Idina Menzel talks plans for new Nassau Coliseum show, more
Whenever Idina Menzel takes any stage on Long Island, she gets hit with a complicated mix of feelings and memories.
“It’s emotional for me,” says the Tony-winning Syosset native, who has starred both on Broadway and in the dreams of a generation of kids as the voice of Elsa in “Frozen.” “Being onstage, I’m doing what I love. . . . I can see how far I’ve come. But it also reminds me of people who weren’t so nice to me.
“I guess I should bring my shrink with me onstage,” she adds, laughing.
But taking the stage at the renovated Nassau Coliseum will be extra special for Menzel, who remembers going to see U2 at the arena when she was in high school. “It’s going to be a really cool show,” says Menzel, adding that she has been agonizing over what songs from her recent “idina.” (Warner Bros.) album to leave out of the set so that she can do crowd favorites such as “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked” and “Let It Go” from “Frozen.”
“Those songs reflect where I’m at in my life,” Menzel says of new songs such as “Queen of Swords” and “I Do,” which she co-wrote. “They’re relevant to me and they’re new and exciting. They all flow together. There’s some great grooves to break up some of the ballads. It’s like taking people on a ride, and it’s such a joyful, fun moment when I can walk out and be myself.”
And she has enjoyed getting to see how the new songs fit with some of her older material during tour rehearsals. “It all boils down to how it feels,” Menzel says. “You get to see what are good songs to elongate the groove and which ones should end with a bang.”
Though Menzel is developing a movie about “a version of me who never got out of Long Island,” recently got engaged to her “Rent” co-star Aaron Lohr and, of course, has “Frozen 2” on the horizon, her mind is focused on the tour, which will run through September.
“I’m in my touring head and trying to figure out how to bring my son [7-year-old Walker] on tour with us and have some other mommy friends come along with us so he’s surrounded with kids and not just crazy musicians,” says Menzel, laughing. “He’s excited. Touring is a new thing for him. He digs it. He can’t wait to show his friends the bunk beds on the bus and he wants to sell merch. . . . It’s the next phase of the touring adventure.”
ON FOLLOWING BILLY JOEL
Idina Menzel says she’s thrilled to be following Billy Joel so soon after he christens the Nassau Coliseum stage. “He is such a part of my entire childhood,” Menzel says. “I had a boyfriend who lived kind of close to him and we’d drive in the middle of the night and try to find the gate of his house. Then we would park in front of his house — or what we thought was his house, it was probably some random neighbor — and play Billy Joel music and make out. The whole thing is . . . it’s just beautiful. It really brings it home for me.”