Idina Menzel loving the frozen life and prepares for Glasgow date
IDINA Menzel has revealed why she still loves singing her hits from Frozen and Wicked – because they help remind her what she wants to be in life.
As the voice of Elsa in Frozen, the Broadway star is known to a generation of youngsters for her powerhouse vocal on Let It Go, while she played the misunderstood witch Elphaba in Wicked.
And although Idina’s a massive star, she can still relate to her most famous parts, and of being an outsider.
“I feel very proud of it, and quite a responsibility, actually, to the young people that have connected with these characters,” she says, speaking before a first Glasgow visit to play the Royal Concert Hall on June 24.
“It’s a gift, but I need to practice what I preach and be aware of being a role model to kids in the crowd.
“These characters remind me of what I need to learn in life, too, particularly about self-esteem and confidence, and my own need as a woman to embrace what makes me different.”
When we speak, Idina’s heading for the airport to enjoy a few days holiday before her European tour kicks off.
She’s in a relaxed mode, but admits that even with all her success there’s still a lot of insecurities too.
“I’m just like everyone else, I have good days and bad days,” she says.
“There’s days when it’s easier to get out there and not care what people think, and then there’s others when it’s more complicated and you have to build yourself up.
“That’s why I consider singing these songs an incredible gift, because not only are they beautiful and connect with other people, but they remind me what I want to be.”
Idina tasted the spotlight as far back as 1996, when she played Maureen in Rent.
It was her first big part, having previously been working as a wedding singer while studying, yet Rent wasn’t the springboard to lasting stardom she’d hoped for.
“After Rent I got a record deal, which was a dream of mine, but nobody bought the album and I got dropped,” she recalls.
“I didn’t pursue all the other ventures that I could have done, and I had to start over again.
“It wasn’t until years later that Wicked came about.
“What’s wonderful about that, and what I can appreciate in retrospect, is how these things ebb and flow, and now I can appreciate the moment and where I am just now.
“Jonathan Larson (composer of Rent) passed away on the show’s opening night, and I think that gave a bunch of us in our early 20s something to grapple with, and ground us – it gave us a deeper understanding of what’s important in life.”
If Wicked brought Idina major attention again, particularly for her jaw-dropping vocal on Defying Gravity, then Disney smash-hit Frozen shone an even greater spotlight, with the Oscar-winning Let It Go being firmly established in modern pop culture.
A Frozen sequel is already being planned, though the Tony award winning songstress can’t reveal too much about it yet.
“I’m excited it’s happening, but it’s still in the creative stages,” she adds.
“They’re still literally working on the plot, so it’s a couple of years away.”
Idina’s major trio of characters are all strong female roles, and the lack of such parts in films is something that’s become a hotly debated topic in Hollywood.
Idina reckons theatre has always provided more room for stronger women than Tinseltown.
“Theatre’s always made room for great women,” she enthuses.
“It’s one thing I feel lucky in – Wicked is really about two strong women, and going back in the day, there’s always been strong women, or strong sopranos, that the story would revolve around.
“It would be nice if the film industry took notice of theatre in that regard.”
Her Glasgow visit next week will see her accompanied by her son, five-year-old Walker, and her mother, while she’ll be playing all of her biggest hits and a few surprising covers, including Radiohead’s Creep.
There’s a couple of tunes you’ll never hear from her, though – the songs that she got fed up of performing in her wedding singer days.
“I got sick of performing Wind Beneath My Wings,” she laughs.
“It’s a great song but it’s a bit tiring after the 800th time, especially when it looked like the mom and the bride had been having a fight beforehand…”