Buoyed by her March 2 appearance on the Oscars, Idina Menzel is enjoying some well-deserved spotlight. Her moving rendition of the hit song Let it Go from Disney’s Frozen has helped the soundtrack stay solidly atop the Billboard 200 charts for the last five weeks and counting, and Menzel herself says she is a little surprised that she actually hit number one with a Disney-arranged song.
In fact, Menzel’s performance of the song has even soared past the singles version of the song, sung by pop songstress Demi Lovato. Lovato has impressive vocals to carry off the anthem, but while Lovato’s version now sits at #61 after reaching a peak position of #38, Menzel’s has continued to sit at #18. Both have been on the charts for 13 weeks, but Menzel’s version shows no signs of going anywhere anytime soon.
The Broadway megastar – likely best known for her Tony-winning turn as Elphaba in Wicked – has also shown up in recurring spots on Glee and is about to hit the Broadway stage again in If/Then, which starts previews on Broadway today and officially opens March 30. Early reviews from Variety say Idina Menzel does not disappoint, as If/Then is almost a perfect showcase for both her acting talents and her soaring soprano.
As for the media flurry surrounding John Travolta’s mangling of her name, Menzel seems to laugh it off. She embraced Travolta following her Oscars’ performance and although Travolta is being ribbed mercilessly for his “Adele Dazeem” flub, he admits that he, too, has to Let it Go.
Travolta’s flub has even led to Slate.com’s creation of a meme where users can Travoltify their names. John Travolta’s name turns out to be “Jan Thozomas” when put through the generator, and while there are still questions as to how Travolta managed to mangle the songstress’ name so badly when he apparently nailed it in rehearsal, Idina Menzel is certainly not frozen by her moment. The success of the chart-topping Frozen soundtrack, featuring her soaring vocals on Let it Go, has led to one of her dream gigs – singing at the Academy Awards.
Menzel even showed echoes of the young character she plays in who she chose to bring as her date; her younger sister, a Grade 2 teacher. Menzel says she was far fiercer as a young woman than she is currently, and was less likely to take no for an answer.
In addition to her return to Broadway, Menzel is also focused on her starring role in son Walker’s life. Now 4 years old, Walker and Menzel enjoy dinosaur playdates, though Menzel says between her performance at the Oscars and preparing for her Broadway role, the two keep missing each other. She notes that she can connect easily to her role of a divorced woman trying to reinvent herself in a move to New York. She and her husband of 10 years, actor Taye Diggs, announced their separation late last year.
In spite of some personal turbulence, though, Idina Menzel is clearly not frozen; she has a hit soundtrack that has topped the charts, a hit animated movie, and a Broadway debut in her future. She appears determined to continue on her wicked winning streak.
By Christina St-Jean