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Idina Menzel worried she would be fired from Wicked?

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SomeDude
Chorus Member
joined:6/23/13
In this article, Idina says she was worried she would be fired from Wicked:

Menzel: For a long time I was worried I was going to be fired, so to be recognized that way...it's still hard to talk about it. You don't feel 100 percent worthy, especially when you're on stage with someone like Kristin.

http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/WICKED-Chat-Kristin-Chenoweth-Idina-Menzel-Talk-Rumored-Rivalry-Tonys-More-20131017

Does Anyone know why she would think this? Is it Normal for Stars of a Broadway show to always have that fear if the reviews don't go the way they planned? The show got mixed reviews, but I believe Idina got critical praise. It just seems weird to me that she would think or say that. I didn't see her early performances of Wicked but for those that did, was she struggling?

Updated On: 10/18/13 at 11:58 AM
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bwayphreak234
Broadway Legend
joined:7/4/10
That's not a great thing to say in an interview...
"There’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music. "
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SomeDude
Chorus Member
joined:6/23/13
I love her honesty but I just think it was strange of her to say that.
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Joviedamian
Broadway Star
joined:11/9/10
I don't think it's that strange. It's honesty. She is expressing the difficulties it was to be in that show. As mentioned in many of the books... tensions and struggles happened with this show. I took what she said as if she was afraid she was going to be fired, mainly because her voice (at the time) was really not suited for that show. When you feel like you are not delivering, you have every intention to feel like you're going to lose your job. I heard/read and she expressed many times that she was cracking on notes a lot, getting fatigue, etc. And to be next to Kristin who is always spot on and always delivers, it's hard to not think that.
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justincharacter
Broadway Star
joined:6/11/13
Going on to say that Shoshana Bean, her understudy or standby, was vocally stronger than her.
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latitudex1
Featured Actor
joined:7/9/08
Many leading men and leading ladies have expressed similar sentiments. I can think of Betty Buckley talking about her struggles connecting to her song in Cats, for example.

Elphaba was and is a big deal role with demanding songs. If you don't think that you're vocally up to it, then, hell yea you'd be scared about your position. As irrational as she may have felt at the time, it's not like people haven't been fired for underperforming before.
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best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
It's an honest thing to say, and good for her! She was brought in herself to replace Stephanie Block after the workshop.

It would be naive to think the same thing couldn't happen to her. In addition to being a replacement, she watched other principal cast members get replaced after the San Francisco tryout.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
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SomeDude
Chorus Member
joined:6/23/13
I guess I really need to read these books.

@justincharacter, But Shoshana didn't have to go on as many times as Idina so..

Edit.

Why exactly was Stephanie replaced?
Updated On: 10/18/13 at 12:56 PM
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best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
When was Shoshana the standby or understudy for Idina? It was Eden Espinosa when the show opened.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
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latitudex1
Featured Actor
joined:7/9/08
Why exactly was Stephanie replaced?

I believe they wanted someone with Broadway credits.
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best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Stephanie was Elphaba in the workshops, and she was told after that they needed someone with more of a New York reputation to open the show. While Idina wasn't exactly a name, she at least had a Tony nomination from Rent. More established than Stephanie at the time.

That's what happens when producers get nervous about spending so much money.

"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
Updated On: 10/18/13 at 01:00 PM
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best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
I thought it was equally honest for Chenoweth to say when she signed on to play Glinda, she thought it was a supporting role.

They billed her as a lead and beefed up the part after they cast her. But in her mind, it was supporting. They probably both would have won Tonys if Kristen had been in the "featured" category (not to take anything away from Anika Noni Rose).

"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
Updated On: 10/18/13 at 01:06 PM
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SomeDude
Chorus Member
joined:6/23/13
Good points @latitudex1 and Best12. I have never really thought of Elphaba as a very challenging vocal role. She has big songs but it's not like she is singing for 2 hours straight. But, Yes, Now I can see why Idina would be worried about being fired.
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wickedfan
Broadway Legend
joined:12/25/03
I remember reading an interview (I think it was on Playbill) with Chenoweth right before Wicked went into rehearsals (pre-San Francisco) where she said how excited she was to be playing Glinda because it wasn't the lead, but rather a very important major supporting character. It allowed her the freedom to really work on and explore her character without the burden of feeling like she had to carry a show. Of course, as besty said, the selling point the writers and producers decided to go with was the bond between the two witches, which meant that all publicity for the show was about Menzel and Chenoweth as a team, meaning costars.

