L.A. is fine — the sun shines most of the time — but in New York, you get to do things like meet Idina Menzel, who, in case you’ve been living under a rock, originated the role of lesbian Maureen in Rent and witch Elphaba in Wicked (for which she won a Tony). She’s also appeared in the film Enchanted and played rival choir director and Rachel’s mother on Glee.
Idina is about to kick off a new leg of her tour on Oct. 28, beginning with three shows at the Kennedy Center. Yesterday, she sat down with a group of journalists, bloggers and tweeters at NYC’s Joe’s Pub to talk about the prospect of playing gay again and if there will ever be a Wicked movie.
Joe’s Pub is an intimate performance space with a stage, a bunch of cocktail tables, and a couch running along the back. All the New York bloggers seemed to know each other and were congregating at the tables so I shyly took a seat on the couch. Idina walked in with no fanfare and, shunning the stage, plopped herself down on the couch as well. She took questions for about an hour and was extremely soft-spoken and self-deprecating, but very eloquent. After the event, she stood outside alone and thanked everyone for coming. Here are some highlights (other than my own highlight of proximity)!
What Jonathan Larson said to her before Rent premiered:
On missing New York:
With whom she would like to duet:
If you’re going to marry a man, why not have it be Taye Diggs? Idina and Taye got together during Rent and have a 13-month-old boy together. He currently stars on Private Practice.
Does she watch Private Practice regularly?
When asked if she would work with Taye again:
Idina later revealed she wrote "eat me" on her derriere to tease Taye on the last performance of Rent.
When asked about the possibility of a Wicked movie:
On removing green makeup night after night:
On whether she was paid by Neutrogena to say that:
And I finally got around to asking some big gay questions.
AfterEllen.com: You obviously have a huge gay following and a lot of the projects that you do, you’ve played a lesbian or they are gay-centric projects. Is that something that just happened or did you actively try to be —
AE: Well certainly Rent, but also Wicked, I think gay people really identify with that play and some see it as a metaphor for being gay.
AE: You did the "Give a Damn" campaign.
AE: So clearly your heart is in this.
As for what’s next, Idina announced that she’s recording a new album. No release date is set yet. She said she hopes there will be a sequel to Enchanted and hopes to be a part of it. She also has started a foundation called "A Broader Way," with the goal of opening a summer camp in the Berkshires for underprivileged girls. The campers would perform a night on Broadway. How cool is that?!
You can find more information about the upcoming tour at idinamenzel.com