While many can belt out the Broadway soundtracks of hits from Rent and Wicked, and no doubt everyone not living under a rock knows the melody to “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen, some might not be too familiar with the voice that ties all three together: Idina Menzel.
The Broadway veteran was long beloved for her powerhouse vocals and dramatic commitment during her portrayal of Maureen in Rent. But it was those latter two projects (as well as roles in Fox’s Glee and Disney’s Enchanted) that solidified Menzel as a star for any fan of entertainment—be it the stage, screen or otherwise—to watch.
Prior to her September 2 show at the Pearl Concert Theater, the Tony Award–winning chanteuse spoke to Vegas Seven about her latest solo tour and how she chooses such fantastic parts.
Do you like playing Las Vegas?
It’s a little dry for a singer. That’s why Celine Dion put in all those humidifiers in that stage, because all of a sudden your body’s in the desert and it goes a little crazy. I’ve found that I have to try to overcompensate so my voice feels good.
[Vegas has a] great energy and the audience is amazing. … It’s my son’s birthday on [the night of] that show, so we might take him somewhere fun during the daytime.
Will your show be balanced between your recent studio album and the stage songs you’ve recorded?
It’s gonna be some stuff from the new album and some songs people would expect to hear. … There are some interesting arrangements that I’ve created with my music director and the band. … We’ve tried to give them a fresh take without stealing the integrity of the original.
You’re best known for your work in Rent, Wicked and Frozen, which all carry a theme of acceptance. Is it important for you to choose projects that feature such positive messages?
I feel like they choose me almost more than I choose them. I’ve given it a lot of thought. … Am I putting something out there in the world that attracts these kinds of roles to me? Is it because I need to learn these lessons as well? … I’m proud of that pattern. I love that there’s a commonality in the roles and message.
Your son was around 4 years old when Frozen came out and his mom was the new Disney princess. Could he recognize your voice when you watched the movie?
Yeah, he recognizes it. He still has a hard time with it all, because as much as he knows it’s a beautiful movie, and even likes it when he watches it once in a blue moon, to him it’s taken mommy from him. It’s allowed a bunch of strangers to know who his mommy is … so it actually goes a lot deeper than just the Disney princess thing. And that’s okay. I’m glad he can verbalize that.
With the tour concluding, what other projects are you working on right now? Are you taking some time off or do you have anything else in the works?
I’m definitely gonna take some time off. I miss my house, I miss my boyfriend and being home with my son. Even though I take him on the road with me, I just miss being mom at home. I’m gonna get him back in school and be mom for a little while—well, always, but, you know.
My sister has a book coming out. [It’s] a memoir about the two of us growing up together and was sort of my idea. It’s beautifully written and it was sort of my alternative to writing a book myself. I said, “You write it and you can write it about two sisters and echo that dynamic.” So, we’re gonna go out and publicize that because I’m really excited for her. There are a couple other things but nothing to speak of, really.
Sept. 2, 8 p.m., $63–$142, Pearl Concert Theater inside Palms Casino Resort, palms.com