TO THE STAGE?

In a recent interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Idina discusses why she loves touring, her feelings on her solo recording career, and her desire and need to keep working. Though, most interestingly, something else is mentioned…

Idina Menzel has the actor’s disease: Though she enjoyed huge success in the original Broadway casts of Rent and Wicked – and now on the hotter-than-hot Fox series Glee – she’s haunted by the possibility of never working again.

That notion was particularly intense after the 2009 birth of her son. “I was afraid people would forget about me,” she said the other day. “I live in Los Angeles much of the year. I’m surrounded by huge movie stars, so the perspective is out of whack.”

Few of her talented Broadway colleagues graduate to the concert stage – particularly ones as large as the Mann Center, where she’ll be on Thursday with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

It’s a sweetheart gig. The evening is hers – she’s nobody’s guest star in a larger program – and that suits her expansive personality. Menzel believes that the more she sings over a day or week, the better she sounds. She has not only her Wicked signature song “Defying Gravity” to draw from, but three solo albums.

That may not quite add up to being on top of the world, but she shows every sign of doing pretty well. In fact, she inspires enough scrutiny from fans that blogs abound with speculation of a feud with Wicked costar Kristen Chenoweth that apparently has no basis in fact.

All good news? “On a day-to-day basis,” said Menzel, now 39, “I don’t see it like that.

“I do have these albums out and I’ve been trying so hard to cross over into a pop mainstream kind of thing. But I still sell mostly to the theater audience. Glee helps in some way but not drastically. Not yet. I’ve had a lot of disappointments with my own albums and sales.”

She says her continued presence on Glee is by no means assured. She plays the director of a rival high school glee club, Vocal Adrenaline, and in the season-ending cliffhanger her character is holding someone else’s baby while trying to establish a relationship with the teenage daughter she gave up for adoption. How could that plot line not continue?

“They’re very secretive over there,” says Menzel. “I’d love to come back. It’s great to be in a show on TV where they really appreciate and respect theater people.”

But –

As insurance against unemployment paranoia, she’s in New York workshopping a new musical, details of which she can’t discuss. “It’s important to make new projects,” she said in a phone interview between rehearsals.

And then there are concerts: “The reason I love touring so much is that it gives you control over a career that normally has little control.”

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