Many Broadway and showtune performers have a signature song that their star is forever hitched to. Some are lucky enough to have two. But Broadway sensation Idina Menzel can count at least three: “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, “Let It Go” from the animated Disney blockbuster Frozen, and from her new current Broadway musical If/Then, “Always Starting Over.” In an interview with the Toronto Star, Menzel spoke about how these songs defined her life and why she connected so strongly with her Wicked character.
When asked how she feels to have three songs eternally associated with her voice, she says, “I don’t know, I really don’t know. I’ve thought about it myself. It’s not that I’ve been so successful that I can just sit at home and wait for the perfect project with the perfect song to come along. Sometimes, it’s all about taking a job and paying the bills. But I do believe that you’re given things in your life that you need, things you can explore that are going to teach you something about yourself. Every role or character or song can come at a time in your life when it relates to what you’re going through and you learn how to use it.”
For example, Menzel points to her role in Wicked as an example of art reflecting life. As a teenager she often felt like an outsider because of her love of performing. She explains, “When I played Elphaba, I never realized it at first, but I was tapping into a lot of stuff from my teenage years. The one who tried too hard, the outsider, the oddball. Yeah, that was me.”
That role in particular taught Menzel to devote her passion to fueling her performances. She continues, “I had always been ashamed of my negative feelings, but by the time I started working on Wicked, I needed to learn that my power and my anger and my temper were actually something good and beautiful. I just needed to learn how to harness it.”