disrupt things "as they are" just by being as authentically herself as possible. This decision is one that will have no turning back. She will lose what friends she has. She is risking her entire identity on the possibility of embracing herself as she is.

For those of us who feel like we are disrupting the balance of nature, this song gives us hope. We can see that there are no outsiders. Being authentically ourselves can free us from the gravity of our lives. Elphaba soared over the crowd as she sang her final verse. I think that someday we will also be able to sing.

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!

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:

So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
"Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd 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!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's Kristin Chenoweth--not Christine.

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wonderful write-up, i totally love it!

but's painful. her name is Kristin Chenoweth, not Christine. hehe :)

12:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm glad the show and this song in particular was able to inspire you. though i do have to hand it to you, i've never seen her name botched up quite so badly before, lol

3:11 AM  
Blogger Ross said...

Thank you for the correction. What's worse is that I knew that. You can tell how much editing goes into this thing.

I'll make the corrections.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Ross said...

I apologize if one of the anonymous posters was Kristin Chenoweth. Miss Kristin, despite my bad spelling, I really am a fan!

7:49 AM  
Blogger Christian said...

Love this post... I am just catching up on my blog reading after a bit of a hiatus.

Even better, though, is my memory of running into you at a local bar, hanging out, and then talking up a guy who *surprise* was with the traveling cast of Wicked and *surprise* got me 8th row center stage tickets to the next night's performance. I don't think I've ever been so enthralled with a show.

I still have "Defying Gravity" on my "Favorites" playlist, and I still sing along, no matter where I am, when it comes on. Truly a magnificent song.

Hope all is well!

11:25 AM  

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