Idina Menzel Wows “em” at the Pantages in “If/Then – by Sue Facter
After mesmerized by Idina Menzel‘s opening night performance of “If/Then, at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, I am still scratching my head why she isn’t more well known.
The mezzo-soprano commanded the stage in what seemed to be every scene during the almost the 3 hour performance. Beside being an amazing actress, her voice is that of a younger Streissand Needless to say she is receiving standing ovations and lighting up Hollywood Boulevard every night as she belts out Tom Kitt’s music and Brian Yorkey’s lyrics.
Although she’s been a Broadway star for two decades, mainstream America was not aware of her unique talents until she voiced Queen Elsa in Disney’s “Frozen,”, whose tune, “Let It Go” became a part of Billboard’s top 10. The film became Disney’s highest grossed animated movie of all time.
Her name also went viral when John Travolta made a faux pas with her name at the Oscar broadcasr when introducing her. His interpretation was Adelle Nazeem. The embarrassing (for Travolta) mistake skyrocketed her real name to sudden fame, but she is still not the everyday name she should be.
The actress won the coveted Tony for the role of the wicked witch Elphaba in “Wicked” opposite Kristen Chenewith, who audiences are more familiar with. Both are equally talented.
Also she is known as the ex- wife of actor Taye Diggs, who she met in the original off Broadway production of Rent in 1995. They married in 2003 and have a six year old son, Walker Nathaniel Diggs. Unfortunately they split after 10 years of marriage.
The songbird has been on the cover of Redbook, a prestigious women’s magazine, Many know her as Leah Michelle’s Mom on Glee.
But with an exceptional voice like her’s, why isn’t she more well known?
The Pantages is known for getting the best of Broadway. We often are not furtunate enough to get the original stars in the lead roles. This time we ,lucked out and with Michael Grief’s direction!
Menzel dominates the stage playing two roles, making it easier for the audience to understand by wearing a pair of glasses for one of them. The premise of the musical was about choices, what if?. A 40ish gal moves back to New York after a recent divorce. Her character faces the challenges of relationships, marriage, family, and career. Menzel’s supporting cast, three of whom joined her from the Broadway cast (which is unheard of on a national tour) also wowed the crowd.
She was name after her Grandmother Ida and her Hebrew name means gentle.
But with a voice like her’s and her eclectic credits, why isn’t she more well known? Menzel has talked about this before. “Kids come to see me. So do adults, the parents of the kids. Then there’s the people who love theatre and Broadway music. There’s a whole gay contingency..I am thankful to reach the people who I do.”