‘Wicked,’ ‘Rent’ star Idina Menzel to sing at the Bushnell

Idina Menzel lives to perform.

The Tony Award-winning actress, best known for her Broadway roles of Elphaba in “Wicked” and Maureen Johnson in the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Rent”, will perform with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra on Friday at the Bushnell in Hartford.

“I love singing live. It’s what makes me tick,” Menzel said in a telephone interview.
“It’s a thrilling experience performing with an orchestra. Any experience to perform is one worth taking.”

“Almost a year ago I decided to go out with symphonies. It allows me to explore my music,” she added.

Menzel says the music featured in the special one-night concert will be varied.

“There will be lots of standards, songs from shows I’ve been in, a few songs from my albums, it will be eclectic.”

“I try to get a lot of sleep. I do my vocal exercises. I have to be sure I’m well-prepared,” Menzel said of her pre-tour preparation.


Interview: Idina Menzel

By Paul Lester, September 26, 2008

Acting, singing, comedy – Idina Menzel can do it all, and that includes severe self-doubt. It has a lot to do with her parents.

Idina Menzel is one of the biggest names in musical theatre, having appeared in Rent on Broadway and Wicked in the West End, as well as a film actress, starring most recently in Disney fantasy, Enchanted. She is also a recording artist, her latest, mostly self-penned album, I Stand, being produced by Glen Ballard, the man who helped Alanis Morissette sell 16 million copies of Jagged Little Pill.

So which is the real Idina Menzel – the nice Jewish girl from Long Island: the turbo-lunged diva singing flawless power ballads in musicals, or the “edgy little rocker” (her words) whose gritty performances on I Stand put her more in the Sheryl Crow category of raunchy female singer-songwriters? It turns out the answer could be all of them because Menzel fancies herself as a bit of a Renaissance woman.


Life is wicked good for multi-talented mom Idina Menzel

Broadway veteran Idina Menzel (Rent, Wicked) has a recurring role on Glee.
Enlarge image Enlarge By Rhyne Piggott, USA TODAY
Broadway veteran Idina Menzel (Rent, Wicked) has a recurring role on Glee
By Donna Freydkin, USA TODAY
NEW YORK — “It’s a baby zone,” Idina Menzel murmurs when you enter her fifth-floor Chelsea apartment.

Indeed, a stroller is parked by the front door. And in the dining area, across from the family-size wood table, her 8-month-old son, Walker, plays on the floor with his nanny, happily chewing on a toy. The child, a spitting image of dad Taye Diggs but with his mom’s almond-shaped orbs, greets entrants with a wide, gummy grin.

“People say he mostly looks like Taye. He has his nose and the shape of my eyes. We think he’s one of those blends that ends up being neither of us,” Menzel says. “He’s just so yummy. My favorite thing is to feed him and rock him and put him down to sleep. My husband and I, we’re connected in a totally different way.”

On cue, a sleepy Diggs emerges from their bedroom, clad in a baggy sweater, pants and Uggs.

“Hi, how ya doing?” says Diggs, heading over to play with his son.

Menzel and Diggs love their “eclectic, like our style” Manhattan apartment, a former sewing factory that the couple bought seven years ago, even though they just closed on a house in Los Angeles. There, he’s shooting ABC’s Private Practice, and she has a recurring guest role on Fox’s smash Glee (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT). Menzel plays a rival choir coach who hooks up with New Directions instructor Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison).

“She’s very ambitious and driven and calculating, but she’s going to have a really big heart. There’s more to her,” says Menzel, 38. “I get to sing some great music, some old Broadway kind of stuff and some new takes on a contemporary song. And there’s definitely some surprises and a twist.”

So, does she end up being high school singing diva Rachel Berry’s mother, as countless blogs have speculated?

“No,” Menzel says.

Glee creator Ryan Murphy cast Menzel for one reason: “She has a huge, huge talent. I really wanted her to sing. When she opens her mouth and out come the lyrics, it’s incredible. She has one of those big voices. And she acts when she sings, which is rare.”

Menzel, a Broadway veteran who starred in Rent and Aida and won a Tony for playing green witch Elphaba in Wicked, relished working again because Glee has similar “camaraderie and energy” to the theater world and “feels a little like home,” she says.

Yet most fans of the show won’t exactly sympathize with her when she recounts how frazzled she was on her first day of work. Her very first day on set involved “making out like crazy” with heartthrob choral coach Morrison, whom Menzel knew from their New York theater days.

“It was so intimidating. It’s tough because I’m still nursing. In the trailer, I have my pump, and on breaks I had go in and set up my human-cow situation and they’d call me back,” she says. “But it’s perfect because I wasn’t ready to leave home. I can come once a week and do my job and go home and be with the baby. For that, it’s been amazing.”

This summer and fall, Menzel is performing with local symphonies across the country, including in Washington, D.C., in July and Denver in November. “I’ve taken a lot of my older material and some new stuff and had it orchestrated for a huge orchestra. It’s glammed up a little bit more,” she says. “We’re trying to keep my intimate connection with the audience.”

Is theater in her future? “I’m really jonesing to go back. I need to find the right project,” she says, but family life isn’t currently conducive to grueling stage schedules. “I like putting Walker down to sleep every night. That’s the thing that would bother me.”

