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Five reasons to see and hear Idina Menzel’s Pride concert

Bill DeYoung



Tony winner Idina Menzel performs Friday at Jannus Live. Publicity photo.

She might not be a household name, in the strictest sense of the phrase, but in certain households Idina Menzel is a star of the highest magnitude.

The Tony-winning singer and actress performs Friday at Jannus Live, in a concert arranged by St. Pete Pride.

She’s Elsa, she’s Elphaba and she’s Maureen (and to a certain actor, she’ll always be Adele Dazeem).

The New York native has appeared often on Broadway, in films (Enchanted and Uncut Gems, among others), and on TV, and has released several albums (including the bestselling Christmas: A Season of Love and this year’s Drama Queen).

Menzel told Playbill in 2021: “Other than ‘Let It Go,’ most songs you associate with me aren’t your typical radio songs, but they are my ‘hits.’ I can stick a mic out and the audience sings every word, which is the greatest feeling.”

Five reasons to see Idina Menzel’s St. Petersburg concert:

She was the original Maureen in Rent. Menzel joined the cast of Jonathan Larson’s groundbreaking, Pulitzer Prize-winning musical while it was being workshopped in 1993, and was there when it made the  transition to Broadway. It’s an ensemble show, of course, but her solo numbers – “Take Me Or Leave Me” and “Over the Moon” – made Menzel’s brash Maureen stand out, and she was nominated for a Tony. Along with most of the original cast, she returned for the 2005 film version of Rent, directed by Chris Columbus.

She was the original Elphaba in Wicked. Menzel won the Tony for Best Actress in 2003 for her portrayal of the green-skinned, “misunderstood” sister of good witch Glinda, in the musical “re-thinking” of characters from The Wizard of Oz. The songs, including “Wonderful,” “The Wizard and I” and the iconic “Defying Gravity,” were written by Pippin and Godspell composer Steven Schwartz.

In her Playbill interview, Menzel discussed her most important roles. “Maureen showed me I could be funny,” she explained. “She reaffirmed the belief I had in myself that I had what it took to make it in this business. Elphaba put me in touch with my power as a woman, and taught me how to be unafraid of that power. I learned that what made me different is what made me special, and to not apologize for that.”

She was (and is) the speaking and singing voice of Elsa in Frozen. As the snow queen of Arendelle in Disney’s massively successful animated movie musical franchise, Menzel gave voice to “Let it Go,” which became a runaway hit; she became the first Tony-winning actress to score a Top 10 single on the pop charts.

John Travolta famously mis-pronounced her (non-household) name. During the Academy Awards ceremony in 2014, as she was preparing to perform “Let it Go,” Travolta introduced her as “Adele Dazeem.” The actor privately apologized later, and Menzel went on record as saying the incident was “one of the best things that happened for my career,” as it got people talking about her.

She is a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. “The LGBTQ community has done so much for me,” Menzel said in a December 2022 interview with advocate.com. “They’ve accepted me. They’ve always been there for me, and they’ve inspired me, and I hope that I can always be there for them as well.” She believes there is a recognizable pattern to the roles she’s played: “There’s empowerment, being an underdog, being unique and special. It’s about celebrating who you are, and finding that thing that makes you feel extraordinary.”

Tickets for Friday’s Pride concert are here.








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