BWW Interviews: Idina Menzel Never Had a Back-Up Plan
Idina Menzel grew up in New York and always loved to sing As Idina got older, she knew that music was her passion and she wanted to perform on Broadway someday. Her mom encouraged her to pursue her education first and not perform professionally as a child. “She wanted me to go to school and go to college. Then after that I could figure out what I wanted to do.” She figured out that the only thing she wanted to do was to be onstage. She never had a back-up plan.
Recently, Idina took time out of her busy tour and her busy life to catch up with Broadway World and share with us how she balances it all. Idina has been travelling with her son for the first time and is busy trying to figure out how to do it all. “I don’t feel like I’m doing a great job. (As) moms, we just do it. There is a lot of good planning and good help.” Her husband, Taye Diggs is very supportive and helps out a lot. She said that it’s great that she is getting to do so many things that she loves which is very important to her.
As Idina travels, she is busy singing to a diverse audience. It is something the whole family can enjoy. A lot of the songs are songs that people expect to hear from Idina. It also gives Idina the chance to share songs that are important to her and have meaning in her life. “I really want to put on the best show that I can. It’s important to me that the audience in each city feel like the show is special and individual to them. There is always something that I try to share with everyone and have a unique experience in each city.”
As we continued, our conversation turned to Idina’s love for Broadway and desire to get back to Broadway sometime in the future. Although she couldn’t reveal too much at this point, Idina did say, “I’m excited and I wanted to get back to the theatre. I miss it very much. I want to be in a new original piece. Most of my success has been in those shows. I enjoy the process of being involved early on with the creators. I’m putting myself in the position to do that with several different people so that when the time comes and their work is ready that I can be part of that team and watch it flourish.”
Idina’s love for performing and for music came across very strongly as we chatted, but when I asked her about her non-profit organization called A Broaderway Foundation, you could hear the passion in her voice as she shared her feelings. A Broaderway Foundation was founded in 2010 by Idina and her husband, Taye Diggsto help young girls in New York City who may not have the opportunity. This foundation takes girls to camp for a week in Massachusetts where the girls are given the chance to create an original performance and present it in New York City to their families and other supporters. Idina herself, along with other Broadway artists, serve as counselors and mentors to these deserving girls. Idina said, “It’s all about helping the girls find their true voices.”
When sharing advice with people who are thinking about getting into show business, Idina told me that everyone should shoot for their dreams. “I feel that kids should study and train, be in school plays, travel with their choir.” She continued, “Try not to be too one dimensional. Read a lot. Study other things than just their acting and their singing because it makes you a better artist and a better human being the more well-rounded you are. It’s something that I regret a little bit. I wish I would have majored in other things outside of theatre and read a lot more and travelled a lot more. I think I would have had more to draw from.”
Tuesday, June 12th – San Antonio, Texas - Majestic Theatre (website)
Wednesday, June 13th – Dallas, Texas - Music Hall at Fair Park (website)
Thursday, June 14th – Austin, Texas - Long Center for the Performing Arts: Dell Hall (website)