Idina Menzel

Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center, June 10

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Photo by Bill Hughes/Erik Kabik

One helluva broad. Bold and saucy—with a voice they could’ve heard back at the Tony Awards, televised while the Tony-winner herself was entertaining Las Vegas—Idina Menzel is a broad in the best sense, her artistry delivered with salty, sassy-gal earthiness:

Revealing how she sang “Love for Sale” to seduce her college vocal teacher. Then powerfully and poignantly interpreting the classic for what it really is—not playful flirtation, but soul-shredding heartache.

Recalling how Barbra Streisand largely ignored her at a reception following the Kennedy Center Honors at which she performed for the honoree, so she did tequila shots. Then belting out a Babs-level “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”

Lifting her sleek white gown, she said, “I’m barefoot for all of you. Put on the gown and the hair, but fuck it.” Crowd roars. Pulling off what few Broadway performers can without a script, she turns a concert hall into a living room. You want to applaud her. Then down booze with her.

Backed by an orchestra including many local musicians, Menzel gave the Idiniacs what they craved: anthems from her hit shows Wicked (“The Wizard and I,” “For Good” and “Defying Gravity”) and Rent, the latter yielding a tuneful mob scene when she waded into the audience and invited thrilled young fans—two dozen rushed onstage—to join her on “Take Me or Leave Me,” hugging each one. Tossing in pop standards (“Both Sides Now,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”), she was so engaging that a flub on one tune triggered even more affection as she cheerfully copped to the screw-up and began anew.

Two farewells had the standing-O audience demanding two returns before Menzel departed the stage she owned. Only thing missing was Springsteen-style body-surfing into the crowd because “my boobs would fall out.” One cool broad. ★★★★☆

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