This song has a warm, a happy, and a sad place in my heart. My first encounter with For Good was on a trip with two sorority sisters of mine to New York. A trip to the Big Apple for me was all about Broadway, so whenever we had the great, good fortune of getting to the city, we lined up as many shows as we had days to be there.
I’m pretty much a pushover for any musical, so almost any show can leave me breathless, but from what I had read and heard, Wicked was going to be one in a million, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth excelled. The quality of the cast, the chorus, the orchestra, the writing, the whole toolbox was beyond compare.
For me, the song For Good was the show-stopper.That was the diamond in the pile of gems that I put in my pocket and took with me. And before long it was put to good use.
The small Mississippi town where I lived was the home of a wonderful true story of two ladies who had exchanged the same Valentine card with one another for 60 years. That’s right, the card they called Tootsie was sent back and forth every year without one slip-up. Several of us decided to honor these beautiful ladies by writing and performing a little musical we called Tootsie Valentine.
Toward the end of this crazy, funny, heartwarming telling of their story, a friend and I sang For Good. And, yes, the two sweet ladies were both in tears.
My best friend who was on the trip with me when we saw Wicked died a few years after. We had been in college choir together, we had been in a small musical ensemble that traveled from place to place to entertain, we had been in several college musicals together, and she taught me how to tap dance.
When we gathered together after her funeral, I felt I had to play this song because, on so many levels, it said how I felt about her. It’s hard, even now, to hear it without a welling up of my heart. The truth is she did change me for the good in many ways.