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Tear Jerker / Wicked

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"I have been changed... for good."

Some things can bring tears to the eyes of even the most wicked of witches.

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned.

For the books see here.

  • At the Prologue, as the father shuns the newborn Elphaba, her mother, lying in bed, just keeps reaching her arms out toward her baby, not caring about the baby's supposed deformities.
  • "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!" Oh god. It's cringeworthy at the very least, but hear it in the right mindset and it can make one cry.
    • But the absolute worst is "A celebration throughout Oz, that's all to do". The point is, they will be celebrating her death.
      • 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 friends saying goodbye, one thinking the other is dead after this.
    • Kristin Chenoweth's last "For Good" was even sadder than most — she authentically broke down. Her entire last performance basically consisted of her voice breaking with every line. It did turn heartwarming after the song ended, when Idina gave Kristin a huge hug, and Kristin found herself laughing through the tears.
    • The story behind "For Good": Songwriter Stephen Schwartz 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."
    • Just...Elphaba's defeatist words at the start. "I'm limited..." Not only is it an ironic echo to "The Wizard and I," but it's just painful how she has just admitted her life has amounted to failure.
  • "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..."
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    • 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 one's 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.
      • "All right! Enough! So be it! So be it then! Let all Oz be agreed... I'm WICKED through and through, since I cannot succeed, Fiyero, saving you, I promise: NO GOOD DEED, will I attempt to do again, EVER AGAIN! No good deed, will I do... AGAIN!" It's just heartbreaking to see her collapse like that. It's psychological Hiroshima.
      • Even more depressing is her wondering if she was doing everything for the right reasons.
        Elphaba: One question haunts and hurts, too much, too much to mention. Was I only seeking good or just seeking attention? Is that all good deeds are when looked at with an ice cold eye? If that's all good deeds are...maybe that's the reason why....
    • If you listen to the Background Music during the second Fiyero "belt", you can hear the beginning notes of "As Long As You're Mine".
    • The buildup to this moment. Elphaba has just lost her sister (after Elphaba saying some nasty last words), her mentor, her only friend has seemingly betrayed her and now the man she loves most is being tortured to death. And this was in the span of a few days if we're being generous here. Is it really any wonder Elphaba lost her mind by this point?
    • In some productions, there's a brief lighting change (generally when Elphaba begins the "one question haunts and hurts" verse until "alright, enough, so be it") which can make Elphaba's green skin appear like a more natural skin tone. If we take this change literally, it means that Elphaba (probably through her anguish) was on the cusp of "de-greenifying" herself and not only did the decision to be wicked turn her green again, but she didn't even notice how close she was to achieving something she's desired all her life.
  • After this, Elphaba captures Dorothy, mocks her for crying, and demands the shoes back, saying "Little brat... takes a dead woman's shoes; must have been raised in a barn!" Glinda shows up in the nick of time to convince Elphaba not hurt Dorothy, and Elphaba bluntly says, "I can do anything I want. I am the Wicked Witch of the West!" Then Fiyero's letter comes, saving Elphaba from crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
  • 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.
    • The script says the Wizard starts to cry. Depending on how he's played, he's either a misguided but likeable rogue, or a sinister figure of evil; either way, watching him break down is confronting and painful. In its own way, it says as much as "No Good Deed" did.
  • 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.
    Nessarose: Save him, please, just save him
    My poor Boq, my sweet, my brave him
    Don't leave me till my sorry life has ceased
    Alone and loveless here
    with just the girl in the mirror
    • For some reason, it is particularly depressing that she uses the same tune from Dancing Through Life here.
    • Nessa's desperate "Elphaba, Please, Don't Leave Me!" which she says after insulting her no less shows how miserably Nessa wants and needs someone to always be with her.
    • 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.
    • Nessa is a depressing character overall. She has love and pain and hope and fear like anyone else - but she's also the spoiled golden child of a narcissistic parent. It seems like she does what she does to Boq because she's been cosseted and pampered and protected all her life - she has no idea of the consequences of her actions and thinks someone will come and fix it for her; she's throwing a tantrum to get what she wants. She ends up horribly mutilating the man she loves, and her attempts to have it fixed and avoid being blamed for it end up permanently destroying her relationship with her sister, the only living person who cared about her. Nessa is a terrible person, but she's ultimately a broken person, and she's pitiful to watch.
  • "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."
    • The implication that Glinda would go with her, if she believed they could win in the fight against Oz. But they can't... so she can't.
  • Additionally, in Chenoweth's last performance, when Elphaba invites Galinda to the Emerald City Idina says "Oz won't be the same without you."
