Idina Menzel is an idol in the world of musicals, and (even as a pre-teen) I was very distraught at the thought of never getting to see her perform live when she retired from touring shows in 2004 and took to working on television. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that Idina Menzel is finally returning to Broadway!
After her 10 year sabbatical, Idina Menzel is coming back to NYC to take the lead role in an all new production called If/Then.
Her career kicked off with Rent in 1996, moved on to Aida for a while with the role of Amneris and left the bright lights of Broadway after the tour of Wicked in 2004 after she cracked a rib falling through a trapdoor on the second to last performance. Since she left she has appeared in films and TV shows like Rent, Enchanted, Glee, is currently working on Disney’s newest animated musical, Frozen. She will be playing the voice of Elsa the Snow Queen.
In case you didn’t know, Idina is married to Taye Diggs who was in both the Broadway and film version of Rent as Benjamin Coffin III. I recently read in People that they have opened a performing arts camp for underprivileged girls, where she and her husband personally work with the girls.
Mrs. Menzel has been a very busy woman and it is obvious that she wouldn’t return to Broadway for just anything.
This should be an extremely promising production. She will be working again with director Michael Greif who started her career in Rent, producer David Stone who worked with her in Wicked and working with, for the first time, Brian York and Tom Kitt who wrote the music for both If/Then and Next to Normal. Tom Kitt wrote music for Bring It On: The Musical, American Idiot, Hair and High Fidelity. She will also be joined by LaChanze who won a Tony for her performance in The Color Purple. LaChanze will be playing the role of Kate.
In If/Then, Idina will play a character named Elizabeth who is on the verge of turning 40. As a chance for a fresh start and a new life, Elizabeth moves to New York. She meets Kate who is a new neighbor to Elizabeth and an elementary school teacher. Despite Elizabeth’s attempts to have a perfectly planned out life, the most random occurrences and tiny decisions will impact her life in ways she’s never dreamt possible. Producers say that this is an original, romantic new show about how “choice and chance collide and how we learn to love the fallout”.
There is one song from If/Then available at this point, sung by Idina Menzel, called ‘Learn to Live Without’ which has a different sound to it than I was expecting. It has an earthy feel to it. Seeing it in context to the show should be very moving indeed.
The pre-Broadway premiere will be at the National Theatre in Washington, DC November 5th through December 8th and will officially hit Broadway March 4th. (I’ll be doing a post about tickets and how to find tickets to this show on sale once I have everything finished.)
For those of you who have not had the privilege of hearing her perform, my favorite performance by her is from Wicked. It is a duet between her and her friend Galinda. The two of them started off despising each other and throughout the story they overcome their differences and a strong bond is built. I took my little sister to see Wicked a couple years ago after we found out she had cervical cancer and we have an exceptional affinity with this song. It is called For Good.
About the Author: Laura Bensen is a freelance writer with a passion for musicals. She spends her free time singing her heart out (when the house is empty) and searching for meaningful connections.