Tony-Award winner Idina Menzel is not one to shy away from portraying complicated characters.
As the original Elphaba in the Broadway smash hit “Wicked,” she showed audiences the human side of the so-called Wicked Witch of the West. As Elsa in “Frozen,” she forever changed the Disney princess archetype with her portrayal of a strong yet flawed female character who doesn’t need a prince to solve her problems.
Two of Menzel’s upcoming projects are fairytales with a modern twist. Heavy had a chance to catch up with Menzel on her newest films, an exciting milestone in her career, and whether she’ll be singing in the “Enchanted” sequel.
Will Menzel Sing in ‘Disenchanted?’
Back in 2007, Disney’s “Enchanted” introduced us to the cartoon fairytale world of Andalasia. When Andalasian Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) is pushed into a well by an evil queen, she finds herself in the live-action real world of New York City.
Menzel plays Nancy, who can’t help but notice that her divorce lawyer boyfriend (Patrick Dempsey) has a new twinkle in his eye after meeting the strange but sweet Giselle. The film ends with Giselle staying in Manhattan with Robert and Nancy going to Andalasia to marry the clueless but kind Prince Edward (James Marsden).
Although the film was a musical, Menzel didn’t sing a note in “Enchanted.” Will she be singing in the upcoming sequel, “Disenchanted?”
“I sing a lot,” Menzel told Heavy. “I have a beautiful song that Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken wrote for me. It’s a soaring, incredible romantic anthem. I feel really lucky that they wrote it for me.”
Stephen Schwartz’s composer credits include the Broadway musicals “Wicked,” “Pippin,” and “Godspell.” Alan Menken has written music for countless Disney films including “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid.”
A New Take On ‘Cinderella’ Marks a ‘Milestone’ in Menzel’s Career
“Cinderella,” starring Camila Cabello as the titular role, premieres on September 3 on Amazon Prime. Menzel plays the villainous stepmother. The “Wicked” star told Heavy that she tried to bring more depth to the well-known character.
“She’s less of the archetypal nemesis,” said Menzel. “I think we’ve humanized her a little bit more and given her more layers. We see why she acts the way she does, we discover that her experience in life and her disappointment has made her disillusioned and discouraged.”
The “Cinderella” soundtrack includes covers of popular songs as well as some originals. Menzel and composer Laura Veltz wrote an original song for the film, which Menzel will perform as the stepmother.
“It’s a real milestone for me in my career,” Menzel told Heavy. “It feels really special when you’re on set as a character and you’re singing a song you wrote for yourself.”
Menzel Will Reprise Her Role as Elphaba
It’s been a devastating year and a half for New York’s theatre community. In March 2020, Broadway theatres were forced to close their doors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning in September, The Great White Way will finally be open to audiences once more. To mark the joyous occasion, Menzel will be performing in the PBS special “Wicked in Concert.”
The concert premieres on August 29 at 9 p.m. Eastern. Menzel told Heavy that revisiting her role as Elphaba comes easy, as she carries the character with her every day.
“She’s kind of always with me whether I’m onstage singing her songs in concert or just trying to remember the message she’s known for, the idea of really harnessing our power and not being afraid of being our greatest, most powerful self. That’s something that I have to remind myself of all the time,” said Menzel.
It’s also a joy for Menzel to reunite with Kristin Chenoweth, who originated the role of Glinda. “Anytime Kristin and I can get back together and celebrate the longevity and the success of something that we helped to create, it feels so good to us and we just feel so fortunate,” said Menzel.
Menzel’s Funny Experience Seeing ‘Wicked’
Now that Broadway is reopening, Menzel thinks she’s due to go see “Wicked” again. The last time she tried to see the show, it didn’t go so well.
“I brought my son when he was only around 4 years old and he was so rambunctious and made such a scene that everyone around me was getting annoyed,” the “Frozen” star said, confessing that she had to leave during intermission.
Not wanting the performers to think she hadn’t enjoyed the first act, Menzel reached out to them. “I wrote this long letter saying that I would be back and that my son was embarrassing me. So I have to bring my son back now that he’s turning 12 and he’ll really appreciate it,” she told Heavy.
Notes and letters are a love language for Menzel, which is why her current collaboration with Rice Krispies Treats feels so fitting. Ahead of the new school year, Rice Krispies Treats is doing a giveaway of their “365 Days of Love and Support Kits” to help parents connect with their children on a daily basis.
Kits include a daily planner with inspirational prompts for parents and children, a year’s supply of Rice Krispies Treats, and a pen perfect for writing messages of love and encouragement on a loved one’s Rice Krispies wrapper.
“I always write little love notes to my son and put them in his lunch box. It’s something my mom did,” says Menzel. She believes that the Rice Krispies support kits are a great reminder for parents to check in with their children daily. “They are encouraging us as parents to really try to listen and be in tune with our kids,” she told Heavy.
Parents can enter to win a “365 Days of Love and Support Kit” from August 19-26. Everyone who enters will receive a digital version of the daily planner and a special note from Idina Menzel.
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