USA Today – May 18, 2010

Taking a Hike With Actress Idina Menzel

STUDIO CITY, Calif.—This is how we can tell that the actress and singer Idina Menzel has put at least a little bit of her New York roots behind her: “I live right up the street, and of course, I drove here,” Ms. Menzel said, stepping out of her sports-utility vehicle in workout clothes, in preparation for a hike near the house she shares with her husband, the actor Taye Diggs, and their 17-month-old son, Walker.

“Mostly I just do yoga,” Ms. Menzel said as she started up the hill. “But since I live so close I feel like I should know this hike. So, I’m using you as a guinea pig.”

It’s only recently that Ms. Menzel and Mr. Diggs (who is on the hit ABC show “Private Practice”) bit the bullet and bought a house in Los Angeles. They did it “kicking and screaming,” she said. “But we thought with the baby coming, let’s do it right. I don’t want to decorate a house we’re renting.”

“I’m kind of a homebody,” she went on. “But having a baby gets me out of the house. At least I want him to be social. I want him to have a bright happy start in the morning.”


Idina Menzel on the ‘Glee’ Experience

Get ready for a shot of Vocal Adrenaline, ‘Glee’ fans. Starting Tuesday, May 18 at 9PM ET on FOX, stage and screen star Idina Menzel is reprising her role as Shelby Corcoran, the no-holds barred coach of New Directions’ toughest competitor, on Fox’s hit series. We caught up with the Tony award-winning actress and new mom in between performances of her nationwide concert tour. Here’s what she had to say about her ‘Glee’ experience, a ‘Wicked’ feature film, and who’d she like to work with next.

Your character Shelby is really driven and ambitious. Are you like her at all?

I’m definitely hard-working and driven, for the most part. I wouldn’t say ambitious — I tend to get intimidated in situations, and I’m much more comfortable with someone finding me as opposed to me knocking someone over the head with myself. So I’m a little bit more self-deprecating. I mean, I’m tough — I can be a tough girl and have a lot of strength, but I can also be pretty hard on myself.

So is it fun to play someone who is more brazen and confident?

Idina Menzel: Tony Winner and NYU Alum

If you’re a fan of Broadway shows, a hit television series, or blockbuster movies, you’ve probably heard of Idina Menzel.  But what you may not have known about this ubiquitous and super-talented mega-star is that she is also a New York University alum!  HerCampus NYU talked with Idina about her current tour, past work, plans for the future, and her time as a student at NYU.

HC: First off, what can we expect from your concert at the NY Philharmonic?  What genre of
songs will you be singing?
IM: That’s a good question!  I’m singing songs from some of the shows that I have been in; I’m
singing some jazz standards, some original songs.  All of them have been beautifully
arranged by my musical director for the symphony.


Idina Menzel :: on Glee, concerts and motherhood

One of the nice surprises about Glee this spring is the addition of Idina Menzel. The Tony-winning actress joined the show to play Shelby Corcoran, the coach of the champion glee club, Vocal Adrenaline, that New Directions, the Glee’s team, face in the finals. On her debut episode it didn’t take long for her to be lip-locking with Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), her rival coach, suggesting another layer of complexity in the evolving rivalry between the teams. (She may be off the series for the next few weeks, but returns on May 18 for the final four of the hit show’s first season.)

While Menzel may not be joining the upcoming Glee cast concert tour; she will be appearing in major concert halls throughout the country over the next few months. She started last week in Jacksonville, and continues this week with the Boston Pops, where she appears in the opening night concert on Tuesday, May 4 with conductor Keith Lockhart. (The concert is repeated on Wednesday, May 5 and Thursday, May 6.)

Her appearance on Glee and this concert tour marks the first professional work by Menzel since the birth of her son Walker Nathaniel Diggs (with husband actor Taye Diggs) last September. Now some eight months later, she’s back in New York preparing for her concert appearances, talking to reporters and attending to her day-to-day routine as a new mother.

“If you hear a loud beep,” she told me over the phone, “it’s because I need to let the food delivery guy in the apartment. So I’m warning you now.”

When it came, the beep wasn’t loud, nor was the Menzel distracted by her mom duties as she talked about her experience with motherhood, her role on Glee and how she needs to tone down her image when she appears in such venues as Boston’s Symphony Hall.


Taye Diggs’ Idea of Romance? Buying His Wife a House

Taye Diggs and his actress wife Idina Menzel met in 1996 while costarring in the Broadway show Rent, got married in 2003 and had their son Walker in 2009. And in all those years, Diggs says the most romantic thing he ever did for his wife was buy her a house. “I think that’s pretty romantic,” the actor tells iVillage in an exclusive interview. “A house and a car — from a male perspective, I think that’s as romantic as it can get!”

Idina Menzel: Being A Mom Has Made Me A Better Performer – INTERVIEW

This week, MJ got to sit down for a one-on-one interview with one of the most versatile actresses in Hollywood, Idina Menzel, as she prepares for the next milestone in her career: performing with the historic New York Philharmonic.

With the performance only days away, Menzel said she is excited and only a little nervous because she “can’t wait to get in there and swim around in their sound.”

So colorful!

But so calm! During the interview, Idina told MJ that being a mom to 17-month-old son, Walker, has been liberating. She said, “Unlike all the years of being neurotic, judging all my performances and over-thinking life… I no longer have time for it anymore. Because of it I’m liberated and a better performer because I’m out of my head.”

Read the rest of the interview on michajesse.com