As for Menzel's fear of being fired, it's completely understandable. Though it sold out its run, Wicked had a rough time in San Francisco. One of the problems they were facing was that Chenoweth was walking away with the show every night. I'm sure Menzel, who wasn't a part of the show for that long, was having issues making her performance memorable next to Chenoweth's, and was seeing two actors with major roles being replaced (one of them a two time Tony winner) was worried that she might be replaced as well. Luckily, the writers tweaked and improved her role and the producers gave her the time to improve her performance, because by the time I saw her in the last week of Broadway previews, she was wonderful and every bit Chenoweth's equal.
"Sing the words, Patti!!!!" Stephen Sondheim to Patti LuPone.
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SomeDude
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joined:6/23/13
->They probably both would have won Tonys if Kristen had been in the "featured"

I'm not sure I understand the point of putting Kristin in the leading category. Why would the producers make them go against each other, knowing full well that only one ( or none) could win? Wouldn't it have made more sense to put them in separate categories so the Wicked team had a better shot at getting more Tony Awards? By putting both in Lead, aren't they basically throwing away a possible award?
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finebydesign
Broadway Legend
joined:7/17/07
I was never completely convinced they hated each other, but this makes me believe it. That interview read really icy to me.

It's no surprise Idina was scared, people get fired all the time when things aren't kosher with nervous producers or jealous/threatened "stars."

Kristin's "career" has been pretty tumultuous at best. At the time of Wicked Kristin was bouncing around Hollywood getting a lot of misses. I'm sure she was promised a lot for taking Wicked and obviously felt she was going to carry the show. Until the Tony's I never considered the role of Glinda as anything other than supporting. Schwartz is the first person to tell the need for a sole protagonist.

I'm sure as Elphaba's role was improved, she got better songs, and Idina started getting reactions, things got icy. If I'm not mistaken, the Wicked Kristin signed up for is not the Wicked we have today. Her role stole the show and overshadowed Elphaba's.
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justincharacter
Broadway Star
joined:6/11/13
@SomeDude True, but she did takeover for lead.

@best12bars I'm not actually sure when she became the standby for Idina, but Eden (who was standby at the time) left in September 2004 for Brooklyn. I'm guessing that Shoshana was the standby replacement
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veronicamae
Leading Actor
joined:7/13/09
She had admitted this many times, including when she was in the show. It's even in her dressing room tour video that was in that Broadway documentary movie.

She DIDN'T get fired, and that's all that really matters. She's not going to be fired for it now for admitting that, so...
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JBradshaw
Stand-by
joined:10/10/04
Eden was the original elphaba standby and understudied nessarose - Eden was on the first time I saw the show, believe it was the second time idina missed - gotta admit before the Tonys idina rarely missed. After Eden left to do "Brooklyn" Shoshana came in Oct 2004 as the new standby for Elpaba and Nessa understudy.

Idina had some fierce vocals when I finally saw her - maybe cause it was 'Wicked Day' and also Halloween maybe she added a lil something extra that day.
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LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Eden was the original elphaba standby and understudied nessarose

Really? I saw it in SF and Stephanie was listed as the Elphaba standby. (My playbill is across the country, though, so correct me if I'm wrong.)
"Don't patronize me, alright?" - BroadwayStar4
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gavyj
Stand-by
joined:11/9/11
I mean, this is really just like Patti LuPone in Evita. Patti was receiving less than stellar reviews, her voice was in and out, and she really only had a Supporting Actress nomination to her name. Then she came back, won a Tony, and went down in history as one of the great divas of Broadway.

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N2N Nate.
Broadway Star
joined:7/11/13
I actually think Idina's situation is familiar with many Broadway actors and actresses. I see why you made the Patti comparison, but I'm sure Idina's fear has been shared by many professionals. I just don't really find Idina's career anyway similar to Patti's career.
So Lauren Bacall me, anything goes! *wink*
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The Distinctive Baritone
Broadway Legend
joined:8/28/04
Stephanie J. Block was the standby in San Francisco, but opted not to be the standby on Broadway when she got Boy From Oz.
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PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
The real reason Kristin's part was built up is the connection between Kristin;s natural comedic style and Winnie Holzman's voice as a writer.
yr pal,
joey




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Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Actors are insecure messes. Case closed.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
Hannahbelle
Chorus Member
joined:9/20/08
I saw Idina's last real performance (the one where she broke her rib and had to leave in an ambulance) and Shoshana Bean took over for her. I also saw Wicked the October before Idina left the show and Shoshana was on for her.

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