  • ALSO, both the women have their voices crack while singing the "Unlimited" part of "Defying Gravity." Honestly Cheno's final performance has a ton of heart-wrenching moments.
  • Glinda and Elphaba's last scene, where Elphaba makes Glinda promise not to clear her name, because she doesn't want her friend to be labelled as a wicked witch.
    Elphaba: They'll only turn against you!
    Glinda: I don't care!
    Elphaba: I do! Promise! Promise you won't try to clear my name. Promise!
    Glinda: All right, I promise! But I don't understand!
    • Then cue For Good.
    • It's even sadder when you realize that Elphaba's sacrificing her reputation to protect her friend.
      • Worse: it's just par for the course for her. Elphaba has been mocked, despised and reviled her entire life. She has one Hope Spot: between "Dancing Through Life" and "A Sentimental Man". She doesn't even get a whole act of being happy before she's back to being scapegoated for everybody else's mistakes and petty agendas, and this time, it's forever. You Can't Fight Fate.
  • "I'm limited, just look at me, I'm limited..." After spending the musical talking about how she could be unlimited, Elphaba starts For Good with that. If your heart doesn't break even a little bit, they're doing it wrong.
  • Elphaba's backstory just before "Popular" starts. It really sets why she's "beautifully tragic". It's practically a miracle the scene manages to go back to comedy without doing a Mood Whiplash.
  • Fridge sad: In Thank Goodness, Glinda says she "couldn't be happier because happy is what happens when all your dreams come true." This could be taken as one of two ways (and the Ozians choose the first way): 1. All of her dreams came true, or 2. It is impossible for all her dreams to come true (being reunited with Elphaba), so she can't be happy.
    • An addendum to the first interpretation which makes it sadder: if "Happy is what happens when all your dreams come true", and all her dreams have come true (she has respect, admiration, a great fiancee etc.) then what she feels now is, by definition, happy. She then says "Well, isn't it?" This suggests that either she is desperately trying to convince herself that things aren't as bad as they really are, or that, despite her origins as the bubbly school queen who has everything she could possibly want, she doesn't know what actual happiness feels like, showing how empty and superficial her life has been.
      • The latter possibility is strengthened by her line in For Good when Elphie says Glinda was her only friend, to which Glinda replies that she had so many friends... but only one who actually mattered.
  • "Dancing Through Life", while the show's Hakuna Matata, is also rather gut-wrenching since from the beginning it sounds too good to be true - and within a few songs, it's indeed proven to be as shallow and unfulfilling as it seems. All the happy young adults flirting and dancing around, enjoying Fiyero's carefree lifestyle, and ultimately, the main cast will never enjoy it.
    • Fiyero's entire philosophy in "Dancing Through Life" has a hint of this crossed with Harsher in Hindsight after Elphaba confronts him about just pretending to be shallow and self-absorbed, going so far as to say he's unhappy and he never corrects her. We're not given a lot of information on Fiyero's life but the fact that he's apparently been rapidly expelled from several schools, never once mentions anything about his family and, despite being a prince, doesn't appear to be all that spoiled (compared with Glinda and Nessa, for example) all point to him having a somewhat neglectful childhood that led to him developing his "don't bother trying" attitude as a means of coping rather than a genuine belief.
  • "What is This Feeling", although considered one of the funnier songs in the play, contains such lines as "How do you stand it, I don't think I could? She's a terror, she's a tartar! We don't mean to show a bias, but Galinda, you're a martyr!" These lines definitely have the potential to make anyone who's felt like a social pariah, or been on the receiving end of unfair treatment by one's peer group at one time or another cry.
  • This one line in a certain note Elphie receives in act two. “I only hope that you will still want me when we next meet.” Oh, Fiyero.
  • In at least some versions of the musical, Dorothy is noticeably shocked when Elphaba (seemingly) melts at her hand. This may also be a nod to the book, wherein Dorothy didn't intend to melt Elphaba and was trying to save her because her dress caught on fire.
  • In the final song, Glinda sings "The wicked die alone". Elphaba isn't alone, she has Fiyero. Glinda is alone. She considers herself as wicked and this is her punishment.
  • The Mood Whiplash of Dr Dillamond turning over the blackboard to reveal the "Animals should be seen and not heard" slogan written on the other side can be this for some. Even worse, in some productions, a few of the students occasionally appear to agree. Up until this point, despite everyone's reactions to Elphaba, this version of Oz has still been kept relatively light and comical. Then with a few words on a blackboard, everything suddenly seems to become much darker, to the point where it's not unknown for audiences to go completely silent when the board is turned.
  • Only as a Rewatch Bonus but "No One Mourns the Wicked." Once you know the details of Glinda and Elphaba's relationship, it becomes clear that Glinda is trying to defend Elphaba ("Is one born wicked? Or does one have wickedness thrust upon them? ... So you see, it couldn't have been easy for her.") only for the Munchkins to ignore her to continue singing how glad they are that her best friend is dead. With the right actress the line "It couldn't have been easy for her," can be loaded with subtext you can't hear until you've watched it a second time.