2007 Exclusive Q&A with Idina Menzel

April 6, 2007
During the Spring of 2007, while Idina was recording her 3rd studio solo album, she took some time to answer some of her fans’ burning questions on every topic!

The following questions were selected from hundreds of submissions in an attempt to learn more about Idina as a singer, an actress, and a woman. Take some time and read through this insightful and fun interview, put together by fans like you! If your question wasn’t included, don’t be discouraged! With any luck, we’ll have this opportunity again, so be sure to think of more questions for next time around.

Q: “When is your new CD coming out? And do you plan on touring when it does?”
– Griselda from Georgia, USA

A: The new CD will hopefully be out in September. And yes, if given the opportunity by my record label, I would absolutely love to tour.

Q: “A lot of theatre-goers have said that your London Elphaba is different from the one they saw in New York a few years ago. What exactly have you changed about the way you portray this character, and how did you go about deciding what you were going to add/change to your performance?”
– Laura from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

A: Having lived with Elphaba for so long on Broadway, it was so great to have some time away from her so I could discover new things to bring to the London version and it was so amazing to collaborate with director Joe Montello again.

Q: “Ms. Menzel, I’m a younger fan of yours – I’m only 12 years old, but ever since I heard about your performance in Wicked, I have had so much appreciation for your talent, and one day I hope to make it big just like you! However, I was wondering… You’ve gotten to wear so many beautiful costumes in your theater career, but which one would be your favorite and least favorite, and why? Thank you so much for taking the time to do this!”
– Adam

A: I love so many of my costumes and feel very fortunate to have worked with some incredibly talented designers. Some of my favorites are the Act 2 Elphaba dress with all the layers. There are these little cotton threads that resemble cobwebs in the skirt. I don’t know if anyone can see them but I love the detail. I also loved my Wild Party costume. And… oh yeah I loved Maureen’s black vinyl stretch pants too!

Q: “What can you tell us about the songs you sing in the movie Enchanted? We’re all very eager to hear them!”
– Stacy from Santa Barbara, CA, USA

A: Oh I actually have just one song and I don’t know if it will make the movie but Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken wrote it.

Q: “Idina, what are three things you always have in your refrigerator?”
– Nicole G. from Pennsylvania, USA

A: I don’t have three things. I order out constantly and I can’t cook!

Q: “I’m sure you love what you do, and you do it so well! But are there ever days where you are just too drained, emotionally and physically, to do that night’s show? If so, what are some techniques you do to pump yourself back up? If not, how do you keep so motivated, other than loving what you do? Thank you!”
– Gina from Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA

A: Well I always take another steamy shower and I revocalize. But also, I have received the most wonderful videos of young people singing Wicked songs in their living rooms. When I am feeling exhausted on stage I have often found myself thinking of these adorable kids and I imagine they are in the audience.

Q: “You’ve been in Broadway shows and a lot of movies/television shows where you work side by side with some very incredible actors, like Colin Farrell (which, by the way, I am extremely jealous.) Do you ever get intimidated by working with such huge stars and how do you move past that?”
– Jenny from New Hampshire, USA

A: Of course I get imtimidated but so far I’ve worked with actors that have gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable, and you would be surprised at how much respect they have for us Broadway people. They usually sing my songs back to me and want to act out scenes from shows I’ve been in.

Q: “Where do you keep your Tony Award? Also, what is your voice type/vocal range?”
– Amber Q. from Clearwater, Florida, USA

A: The Tony is on a shelf in the living room. And I don’t categorize my vocal type. And I don’t believe in a “break”. That’s a state of mind.

Q: “What’s your favorite movie? And what TV shows do you enjoy?”
– Claudia from Londonderry, New Hampshire, USA

A: I am a huge movie buff. Anything Julia Roberts… Meryl Streep. KRAMER VS KRAMER. SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. GOODFELLAS. I’m all over the map.

