Idina Menzel wows her audience of all ages at Starlight Theatre
Idina Menzel struck a victorious pose as she launched into “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” the opening number of her winning concert at Starlight Theatre on Wednesday.
After enduring a rain delay of 30 minutes, the members the audience of more than 3,000 were warned by Menzel to “get ready for me because I’m a comer.”
She certainly is. By beginning her two-hour performance with a song from the 1964 musical “Funny Girl,” Menzel, 46, intimated that she’s the Barbra Streisand of her generation.
A star on Broadway and a pervasive presence in film and television productions, Menzel verified that she and her spectacular voice are equally impressive in concert settings.
Menzel made a name for herself in the musical “Rent” in what she said was “my very first professional gig” in the ’90s. She recalled that “we knew we doing something cool, but we didn’t have any idea what kind of reaction it would have.”
She hit a high note on a vibrant version of the momentous musical’s “Seasons of Love” that seemed capable of shattering the video screens on either side of the stage. A sentimental reading of “No Day but Today” was topped only by the appearance of Menzel’s signature song.
As the opening strains of “Let It Go” were played by a nine-piece band, groggy children who had been waiting 90 minutes for the moment snapped to attention.
They knew that Menzel voiced the character of Elsa in the 2013 animated movie “Frozen.” About three dozen kids joined Menzel on the stage for several choruses of the film’s “Let It Go.”
While Menzel fretted that “I’m afraid your parents will hate me even more than they do” by indulging her young fans on the overly familiar ditty, their adorably enthusiastic singing was heart-melting.
Many adults had a similarly cathartic reaction to “Defying Gravity,” a stirring composition Menzel first sang as the green-skinned Elpha in the original production of the 2003 musical “Wicked.” She also touched on rock, R&B, pop and cabaret during Wednesday’s fast-paced show.
Menzel caught herself before finishing a racy anecdote by noting that “there are kids in the audience.” She explained that she’s sometimes challenged to please both the little girls and the gay men that comprise her two core constituencies.
“I play a Disney princess but I’m actually a queen,” she said.
Long may she reign.