Changed For Good

The novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” was published in 1995. Written by Gregory McGuire, the novel explores the characters familiarized in the story of “The Wizard of Oz.” Specifically, the novel is a biography of the dreaded Wicked Witch of the West, who we learn is actually (according to this novel) named Elphaba. 

In 2003 Stephen Schwartz adapted the novel for the Broadway stage, setting it to soaring, memorable music and bringing the characters to life. The musical was nominated for TEN Tony awards, including two nominations for Best Actress for Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, who played the “good witch,” Glinda. Menzel won Best Actress, and the show won the awards for Best Scenic Design and Best Costume Design. 

The story of the Broadway musical, written by Winnie Holtzman, differs from the novel in many details and in overall feel. However, both book and musical feature the backstory of the main character, Elphaba. The idea is to see how the Wicked Witch got so “wicked.”

The central relationship of the story is the one between Elphaba and Glinda. The two are very different from one another. In fact when they first meet they are filled with loathing for one another. And the circumstances of their lives take them in very different directions, as Ephaba embraces her wicked reputation and Glinda is christened “Glinda the Good” by the Wizard.

And yet in spite of their differences, they connect. They are, in fact, friends. And in their relationship, they affect one another. They each are “Changed for Good.”

That line, from one of the most memorable songs in “Wicked,” is also the title of our upcoming worship series. Each week, we will think about a story from the Broadway stage and focus on how a character in that story experienced the power of transformation. And we will connect that change with how you and I are changed by the grace of God as it is experienced in the Holy Spirit filled community of the church. 

The curtain is going up! It’s time for the show! All are welcome to come and be “Changed for Good” as we worship together at Manchester UMC.


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