Idina Menzel perplexed but enjoying the moment as 'Frozen' heats up pop charts
A few days before the Oscars, Menzel was doing triple duty: She was readying her performance that would put her in front of 43 million faces; she was gearing up for the new musical; and the third — and leading — priority was motherhood. This particular day, she kept her son Walker from school and cancelled her nail appointment to "play dinosaurs" with her 4-year-old.
"We keep missing each other," she explained.
Menzel said she usually learns a thing or two from the characters she portrays — whether it was her breakthrough as Maureen Johnson in "Rent" or Elphaba in "Wicked," which won her a Tony in 2004. She has also starred on Fox's "Glee," playing the mother of Lea Michele's character.
Her latest role as Elizabeth — who is being pulled in two directions in "If/Then" — may seem parallel to Menzel's personal life, since she and actor Taye Diggs announced they were separating after 10 years of marriage last year.
"I've been lucky to have roles that teach me about myself at a time when I need to hear it — so I am learning while I'm in the role creating and rehearsing. Then I find a way in my own process to be able to leave it at the door and move on," she said. "But I also find a way to integrate it into what I need to do as a human being to evolve and become a better person. This particular show ... it's about a woman starting over and not trying to control every outcome and the choices we make as opposed to fate and what's destined and what isn't."
Menzel even says she's been able to relate to her young character in "Frozen": "I always say, when I was younger I was more fierce than I am now. I wouldn't have taken no for an answer. It's the older you get, and even more successful, that you start to doubt yourself."
But Menzel isn't living in regrets — and she even has useful advice for young performers, and her younger self.
"You just have to keep doing what you love and try not to worry about following the rules," she said. "And it may not work out, but if you're really good at some point the stars align and then things happens."
Follow Mesfin Fekadu at twitter.com/MusicMesfin
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