Wicked Lyrics - "No Good Deed" by Stephen Schwartz
"No Good Deed" Quiz -- Questions and Answers
Test your knowledge of Wicked. Answer below.
1) Do you know what languages inspired Elphaba's chants in Wicked, such as the "Eleka nahmen" chant in "No Good Deed?"
2) What other Stephen Schwartz songs are similar in style?
3) What classical composer's music helped inspire Stephen Schwartz's music for "No Good Deed"?
4) Why did Idina Menzel love singing this song?
1. Stephen Schwartz made up the spells of Wicked by altering words from various languages - words that have something to do with the spells they are trying to cast. He studied Latin in high school and learns languages easily. Someone once asked him about the chants for the spells Elphaba recites in Wicked: "I am something of an Egypt enthusiast and I immediately recognized the gods' names Atum and Amun."
Answer from Stephen Schwartz: You are correct to recognize some Egyptian influence in Elphaba's chants (though I didn't mean to evoke the name "Amun" specifically). There are also latin, German, Greek and Italian references. I was trying to come up with chants that one sort of understood, without them being in any one recognizable language. Thus, for instance, when she makes the Tin Man, the chant includes the phrase "meno non cordo", which someone who knows linguistics will recognize as meaning "without a heart", but not in any Earth language. I think the Egyptian influence came into it because of my research when I was doing PRINCE OF EGYPT.
2) "No Good Deed" is one of the most powerful angry rant songs that Stephen Schwartz has written. As with "Meadowlark" from The Baker's Wife, and "West End Avenue" from The Magic Show, the singer describes her internal tension over her situation while the driven rhythms of the music evoke a mood of frustration.
3) The answer to this question can be found in Defying Gravity, a book about Schwartz and the making of shows like Wicked. You'll also find a copy of Schwartz's original handwriting for the Eleka nahmen chant, Idina Menzel's experiences, what it was like for the cast and writers to go through changes in San Francisco, and much more - a total of 150 pages on Wicked's development. Find out about Defying Gravity the book - Much more than a Stephen Schwartz biography
4) Idina Menzel, the original Elphaba was fond of singing this song and called it a tour de force. She said the special sounds reminded her of her Bat Mitzvah, so it came very easy for her.
[Photo by Joan Marcus: Idina Menzel singing "No Good Deed" in the Broadway production.]
LYRICS - "No Good Deed" by Stephen Schwartz
No Good Deed
Let his flesh not be torn
Eleka nahmen nahmen
What good is this chanting?
No good deed goes unpunished
One question haunts and hurts
No good deed goes unpunished
Verse for "No Good Deed" deleted after the San Francisco try-out
These were the original chants for No Good Deed:
AD NAY PRAE TUM ISTER
ELEKA NAHMEN NAHMEN
Answer from Stephen Schwartz:
"No Good Deed" sheet music for Wicked
Play "No Good Deed" from one of the Wicked songbooks Wicked Songbooks include "No Good Deed"
OR find downloadable sheet music - you will be prompted for downloading the free scortch software if you don't have it already.
More about Wicked and Stephen Schwartz
SHOWBUSINESS Bonus Track: On a bonus track for the extraordinary new documentary, Schwartz talks about this song's development. Wicked on the documentary DVD SHOWBUSINESS
More about Wicked