Idina Menzel on Returning to London After Wicked: "It's Surreal"

I was equal parts excited and nervous to interview the great Idina Menzel. Aside from being an amazing talent and someone I admire greatly, she is also the most famous person I have ever conversed with to date. (There was that one time I sat directly behind Gwen Stefani as a seat filler at the MTV Music Awards, but other than staring at the back of her head, we didn't really have a lot of interaction.)

So, I was a bit put out when I went bragging around the office and hardly anyone knew who she was or was impressed by my amazing interview score. What the hell people?! 

Menzel won a Tony for the role of Elphaba in Wicked, one of the most popular Broadway musicals ever? She was Maureen Johnson in the Broadway musical Rent and reprised the role for the film adaptation? She's is married to Taye Diggs who starred in both of those musicals with her? Glee?! Come on. 

Hopefully, you know exactly who she is now. If you are still staring blankly, you need some culture in your life! First, watch this:

Next, go on Netflix and watch Rent - and maybe Enchanted for good measure. Finally, download her album, Idina Menzel Live: Barefoot at the Symphony

Menzel has been touring to promote that album over the past year. "It's been amazing. It's been a great year. It's been a lot of traveling and meeting new people and I've really gotten to fine tune my show and get it where I want it. But I've had a couple of weeks off so you guys are getting me nice and fresh."

She just returned, in fact, from the UK leg of her tour where she spent tmost of her time in London before a brief jaunt up to Scotland. It certainly isn't her first time performing on the legendary London boards, but she is still impressively humble about it.

"I love London, because I spent half a year there when I took Wicked

there for the first time, so it's like a second home for me. But any

time you are out of the country and a lot of people show up and know who

you are and are fans, it's surreal."

In addition to her work on Glee, Menzel is working on an upcoming Disney animated film Frozen, in which she will offer her voice for the Snow Queen. There are even online rumors of an Enchanted 2, in which Menzel might reprise her non-singing role.

But all of these other projects aside, it is the thrill of being face to face with a live audience that Menzel loves best.

"Whether it is a play or my own concert or just standing at a piano, I just love live performance more than anything. I like that I have a real good balance, though. I love that I can go into a recording studio and have the solitude, and I love that I can be on a film or on TV. All of that stuff adds to my love for live performance, because I can have some time away from it so I don't get burned out. It compliments it so you can come back invigorated."

After you have fallen in love with Menzel and her voice -- if you weren't already a fan -- go see her perform

at the Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Boulevard  West Palm Beach, on Wednesday, Nov. 28, and the Arsht Center on Friday, Nov. 30. Buy tickets here.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Rebecca McBane is the arts and culture/food editor for New Times Broward-Palm Beach. She began her journalism career at the Sun Sentinel's community newspaper offshoot, Forum Publishing Group, where she worked as the editorial assistant and wrote monthly features as well as the weekly library and literature column, "Shelf Life." After a brief stint bumming around London's East End (for no conceivable reason, according to her poor mother), she returned to real life and South Florida to start at New Times as the editorial assistant in 2009. A native Floridian, Rebecca avoids the sun and beach at all costs and can most often be found in a well-air-conditioned space with the glow of a laptop on her face.
Contact: Rebecca McBane