Defying Expectations

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



Idina Menzel (Publicity x395) |

Is the concert just the album, or do you throw your
Broadway fans a bone?
I do some of the Broadway stuff, but I strip
them down a little, make them more acoustic. We do
"Defying Gravity" and a few others.

Speaking of Broadway, how do you feel about Rent
finally closing in September after 12 years?
It's been bittersweet because of [playwright]
Jonathan [Larson's] passing. We originated the show
without our ringleader, and we all sort of saw it as a
tribute to him. Our job was to bring Jonathan's dream to
life, which gave us purpose. It was grounding -- I think it
kept us from getting a little insane, which is what
can happen when you face success so early. It was my
first Broadway production, which was incredibly
special. And, of course, I met my husband there too.
[Laughs] Something that’s good about the
closing is that now it can be performed in high
schools. To think that some teenage girl will be able
to play Maureen, and that maybe a class of students
will come out of it a little more educated about life and
people that are different from them.

What's going to happen to all the Rentheads? Is
there another show out there that could pick up the mantle?
Over the years the other cast members and I have
heard from so many people who were struggling with who
they were -- struggling with success or accepting
their sexuality. I don’t know if there will ever be
another show that touches the same nerve. But
Spring Awakening has a strong following,
and Wicked also speaks to a young generation.

When will we see you back in the theater? Well, I worked on a staged reading of Duncan
Sheik's new musical, Nero, back in July. Daniel
Kramer is the director; he's very up-and-coming. He
wrote four songs for my character, including this
great number called "No Trace of Us." It was such a
wonderful experience to be involved in something at the
earliest stages again. They got to know what makes me
tick and what my voice can do. I tell my manager to
find these embryonic projects. If there's one or two
good songs or the right creative team, I'd rather put my
faith in that than some jukebox musical.

Any chance of a Wicked movie? I think it's in the works, but it could
take years to make it happen. Kristin [Chenoweth] and
I may be a little too old by then. Of course, green
makeup and the right lighting cover everything.

Tags: Music