In a musical or alone on stage, Idina Menzel gets the same adrenaline rush
Idina Menzel’s voice is just as recognizable as her face. With strong appearances on Broadway, in movies, and TV, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t know her name.
This Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Menzel will perform at the Peabody Opera House as part of her 30-city tour that runs through the end of this year.
After making her Broadway debut in the original cast of “Rent” and then starring as Elphaba in “Wicked” in 2003, she has appeared in various other shows and has also recorded four solo albums. In more recent years, she appeared in the movie version of “Rent” as well as “Enchanted,” and has a recurring role on “Glee” as the mother of character Rachel Berry.
When not touring, Menzel lives in New York with her husband, Taye Diggs, and their 2-year-old son, Walker.
Relaxing in Little Rock, Ark. on her day off between shows, Menzel made time to answer a few questions.
Beacon: You have your son with you on tour right now – what’s the best part about him being there?
Menzel: It’s a whole new thing for me, we’re trying to get our rhythm down. I love being able to see him every day and having him be a part of the music. With him along on the bus, we have all his toys, fire trucks, right now we’re watching “Madagascar.” I just like being able to see him all the time.
Does your son have any favorite songs that you perform?
Menzel: I don’t perform any of his favorite songs. He would prefer that I sing “Single Ladies” or “Rolling in the Deep.” No, he listens to mommy a little bit here and there, but a lot of times he just tells me to be quiet.
How is appearing solo, as you’re doing now on tour, different from appearing in musicals? Does you miss the company?
Menzel: Of course I love musicals and being in New York. I miss it tremendously. As far as the concerts go, they still fill the same need in being in front of a large audience and give me the same adrenaline rush. I’m still opening up and making myself vulnerable to a live audience.
When you starred in “Rent” it was one of the break-out musicals by a younger generation, for a younger generation. Do you see an evolution in musical theater?
Menzel: There was “Hair” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” there were things before “Rent” of that tone. I don’t see it as an age thing. As long as we keep supporting composers and working with writers to create original material, they are going to write what they’re passionate about and there’ll be something for young people.
Is there any classic musical theater role you’re dying to play?
Menzel: Not really, no. There are a few shows that I love the music from and so I try to perform their music here and there in these concerts, but I’m more set on trying to be a part of original pieces. You know, my success has come from being a part of original pieces. … I really, really love being invited into the process and reading new work, so I think that’s more where my attentions are.
It was just announced that you’re going to star in Disney’s next animated movie “Frozen.” What’s it going to be like playing an animated character?
Menzel: It’s a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to have a major role in an animated Disney movie. It’s something my son can watch and the people involved on this particular movie are so talented. I’m excited to work with Kristen Bell. It’s fun, you know, you can just go into the recording studio and you get to try a million and one different things. It’s a very creative process, so I’m really excited about it.