Q: “You said you were doing ‘pop’ songs on your new album – do you plan on doing any other genres besides pop?”
– Erica from New Jersey, USA

A: POP just means, not show tunes. Of course I have nothing against those, but I’m just trying to explore a different side of myself.

Q: “Idina, your music makes me happier than anything in the world. It’s what I listen to when I’m sad. So my question is what is your ‘comfort music’? Stuff that you listen to that cheers you up when you’re down.”
– Charlotte from New Jersey, USA
A: Old Madonna and other music from the 80s.

Q: “If you could work with any famous actor in film – other than Taye – who would it be?”
– Ashley M. from Chicago, Illinois, USA
A: I would love to work with Matt Damon.

Q: “Idina, what is your favorite color?”
– Morgan M. from New York, USA
A: Used to be GREEN. Emerald is my birth stone. But now when I wear green people think I’m embodying Elphaba and I really just like green. So now I like DEEP PURPLE.

Q: “If you even remember, how did it feel signing your first autograph for a fan, and moreover, your first time at the stage door for Rent?”
– Blair from Wisconsin, USA
A: The entire RENT experience was so overwhelming that I don’t remember that. It was a very emotional time.

Q: “Have you done any tourist-type things now that you’re in London? If so, what are they?”
– Eva S. from Boston, Massachusetts, USA
A: I’m home now. But I fell in love with London. London has tons of exquisite parks. Each with their own distinct character. Hampstead Heath is my favorite.

Q: “If you had the chance, which country would you like to visit (for work or for pleasure)?”
– Sam
A: I would like to get another job in London or tour there. I miss my friends.

Q: “Is/Was there a Broadway show that you’ve always wanted to play a part in? If so, what was the name of that show?”
– Karla from Falls Church, Virginia, USA
A: I would love to be in WEST SIDE STORY, but I’m not a Maria or Anita. So that won’t work.

Q: “Do you have any hidden talents that your fans may not be aware of?”
– Patrick M. from Oakland, California, USA

A: I’m a decent tennis player. Good Backhand.

Q: “Idina, what do you hope to have accomplished, either personally or professionally, ten years from now?”
– Katie H. from Kennewick, Washington, USA
A: I’d love to open a camp focusing on the arts accessible to kids from all income brackets.

Q: “If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and you could only have one thing with you [besides essentials], what would it be, and why?”
– Bridget from Ottawa, Canada
A: SUNBLOCK SPF 50.

Q: “What do you plan to do after leaving Wicked’s London production? Do you have any plans to return to Broadway?”
– Elizabeth Werner from Nebraska, USA

A: Of course. I can’t wait to get back to Broadway. I’m focusing on the album for the next few months but as soon as I find something I’m passionate about I am right there.

Q: “I saw RENT 10 and it looked like you guys were having so much fun, and to be honest, it was my favorite time seeing the show on Broadway. With that said, how was your experience doing the anniversary show with those amazing guys one more time?”
– Ashley from New Jersey, USA

A: UNFORGETTABLE. Surreal being back on that stage. What a great night.

Q: “When you have time, do you like to read? Do you have some favourite books or certain characters from books?”
– Marian from Toronta, Canada

A: I love The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. All the women in her books are forces of nature.

Q: “Years back, you did a show called The Wild Party with another future Elphaba, Julia Murney. What was it like working with her? Also, what song from that show was your favourite, either to perform, or just personally, and why?”
– Georgia F. from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

A: Julia Murney is beautiful. She is a great loyal supportive person with an incredible voice. And I loved performing “Life of the Party”. Kate was so irreverent. I love jazz influenced music.

Q: “How do fan sites like this one make you feel? Do you like to see things about yourself online?”
– Debra G. from London, England

A: This site is awesome!!!! And everyone who participates is so supportive. But I try not to read too much online. People are brutal. And for every good thing there is something really hurtful out there. So I’m staying away!

