Defying Gravity is the finale for the show's first act, when Elphaba, who until now has seen the Wizard of Oz as a heroic figure who can give her life some noble direction, discovers that he is not at all what he seems. The Wizard's regime, in fact, is waging a propaganda campaign against the Animals of Oz (including Dr. Dillamond), who have been oppressed to such a degree that they lose their powers of speech or worse, never learn to speak at all. (Dr. Dillamond, for instance, initially starts to lose his speech in "Something Bad" when he pronounces bad as 'baaaad,' bleating like an actual goat). Realizing this, and despite Glinda's attempts to dissuade her, Elphaba vows to do everything in her power to fight the Wizard and his sinister plans. She sings of how she wants to live without limits, going against the rules that others have set for her. During the song, Elphaba, apparently cornered by those who are hunting her, enchants a broomstick to levitate and, in the last verse, rises from the stage and levitates above the angered Citizens of Oz, who try in vain to "bring her down." During the ending climax, a blackout allows the character of Elphaba to run into the ElectronzLift ready to fly above the auditorium. The sequence relies heavily on around 60 moving lights, smoke, and wind effects.
The song is widely regarded as being the musical's signature song, although the song "Popular" has lived up to its name as well. The musical has generally received thunderous applause after this song due to the song's status as a showstopper.
Idina Menzel, having reprised her role as Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked in 2006, released a remixed "pop mainstream" version of the song as a single. It can be heard on her official website and purchased on the iTunes Music Store. The remix of "Defying Gravity" was also the anthem at the 2007 Gay Pride Parade and Festival in Los Angeles; it appears on the official CD from the event.
A German-language version of "Defying Gravity" (called "Frei und schwerelos") was recorded on November 21, 2007 by the Stuttgart, Germany cast of Wicked featuring Willemijn Verkaik as Elphaba and Lucy Scherer as Glinda.
There also whas a Dutch version of this song, its never officialy recorded but there are numerous youtube video's. This song is sung by Willemijn Verkaik..Kerry Ellis, who replaced Menzel as Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked, recorded a rock version of the song in 2008 as part of a single, Wicked in Rock, designed as a teaser for her debut album. Wicked in Rock is available at the Gershwin Theatre in New York City and on iTunes (Defying Gravity only). It also appears on her debut album, Anthem.
The German version of Defying Gravity is Frei und schwerelos, which translates to "free and weightless" and is only loosely based around the original song. The Japanese cast of Wicked also recorded a version of Defying Gravity, Jiyuu O Motomete, which again was loosely based around the original song and translates to "For Freedom". Ik lach om zwaartekrachtisthe Dutch version of the song, which translates to "I Laugh at Gravity."
Glinda: (Spoken)Elphaba, why couldn't you stay calm from once instead of flying off the handle! (Sung)I hope you're happy I hope you're now I hope you're happy how you've hurt your cause forever I hope you think you're clever!!
Elphaba: I hope you're happy I hope you're happy to! I hope you're proud how you would grovel in submission To feed your own ambition.
Both: So though I can't imagine how I hope you're happy Right now.
Madame Morrible: (Spoken) Citizens of Oz! There is an enemy who must be found and captured Believe nothing she says She is evil Responsible for the mutilation of these poor innocent monkeys
Glinda: (Spoken) Oh no!
Madame Morrible: (Spoken) Her green skin is but an outward manifestorium of her twisted nature. This distortion. This repulsion. THIS WICKED WITCH!!!
Glinda: (Spoken)Don't be afraid!
Elphaba: (Spoken) I'm not, it's The Wizard who should be afraid.. of me!
Glinda: (Spoken)Elphie, listen to me, just say you're sorry Before it's too late! (Sung)You can still be with The Wizard What you've worked and waited for You can have all you've ever wanted
Elphaba: (Spoken) I know (Sung) But I don't want it (Spoken) No (Sung) I can't want it anymore. Something has changed within me Something is not the same I'm through with playing by The ruled of someone else's game Too late for second guessing Too late to go back to sleep It's time to trust my instincts Close my eyes And leap!
It's time to try defying gravity I think I'll try defying gravity And you can't me down!
Glinda: Can't I make you understand You're having delusions of grandeur
Elphaba: I'm through accepting limits 'Cause someone says they're so Some things I cannot change But 'til I try I'll never know Too long I've been afraid of loosing love I guess I've lost Well if that's love it comes at much to high a cost!
I'd sooner buy defying gravity Kiss me goodbye I'm defying gravity And you can't pull me down!
Guards of Oz: (Spoken)Open this door! In the name of his supreme Ozness!!
(Elphaba begins chanting furiously)
Glinda: (Spoen) No! That's what started this in the first place That hideous levitation spell! STOP!
Glinda: (Spoken) Well, where are your wings? Maybe you're not as powerful as you think you are!
(Broom levitates towards Elphaba)
Glinda: (Spoken) Sweet Oz!
Elphaba: (Spoken) Didn't I tell you Glinda? Didn't I tell you?!
Guards of Oz: (Spoken) Bash it in, fetch the battering ramekin!
Elphaba: (Spoken) Quick get on!
Glinda: (Spoken) What?
Elphaba: (Spoken) Come with me, think of what we could do, together. (Sung) Unlimited, together we're unlimited Together we'll be the greatest team there's ever been Glinda Dreams the way we've planned 'em.
Glinda: If we work in tandem
Both: There's no fight we cannot win Just you and I defying gravity With you an I defying gravity
Elphaba: (Sung) There'll never bring us down (Spoken) Well, are you coming?
Glinda: (Spoken) Elphie you're trembling, here put this around you!
(Glinda picks up an old blanket and drapes it around Elphaba's shoulders)
Glinda: I hope you're happy Now that you're choosing this
Elphaba: (Spoken) You too (Sung) I hope it brings you bliss.
Both: I really hope you get it And that you don't live to regret it I hope you're happy in the end I hope you're happy my friend
(Guards break through the doors)
Guards of Oz: (Spoken) There she is! Don't let her get away!
Glinda: (Spoken) No, leave me alone! Get your hands off me, do you hear! Let go of me!
Elphaba: (Spoken) It's not her She has nothing to do with it! I'm the one you want It's me!
Glinda: (Spoken) Elphie!!
Elphaba: It's me!!! So if you care to find me Look to Western Sky As someone told me lately "Everyone deserves a chance to fly" And if I'm flying solo At least I'm flying free To those who ground me Take a message back From me!
Tell them how I am defying gravity I'm flying high defying gravity And soon I'll match them in renown And nobody in all of Oz No Wizard that there is or was Is ever gonna bring ME DOWN!
Glinda: I hope you're happy!!
Guards/Citizens of Oz: Look at her she's Wicked get her!
Elphaba: Bring me down!!
Guards/Citizens of Oz: No one mourns the wicked So we've got to bring her
Elphaba: Oh wa ah ah ah.
Guards/Citizens of Oz: DOWN!!!
(Lights black out)