So, Idina finished up a huge concert at Royal Albert Hall in London earlier today, in case you had somehow missed the news she was there. ;) Luckily for all of us who couldn’t be there, Idina-Here’s field correspondent Miriam was there and offered up a blog post for us to read! Thanks Miriam! Pictures will be added to the gallery over the next few days as more are posted.
And if you’re as bummed as I am about not going to London, you still have the chance to win something autographed by Idina in the new “Who Said That?” Glee contest! Just a reminder that the Glee contest ends on Tuesday. Click here for the contest and details.
So I’m a New Yorker living in London until December. Luckily for me I came in time to see Idina Menzel in concert. The evening began with my friend Alexa and I getting lost on our way to the theatre. We ended up getting to the theatre at 6:30pm so we had plenty of time. We went to find sandwiches and in order to do so we needed to go into the theatre. Don’t ask me, it didn’t make sense. The stewards told us to go up to the galleries and have our tickets exchanged because they were moving people down to the stalls. I’m pretty sure we were the first ones up there because the theatre was empty. We found a steward and were given seats in the third row of the center stalls. These seats were pretty fantastic. Then we went to find food, but that was a failed attempt.
The concert began late. It didn’t start until after 7:45pm when it was supposed to start at 7:30. The orchestra came on and did a A Chorus Line medley. Marvin Hamlisch talked about how much he’s loved working with Idina. He reassured the audience that she was backstage. And then introduced his next piece which was a My Fair Lady medley. Then there was an interval. I don’t know why we needed a break after two pieces but I took that time to buy a shirt. They have Idina’s emblem with the signature on the front but on top of the signature her name is printed, it’s a little odd, but the back has a picture of the Royal Albert Hall and says “Idina Menzel Royal Albert Hall 6 October 2011 London UK.”
The interval was 15 or 20 minutes and then the concert started up again. Idina started with one of my all time favorites “Life of the Party” from the Andrew Lippa The Wild Party she did in 2000. Then she told a story about getting stuck in customs. She told everyone that when the border patrol officer told her she’d have to go back to the States she said “I whipped around my backpack and took out my Tony.” Then she made a comment about getting her Tony through security and that she didn’t actually bring it with her.
Next she sang “I’m Not That Girl”, one of the most underrated songs in Wicked. It is such a beautiful song and Idina sings it so well. It does a wonderful job of showcasing her low range whereas the other songs in the show showcase her high belt. After she finished she turned around and told the audience members sitting in the choir seats “If I knew you’d be back there I would have worn a sexier dress around my ass.” To those that are interested she wore her white dress with the black belt (Jill’s note: the same dress from the concert with the NY Philharmonic).
She talked about her experience at NYU where she took a Musical Theatre Workshop her freshman year and sang Cole Porter’s “Love For Sale” to impress her professor and how that didn’t work out for her. She then sang that with the “Roxanne”.
Then she told the story of singing for Barbara Streisand next. It was weird because she went into detail about what the Kennedy Center Honors were and then I remembered that it’s an American award and people wouldn’t necessarily know it. She talked about her rehearsal on the day of and how she was told by the stage manager that she had to stay toward stage right because Beyonce would be coming through a big hole in the floor stage left. She talked about meeting Beyonce. She called her a bitch for being asked to sing a Marvin Hamlisch song. She also told the story of meeting Streisand at the after party. Idina said that she and Taye were seated at Streisand’s table but she ignored them the whole night, until right before she left, Streisand came up to Idina and said “Did you sing for me tonight? I wasn’t wearing my glasses.” Idina then sang “Funny Girl” and then went straight into “Don’t Rain On My Parade.” She replaced the “Hey Mr. Arnstein Here I am” line with “Hey London, Here I Am”.
The next song she sang was really pretty, but she didn’t say anything about it and I didn’t catch the name. :/ (Jill’s note: I’m assuming this is “Asleep on the Wind” because that’s the song that typically comes next).
But then we got a small bit of what I will always call “Wedding Days”. Idina talked about the guy that had a heart attack at a wedding, her LongIsland accent (represent!, sorry I too am a white, Jewish girl from Long Island), and a bar mitzvah in which the kids decided to throw food at her. She also told her cabassa vs. kielbasa story (the former an auxiliary percussion instrument she played when she was in a wedding band, the latter a sausage she got it confused with) and she explained that the song “Saving All My Love For You” should not be a wedding song because it is about infidelity.
Next up was her little speech about the impact Rent had on her and how it started her career. When she said Rent the audience cheered. She was excited to have gotten that response and said “they tell me you didn’t like it here”. Someone in the audience yelled “yes” and a few others said “no”. She told a really cute story about Taye leaving her post-it notes on her mirror during Rent asking her out on dates and telling her that he liked the way her ass looked in her costume. Then she talked about the impact of Jonathan Larsen’s death. Then she sang her arrangement “No Day But To Day” from the song “Another Day”.
We moved fairly quickly though her career jumping from Rent to Glee where Idina sang the Lady Gaga song “Pokerface”. She began the song and then stopped in order to explain that it was done as a Mother/Daughter piece and that she didn’t understand why. Instead of saying the lyric “marvelous” she said “MarvinHamlisch”. After the song she apologized to the orchestra for making them play Lady Gaga.
She followed this up with the song “Look to the Rainbow” with just piano. This was very pretty. She then went into talking about the songs she and Taye “write” for Walker and how they argue over the fact that she “never thinks about his smooth baritone” and how he “doesn’t utilize (probably not the word she said) her 13 octave range.” She then sang three of them.
She talked about doing Chess at the Royal Albert Hall and getting lost backstage. I heard people saying that the reason she didn’t wear shoes to the concert this evening was so that if she did get lost she wouldn’t have to run around in heals. She sang “Heaven Help My Heart”.
She said her thank you’s to her managers, the people at the Royal Albert, the orchestra, Marvin Hamlisch, etc. She then sang the Elphaba verse from “For Good” A cappella, as usual. She followed that with Defying Gravity. It was wonderful.
For an encore she sang “The Way We Were” by Marvin Hamlisch wit him on piano and then she sang “Tomorrow” from Annie. She dedicated Tomorrow to her mom, who flew to London with her (in first class, she pointed out).
It was an amazing concert. I didn’t want it to end. Alexa and I went to the Stage Door where they told us to gather in front of one of the main entrances. We waited for not even an hour before she came out. There were tons of people waiting for autographs. The pushing and shoving was nearly out of control, but she still signed and posed with all the fans there. It was very cool.