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Interview:
Idina Menzel at Meadow Brook, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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To many, especially a generation of “Frozen”-loving youngsters, Idina Menzel is Queen Elsa and, more importantly, the voice of the film’s Grammy Award-winning hit “Let It Go.”

But there’s more to her story than that.

A Tony Award-winning Broadway veteran, Menzel has originated key parts in “Rent,” “Wicked” and “If/Then,” among others. She also has an extensive resume of film and TV appearances, including a 12-episode run on “Glee.” She’s released six albums, including the 2016 set “idina.” for which she co-wrote nine of 12 tracks.

This summer brings Menzel on the road for her second world tour, which is hitting seven countries and focuses on the “idina.” album...

• Menzel, 46, says by phone that with her second world tour “there’s an ease about it, I guess. I’m with most of the same musicians I’ve had for years, so it’s like a big family. I’ve brought in three new women; They all sing and one’s a violinist and another plays a million instruments. So that’s been really great to have some girl power on the tour now. It’s a nine-piece band as opposed to the last time when we picked up an orchestra in each city; It’s nice but this way we’re our own little insular unit, which I like.”

• Another difference on this tour -- her son Walker from her marriage to “Rent” co=-star Taye Diggs. “My son is a different age this time (eight years old) which is making it different,” she says. “He’s appreciating it on a different level, which is good for me. He’s more independent, so it’s a little bit easier this time around although I still don’t get quite as much sleep as I need because he’s up and rarin’ to go at seven in the morning.”

• Menzel is also happy to be on the road singing more original material rather than just songs from the shows she’s been in. However, she adds, “I still find a way to connect all the music, whether it be from the shows I’ve been in or some cool covers I’ve always wanted to do or music from the album. That’s how I always look at putting a show together -- What do the songs mean? What do they mean in my life? How did they change me in some way? Even if there’s a cover there’s a reason I’m singing it, so there’s a through-line to everything.”

• Speaking of covers, Menzel has raised some eyebrows by included Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” out of the “idina.” track “Cake.” “That song always reminded me having a little Zeppelin in it,” she says, “so I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to maybe segue into a (Zeppelin) song I love. The funny thing is it’s hard to find Zeppelin tunes, lyrically, that fit ‘cause they were so high all the time and always talking about meadows and weird, hippie kind of lyrics. ‘Cake’ is a sexy kind of song, so ‘Black Dog’ seemed to fit the best. The band was like, ‘Who cares? We’ll put in a Zeppelin song that fits the groove,’ but to me the lyric has to make sense, too.”

• Menzel’s next project will actually be promoting “Voice Lessons,” a memoir by her younger sister about growing up with a singing star. Menzel wrote the foreword and will be making appearances around the book’s fall publication. “She wrote this beautiful, poignant book about growing up in her older sister’s shadow,” says Menzel, who’s also engaged to actor Aaron Lohr. “It’s not salacious, not that kind of book. She just follows our lives, the trajectory of my career and the different milestones we both had, You hear things about my experiences in different shows I was in and about when I was little, cultivating my voice and how I made my sister eat dirt and taught her about boys. I’m really excited for it to come out.”



If You Go:

• Idina Menzel

• 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11.

• Meadow Brook Amphitheatre on the campus of Oakland University, Rochester Hills.

• Tickets are $40-$130 pavilion, $30 lawn.

• Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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