Defying Expectations

Broadway belle Idina Menzel flies solo with a new album and concert tour.

BY Dan Avery

August 10 2008 11:00 PM ET

Indina Menzel (Getty x395) | Advocate.com   

A lot of your gay fans have taken the song
"Gorgeous" as a sort of queer anthem -- was that intentional?
It definitely was intended to resonate with gay
fans. The song came from two things: One was how, even
today, my husband and I face certain challenges as a
interracial couple. But I also have a very good friend
who's gay and in an international relationship, so it's been
difficult for him and his boyfriend to be together.
It's about society giving you a hard time…and
[you] just not giving a shit. It's universal, though --
maybe you love someone your parents don't approve of. It's
not about vanity -- not about my gorgeous husband.
It's about being true to yourself and realizing that
all love is beautiful and worthwhile.

Who gets stopped more by the gays -- you or Taye? I think I do, but only because I eat it up. Taye
is like, "Oh, yeah, thanks man." I start chatting with
them and asking questions. I definitely feel the love
from the gays. They're in the front row at my
concerts. There are gay bars where the drag queens dress up
like Elphaba.

There was an incident a few years back where you
and Taye received threatening letters about your
relationship. Were you scared or just amazed that
people still carried such bigotry around?
It was just frustrating. We're surrounded by
supportive people in our lives, so there was no sense
of being afraid. But it got out into the press and
worried the people in our lives.

Which was really
upsetting. I mean, that people still gripe about a
Jewish woman and a black man being married? It makes me feel
like there's still a lot of racism out there. I don't
want to be un-PC, but I want to say Obama isn't
further ahead in the polls because of his race.

You've been touring with I Stand for months.
What's tougher: doing a Broadway show eight nights
a week or headlining a concert?
I think they both require the same level of
commitment and discipline. The set I do for I
Stand
is almost two hours -- which is really long
for a concert. Wicked was almost three hours,
and I was onstage the entire time. It's hard to
compare.

OK, then: Which is more fun? Well, the spontaneity of a concert is great. A
few months into a Broadway show and it's a well-oiled
machine. Here, you never know what might happen. Plus,
you're the captain of the ship: I can change the order of
songs or just chat with the audience or the musicians. I
hope people who come to my show take something of me
away with them.

Tags: Music

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