Q: “Now that you’ve experienced owning both cats and dogs, do you consider yourself a cat-person or a dog-person? Do you have any funny pet stories?”
– Jenna

A: I’m like a proud mother and cannot choose between my children. I will say, the cats are not happy about the dog taking over the apatment. And I spent all of last night cleaning up dog poop on the bathroom floor. Apparently he ate something weird in the park.

Q: “Hope you enjoyed London! In my experience, English and American English are two completely different languages! Have you picked up any interesting British words or phrases? And in return, have you passed on any Americanisms to the rest of the cast?”
– Jess H. from Worcestershire, UK

A: There’s a wonderful old saying; a term of endearment that they use “Darling Heart”. I love that.

Q: “What is one of your biggest pet peeves?”
– Marissa

A: When people screw up and they don’t admit they are wrong.

Q: “Hey Idina! Just wondering how you keep your nerves down and stay calm for auditions? I’m a dancer and it seems like I get more nervous for the auditions than the actual show!”
– Megan from Indiana, USA

A: I don’t get rid of my nerves. I just try to embrace them and channel them and focus on the person in front of me. Sometimes nerves can get the best of us but sometimes we can do the unexpected and have a real spontaneous and idiosyncratic moment. Oh and I have that syndrome of thinking I have to pee when I really don’t. That’s annoying.

Q: “What made you cut your hair? It’s adorable on you! Was it a spur of the moment decision, and what does Taye & your family think of it? It is very chic!”
– Jamie from Lynchburg, Virginia, USA

A: Just felt like a change. I’ve had the same haircut forever! And yes of course my family and hubby love it, but they have to say that right?

Q: “What is your favorite thing to do in NYC when you have free time?”
– Alison

A: Go to the theater.

Q: “See What I Wanna See is by far the most thought provoking piece I have experienced. How did you become involved in the project? What attracted you to a chamber musical?”
– Chelsea K.

A: Michael John LaChiusa.

Q: “What’s your most valued gift from a fan you’ve ever received?”
– Monica K. from Sydney, Nova Scotia

A: That’s too difficult a question. I am in awe of the generosity and love sent my way. I have received a countless amount of cards and pictures and creative gifts. I do adore the really young kids that write their own cards in green crayon. I framed a particular drawing that said “Dear Elphaba, I thought it was sad that you thought you weren’t pretty because I think you’re beautiful”. I keep that in my dressing room.

Q: “You were so great as Maureen in Rent, both on stage and in the movie, and I was just wondering, if they did a movie of Wicked, would you play Elphaba once again?”
– Beverly N. from Lakewood, Ohio, USA

A: Oh I would love to, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t planning that in the near future.

Q: “You’ve mentioned you do yoga. What type of yoga do you do and how did you get into it?”
– Talya

A: I love Bikram yoga…

Q: “What intimidates you?”
– Salet C. from Mexico

A: Really brainy people. I tend to get a little quiet, not wanting to say something stupid.

Q: “Have you ever kept any memorabilia from the shows/films you’ve been in?”
– Claire from the UK

A: Yes. I always try to save something. I keep scripts with my notes in them. I have my Elphaba witches hat. I keep opening night cards and gifts. What else? Oh I kept my Act 2 Maureen wardrobe too.

Q: “What are you afraid of (i.e. spiders, the dark, etc.)?”
– Shanta from Washington D.C., USA

A: I’m a big baby when it comes to snakes and mice… and roaches!!!

Q: “What advice do you have for aspiring Broadway stars who are terminally shy? I love your work, because you seem so bold. How do you do it?”
– Erika from New York, USA

A: I think I take more chances on stage then I do in real life but you can’t learn anything if you don’t challenge yourself. And don’t say “terminally”. If you love to perform then you have no choice, just keep training and focus on the words or the music whenever you find yourself slipping back inside yourself. You’re not doing anyone any favors if you withhold your talents from the world.

Click here to read the letter from Idina that accompanied this Q&A.

[This exclusive interview is property of Idina-Here.com, and while the information is not owned by this site, the compilation of the interview, as well as selections of questions, was done by the Webmistress of this site. Credit is always appreciated.]