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Tear Jerker: Wicked
"I have been changed... for good."
Some things can bring tears to the eyes of even the most wicked of witches.
We dare anyone not to tear up at the death of the Witch in Gregory Maguire's Wicked. You've known it's coming from the very first page, but when it finally does, the sheer inevitability of it is tragic all on its own.
Made worse by the fact that she couldn't possibly have suffered a more painful way to go, than being set on fire and essentially splashed with a bucket of acid.
Knowing that Elphaba's Villain status is a Foregone Conclusion is truly tragic since it means that she WILL go through tragic event after tragic event until she hits her breaking point and has a Face-Heel Turn. To see a person so idealistic, outspoken, and so in favor of the rights of the people, getting turned into a literal witch, demonized by the people because of a quality that she had absolutely no control over brings forth the tears since it's easy to see the parallels between Elphaba and, quite frankly, many people can identify with this. Maguire's writing speaks leagues, when you start rooting for the villain of a franchise, despite the Foregone Conclusion.
Doctor Dillamond is dead. All of his students are crying and holding each other for support. Except Elphaba. She stands away from the crowd, alone, and cold. Because she can't open up, because then she'll start crying. And her tears will burn her skin. She can't even cry.
Much later on, Elphaba sees her father and talks to him, for what she feels(and is accurate in such) will be the last time. He cries. She wipes his tears. It burns her skin, but she does it anyway.
Combined with a Crowning Moment Of Heart Warming, Elphaba cries during one of Fiyero's visits, and flails around in his arms when he tries to comfort her because she doesn't even know how to express her feelings.
After Nessa dies, the last we hear of Glinda in that book is that they never saw each other again.
The fact that their friendship fell apart over a pair of shoes. Glinda did not mean to make Elphaba angry and did not understand their importance and Elphaba could not just explain or let go of her anger.
Elphaba finding out that ALL of Fiyero's family are dead. Not just Sarima, but also her sisters, and her CHILDREN!!
Fiyero dying. The fact that he dies after he's followed her all night, making sure she was safe. The fact that she's specifically asked him to keep himself safe because she's so worried about his well-being. Because she loves him. And he loves her. The fact that she runs to a Maunt, mute with grief and blood up to her wrists. The fact that she spends the rest of the novel grieving for him.
Additionally, if you know the reveal, Elphaba's hope when she thinks that the scarecrow must be Fiyero, returning to her at last.
The way Glinda wakes up with a vague feeling of dread she can't explain at the time of Elphaba's death.
At the Prologue, as the father shuns the newborn Elphaba, her mother, lying on bed, just keeps reaching her arms out toward her baby, not caring about the baby's supposed deformities.
Curse "We can never go back to Oz, can we?"
Elphaba's painfully ironic prophecy in "The Wizard and I"
"And I'll stand there, beside the Wizard, feeling things I've never felt..." Things like what, exactly? Acceptance? Pride? Fullfilment? Support? Happiness?!
Or how about "I'll be so happy I could...melt!" Ohgod. It's cringeworthy at the very least, but hear it in the right mindset and it can make one cry.
Which leads into the little reprise of "A Sentimental Man:" "I am a sentimental man...who always longed to be...a father."
"For Good" is the two friend saying goodbye, one thinking the other is dead after this.
Kristin Chenoweth's last "For Good" is even sadder than most — she authentically breaks down. Her entire last performance basically consists of her voice breaking with every line. It does turn heartwarming after the song enda when Idina gives Kristin a huge hug, and Kristin finds herself laughing through the tears.
The story behind "For Good": The lyricist called his daughter Jessica, who was in college at the time, and said, "Imagine you're seeing your friend Sarah for what may be the last time ever. Tell me everything you need to tell her."
"Thank Goodness," a tearjerker, for Glinda's sake. It's not big and dramatic, but it's just... this quiet everyday little tragedy about growing up and compromise.
"There's a kind of a sorta... cost... there's a couple of things get... lost..."
The little quaver in her voice when she asks "Well, isn't it?"
"I simply couldn't be happier... (aside) well, not simply..."
Chistery squeaking out his first words after Elphaba had gone. That unsure little "Miss Glinda?" as he gives Miss Glinda her friend's hat rendered her unable to speak.
Glinda crying, holding Elphaba's hat and whispering, "Elphie..."
No Good Deed. Elphaba is watching everything she's worked for crumble around her, culminating with the (apparent) death of the man she loves, and all her magic is apparently useless to protect him. The pain, despair, and rage in the voice of who, up until then, had been a smart, determined, and ultimately good-natured character always rips my heart out to hear.
You can hear her going insane just through her voice. Played right, you can tell every time that Fiyero is being tortured by her screaming his name.
For Good was even more of a tear jerker during Kristin Chenoweth's last show. Audiences everywhere (aware of the show being Cheno's last) were crying all over, and both actresses themselves (especially Cheno) couldn't stop crying.
Any last performance is similarly emotional. HOW do they get through that song at all? The crying in this case adds to the emotion of the song and makes it even more heartbreaking and even better.
The Wizard discovering Elphaba was his daughter after he just sent people to kill her. His sad little reprise of "A Sentimental Man" was just too much.
His line in "Wonderful" about how he never had a family of his own becomes very Harsher in Hindsight now.
Even the very first song is a tearjerker...knowing what close friends they become, it's awful to watch Glinda be forced to sing about how happy she is that Elphaba is dead. Especially when she repeats the line "she died alone". Because as far as Glinda knows, she did die alone.
"The Wicked Witch of the East" for sure. Poor Nessa begs Elphaba to save Boq after she almost killed him with a spell, revealing how alone and unloved she really feels. Then there's Elphaba mourning over her sister's death later on, especially how broken her words are when she begs Nessa's forgiveness.
Elphaba's answer: "I've done everything I could for you, and it hasn't been enough. Nothing ever will be." Those were the last words to her sister. Ouch.
"I'm Not That Girl". Knowing that you're always going to be on the sidelines watching other people be happy, watching other people succeed, and comforting yourself by being happy for them, knowing you won't ever have it yourself because..."I'm Not That Girl."
It's upsetting enough when Elphaba sings it, having accepted that fate, but Glinda's reprisal after her fiance runs off with with her best friend is even more so, as she's all but crying when it happens.
"Defying Gravity". "Unlimited... together we're unlimited", because we know from the opening number what's going to happen, that they won't be together again.
"I hope you're happy, now that you're choosing this ("You, too.")... I hope it brings you bliss. I really hope you get it, and don't live to regret it... I hope you're happy in the end. I hope you're happy, my... friend." Freaking rivers.
Preceded by "Glinda...come with me. Think of what we can do. Together." Combine that with the small hesitation, and Glinda mournfully continuing into the aforementioned line. You can hear Elphaba's heart wrenching and breaking.
If you listen carefully during that segment, right after Elphaba's lines, the orchestra music gives the slight impression of happiness, almost giving the idea that Glinda would say yes to Elphaba and everything would be good and happy. Then the music whiplashes into a sad minor key change and Glinda starts singing "I hope you're happy" and then...then...sorry...something in this troper's eye...