Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Idina Menzel's first concert in Montreal a huge success

Three years ago my family and I travelled to Boston to see international singing superstar IdinaMenzel perform. The drive was well worth it as this Tony Award winning gem puts on quite a show.

When I got a chance to interview Menzel at that time I naturally asked if she had plans to ever come to Montreal. “I’d love to,” she said, urging her press agent to look into the possibility.

Last December Menzel announced plans for a world tour and Montreal was on the schedule for September 1, 2015 at the Place des Arts. It seemed like a long way off when we purchased tickets, but well worth the wait. More than 3,000 Idina fans packed Montreal’s finest hall for a spectacular performance. The audience was composed of people of all ages and this included the very young thanks to the fact Menzel voiced the character of Elsa from the blockbuster animated film Frozen.

Following Menzel’s Boston concert, we went to New York City twice to see her most recent Broadway musical If/Then. We then waited patiently for September 1. Earlier this summer publicist extraordinaire Arlene Slavin arranged a telephone interview for me with Menzel – tidbits of which I will share later in this article. But first about this concert. Menzel entered the stage singing Defying Gravity from the Tony Award winning Wicked, in which she had the leading role of Elphaba the green witch. The crowd rose to its feet.
Menzel on stage.

“This is my first time in Montreal,” Menzel shouted to the crowd. “What an exquisite city.”

Backed up by a 16 piece orchestra, some of whom were hired locally for this night only, she performed for a solid two hours straight. There were no breaks or intermission. Menzel is the ultimate entertainer. She engages her audience with short anecdotes and makes her way into the crowd on certain occasions. Following a series of numbers, including selections from Joanie Mitchell, Cole Porter, Ethel Merman and the Police’s Roxanne, she took her shoes off and treated the stage like her living room. This led to the song Creep. “Sometimes you wake up in the morning and you do not feel like getting out of bed,” she said. “Maybe somebody broke your heart…and you want to put the covers over your head.”

When Menzel performs the song Take Me or Leave Me from Rent, she does more than merely sing it. This becomes one of the highlights of the show for she gives people from the audience, young and old, a chance to sing it with her. As she walked through actual rows of seats one man stopped to make it clear that he did not want to sing out loud. “But can I get a selfie with you?” she consented.
 
Alex Cohen gets to sing with Menzel.
We got to hear a song from If/Then, a superb musical which comes to Toronto in April. Go to www.mirvish.com/shows for more details. Her acapella presentation of another song from Wicked, minus a microphone, was sensational. She saved perhaps the best for last, theme song from Frozen “Let it Go!” At this time she invited all of the young girls to join her up front and they did so with great enthusiasm. See this video clip. Frozen, for which the sequel is said to be set for 2018, has provided Menzel with a new generation of fans. Her encore consisted of a new young she wrote for her son and the classic “The Sun will come out tomorrow from Annie.”

Everyone left the hall very happy. A better performance we could not have asked for. Thank you Princeton Entertainment and Ruben Fogel Productions for making it happen.

 “I try to keep my concerts fun,” Menzel told me in my interview earlier this summer. “Singing in front of live audiences is simply what I love to do.”
 
Menzel brings youngsters up to sing  Let It Go near the end of the concert.
Frozen, which became the highest grossing animated film of all time at $1.3 billion, is destined for a sequel. “It was a career game changer, that’s for sure,” Menzel said. “Anytime you do something with Disney, it has the potential to become big. I just never thought   it would become this kind of phenomenon. It presented me with opportunities I never had before while the impact it has had on young children is a real gift.”

After the present tour, Mendel plans to help join the national tour of If/Then. “I want to be there for some of the openings,” she said.  “This musical is dear to my heart. There are some television opportunities percolating. Of course I want to spend time with the family and get my son set in school.”

If/Then starred Menzel as Elizabeth, a city planner emerging from a failed marriage. She also played Liz, a city planner emerging from a failed marriage. They're the same woman, of course; the show extrapolates her life in two different directions from one moment of choice.

No comments:

Post a comment