Idina Menzel. There isn’t a musical theatre fan in existence who hasn’t been familiar with her name for a long time, especially since she won the Tony Award for her portrayal of Elphaba in Wicked across the stage from costar Kristen Chenoweth, who player Glinda. For those who have jumped on the Idina Menzel bandwagon more recently with her voice work as Elsa the Snow Queen in Disney’s Frozen, and who may not be familiar with Broadway or musical theatre, Wicked tells the back story of many of iconic characters in The Wizard of Oz, putting a sympathetic spin on the Wicked Witch of the West (Elphaba, played originally by Idina Menzel).
For those unfamiliar with Idina’s pre-Frozen work, here’s a video of Menzel performing as Elphaba, long before she took on the role of Elsa, the Snow Queen:
While discussing her new Broadway role in the show If/Then, Idina expressed excitement about the opportunity Frozen gave her to be discovered by a whole new generation of fans. According to a report in Playbill, Menzel had this to say:
“I think it’s cool to be in your 40s and people first be discovering you. Because as a woman, you know, you always think you’re racing against time. So that feels nice. And, to have this demographic that’s so not my age sometimes. It’s very special.”
The song has gone beyond viral, cracking the top 10 on the pop charts and spawning more spoofs than Mel Brooks, including viral videos by US Marines singing the song.
Of course, not everyone knows who Idina Menzel is. John Travolta introduced her as “Adele Dazeem” at the Academy Awards.
It remains to be seen whether Idina Menzel’s fame on the big screen will lead people to expand their horizons and go see her perform in a live show, but if her past performances are any indication, her latest show should be a great one to take in if you find yourself in New York City while it’s still playing on Broadway.
An AP report quotes Idina Menzel saying this about the success of Frozen and her return to Broadway:
“It’s all been life-changing and extraordinary — but my home is the theater and being back in New York, and being in the Broadway community is — this is the pinnacle of that,” she said.
“No matter how amazing the Oscars and the success of Frozen and all of that is — and believe me, I don’t mean to underplay it – but my home has always been Broadway, and I waited a long time to come back and I’m back with something that moves me and had changed me as a person in the way I see it.”
What do you think? Will Idina Menzel’s mainstream success bring new fans to Broadway to see her perform in If/Then?