–By Marie Taylor
–Photos by Jen Cunningham
It was a packed house on Tuesday, August 15th at The Fabulous Fox as the whole town came out to welcome singer Idina Menzel to the Midwest. The crowd was full of anticipation to see the star of such renowned musicals as Rent, Wicked, and Frozen, and both adults and children (of which there were quite a few) waited excitedly for the show to begin.
That anticipation was warranted, because Idina Menzel brought her full attention and energy to the night, often joking with various members of the audience (even those sitting in the balcony). When not poking fun at herself or members of the audience, Menzel shared stories about her life and the inspiration behind many of the new songs sung that night. Blunt, humorous, and extremely genuine, Menzel charmed the crowd with her personality and her performance.
The atmosphere of the show was upbeat and charming, and the set itself seemed to be inspired by the lights and glamour of Broadway coupled with the laid back and warm energy of the West Coast. In other words, it was a perfect representation of Idina herself. The lighting was dazzling (literally and figuratively), and Idina’s band was just as captivating as the lead singer. Multi-talented musicians and singers kept up with the star as she strutted around the stage and conversed with the audience.
Of course, what many Idina Menzel fans want to know is if they will hear the star’s most famous hits during the show. I will say that many of the songs she is known for were played, but there was also a nice mixture of new songs or covers of pop ballads to keep the evening fresh.
I won’t give too much away, but a song that stars with “D” and rhymes with “Lefying Schmavity” was played, as were others. The ones that received the biggest reactions from the crowd included two from Rent and that kinda-big Disney movie…what’s it called again? I seem to remember an ice queen and a reindeer being involved…Oh well, I’ll think of it later.
A friend of mine (who is OBSESSED with musicals) attended the show and was a little disappointed that some songs weren’t played and others weren’t sung in their original format. I disagreed with her assessment, but we concluded that it was a matter of personal taste, as Idina’s voice still knocked those tunes out of the water. No matter your preference, Menzel’s strong presence and beautiful voice will blow you away.
One of the new songs that Menzel wrote that really had me grooving was “Cake”, which was written by Menzel as a tribute to her current relationship with fiancé, Aaron Lohr. A vivacious and sexier song, “Cake” from the album idina. is the perfect ballad to bid goodbye to an old boyfriend (or girlfriend), and welcome a new person into your life.
Another memorable new song from idina. was the powerful and heartbreaking “Perfect Story”, which was written for her son after the painful divorce of Menzel and her ex-husband. I had no intention of sobbing during any of Idina’s performances, but that almost changed after Menzel began singing this song. It’s a beautiful apology set to music, and as I looked around I noticed how many people were crying or moved in some way by this song. “Perfect Story” is very relatable and touching, so give it a listen if you feel like you need something worthy to cry about.
One of the most touching moments of the night was when Idina invited all the young children in the audience up to the stage to sing “Let it Go”. As a large group of children gathered off to the right side of the stage, Ms. Menzel led them through the chorus of the song, allowing different children to have the microphone all to themselves. It was a beautiful moment to see those kids up there with their idol “Elsa”, and it also gave them a chance to show the adults how singing that chorus line is done.
If you’re looking for a fun event that the whole family will enjoy, you can’t go wrong with attending a performance by Idina Menzel. Between the beautiful singing and genuine interactions, this is one evening I won’t forget anytime soon.