Oprah And 'Glee' Say Goodbye With Something 'Wicked'

May 23, 2011
Originally published on May 23, 2011 7:36 pm

This is a big week for goodbyes on TV. And to mark the occasion, two major broadcast events will be using the same song. Tomorrow both Oprah and the season finale of Glee will feature the song "For Good" from the Broadway show Wicked.

"For Good" is a song about what we might say to a friend we might never see again.

When he was writing Wicked, composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz was struggling with this big farewell song. It's when the good witch and the bad witch — friends who've been through a lot together — know they may never see each other again. So he asked his daughter Jessica — who was 24 years-old at the time — what she would say to her best friend. Jessica says that their mothers were friends while in the womb, so they've known each since "pre-birth."

Jessica Schwartz says that she and her friend were similar to the characters in Wicked: One was blonde and social, the other studious and eccentric.

"Through our relationship with each other, we became both the eccentric artist and the prom queen and the athlete and the mathlete," Jessica Schwartz says.

Schwartz says that he's honored that Oprah chose one of his songs for her last week and producers of Glee for their season finale. After all, he says that "For Good" means both permanently and for the better.

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports on how one song about how saying goodbye first began.

ELIZABETH BLAIR: Unidentified Woman: (Singing) I've heard that people come into our lives for a reason.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOR GOOD")

BLAIR: When he was writing "Wicked," Stephen Schwartz was struggling with this big farewell song between two friends who'd been through a lot together. So he asked daughter Jessica what she would say to her best friend.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ: How old were you when you first met Sara?

JESSICA SCHWARTZ: Actually, our mothers were friends and were pregnant at the same time, so pre-birth, even in the womb we were friends.

BLAIR: So Schwartz and his daughter sat on the coach. She talked, and he took notes.

SCHWARTZ: Unidentified Woman: (Singing) And we are led to those who help us most grow if we let them. And we help them in return.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOR GOOD")

BLAIR: Jessica Schwartz says she and her friend were similar to the characters in "Wicked." One was blonde and social, the other studious and eccentric.

SCHWARTZ: Through our relationship with each other, we became, you know, both the eccentric artist and the prom queen, and the athlete and the mathlete.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOR GOOD")

NORRIS: (Singing) So much of me is made of what I learned from you. You'll be with me like a handprint on my heart.

BLAIR: Stephen Schwartz says he's honored that Oprah chose one of his songs for her last week and the producers of "Glee" for their season finale. After all, he says, "For Good" means both permanently and for the better.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOR GOOD")

NORRIS: (Singing) I have been changed...

BLAIR: Unidentified Woman: (Singing) For good.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOR GOOD")

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.