Prior to her role in Disney’s Frozen movies, Idina Menzel was known specifically for her roles in theater. Her first role most people in the theater community noticed was when Menzel played Maureen Johnson in Rent, followed by her lead role as Elphaba Thropp in Wicked. And just recently, Idina Menzel showed interest in playing Elsa in the rumored, upcoming theatrical adaption of Frozen.
Presently, however, Idina Menzel is busy in the theatrical world, not with a new role in a revival or up-and-coming play. Instead, Menzel is getting ready for her next stint for A BroaderWay Foundation.
According to Broadway World, A BroaderWay Foundation is a charity that gives girls between the ages of 10 to 14 from under-served urban communities a theatrical opportunity of a lifetime by attending a theater summer camp. Idina Menzel, one of the founders of A BroaderWay Foundation alongside her ex-husband Taye Diggs, will be present to speak to the girls who attend.
“Sometimes I get up in front of them and speak about self-esteem and confidence and taking risks, and my heart is pounding. I feel more responsibility, and more nerves, talking to them than I do getting up onstage to sing.”
A BroaderWay Foundation’s camp program, which originally accommodated thirty girls from New York City schools in its first season, will bring 60 to Bard College at Simon Rock in the Berkshires this season. For two weeks, the girls will swim, rock-climb, and study creative and performing arts with theater professionals like actor Taye Diggs and composer Jeanine Tesori.
What Idina Menzel likes to do with the campers is show that even someone like her, a prominent theater and movie star, has trouble finding her voice at times, as reported by USA Today. For Menzel, she found her voice by escaping the city through summer camp, saying it was a sanctuary, a salvation to her. A BroaderWay Foundation is a way to provide girls “that could really use the escape” to get them out of the chaos of the city, giving them a safe place to discover themselves and truly find their voice.
Though at the moment Idina Menzel is concentrating on giving such girls the same experience she felt at summer camp, her current goal is to “grow the camp,” eventually establishing other programs for other cities. As for graduates, they are not forgotten as one graduate class got to see Menzel perform her most recent theater outing on Broadway, If/Then. Not only that, annual reunions happen too along with events exposing the girls to art and dance outside of camp.
“I feel like we have to keep tabs on everyone, make sure they’re doing okay. The more connected you get, the more involved you want to get, with each girl’s particular needs.”
For those wanting to know more about A BroaderWay Foundation, there is more information on their official website. There, people can learn about their story, programs, staff, news, or donate. Information on how a parent can get their girl to attend one of A BroaderWay Foundation’s summer camps is available too.
[Image via A BroaderWay Foundation]