Tag Archives: Idina Menzel

REVIEW: Idina Menzel – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

idina menzel standing arms aloft

Tony Award-winning Broadway superstar Idina Menzel is in town once again with her individual blend of musical theatre classics, pop standards and self-penned songs from her new album.

As ever it’s an eclectic mix: The Beatles’ Dear Prudence melding into Do You Want to Build a Snowman?, a clutch of the songs from the shows that made her Broadway name – Seasons of Love and No Day But Today from Rent, Defying Gravity and For Good from Wicked, some very introspective offerings about her divorce, her son and finding new love from the album idina and, of course, the ubiquitous Let It Go from Frozen – which she performed with a clutch of tiny fans at her side, oh, and a Led Zeppelin tune.

Menzel is best described as ‘quirky’ and this unevenly paced and toned production is a reflection of that. At times utterly distant: there’s little dialogue in the first 20 minutes or so save the occasional ‘thank you’, then in turn confessional: disclosures about her divorce from actor Taye Diggs, her relationship with her son and her recent engagement, then utterly accessible: chatting and singing with fans. The result, though keeping the audience on its toes, is a little unsettling at times – there’s no build of excitement and in the moments when the audience has the chance to get truly engaged it crashes to earth with another sensitive ballad. As a huge fan, and someone who has seen her in concert and in stage roles many times, it all seemed a little too self-involved, even for a performer as kooky as Menzel. Engaging – yes, entertaining – yes, a bit all over the place – a definite yes.

Menzel is a unique talent, and despite a few wavering notes, still in fine form. Not her best, her previous UK tours had more impact, but still packing a punch and still with the power to move.

REVIEW: Idina Menzel live at the Apollo Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue

Accompanied by a 25-piece orchestra, the Tony Award-winning Broadway and Glee star has returned to London for a week-long concert season. 

Menzel bounds barefoot onto the stage at the Apollo Theatre in the West End and for the next two hours she chats, jokes, engages in some audience participation and above all belts out a series of songs that have either defined her career or have personal meaning.

The musical highlights include: Don’t Rain On My Parade, Over The Rainbow, Joni  Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Somewhere from West Side Story which she names as her favourite song ever, and a mash up of Cole Porter’s Love For Sale and The Police’s Roxanne. There are of course nods to her most famous roles with an audience participation version of Take Me or Leave Me from Rent and of course,The Wizard and I and Defying Gravity from Wicked. The most poignant moment of the evening comes as she shares her story about working with the late, great Marvin Hamlisch and sings his song At The Ballet from A Chorus Line.

It is her personality that sets Menzel apart. Despite her status as a Broadway superstar she is self-effacing, endearing, funny and, well, downright normal. She makes unnerving amounts of eye contact, stops to pose for photos and shares some personal as well as showbiz anecdotes with the packed out and very vocal crowd making this a more intimate and personal experience. Hopefully it won’t be too long before she graces our shores again.