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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 14, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 33
Seattle (wholeheartedly) welcomes back Idina Menzel
Arts & Entertainment
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Seattle (wholeheartedly) welcomes back Idina Menzel

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

IDINA MENZEL
PARAMOUNT THEATRE
August 5


Unless you have been frozen in time, you have heard of Idina Menzel. Whether it is from her Broadway debut in RENT, her Tony Award winning performance as the green gal from Oz in WICKED, or John Travolta's now infamous mispronunciation of her name, it is difficult not to know the force that is Idina Menzel. As her World Tour continues across the country, Ms. Menzel appeared in Seattle on Wednesday night, August 5.

Ms. Menzel pretty much filled the Paramount with one of the widest ranges of audience members that could be imagined. Everything from little girls in Disney costumes up to the most devoted of 'Show Queens,' there was a princess everywhere you looked. Appearing more than half an hour late, Ms. Menzel burst onto the stage and opened her 'World Tour' with the song from WICKED, 'Defying Gravity.' Her powerful instrument in full belting mode, she easily reminded us why the number is indeed a show-stopper, and why Ms. Menzel won the Tony Award in 2004 for the role of Elphaba.

Ms. Menzel explained to the audience she was feeling frisky but that 'all the men in the audience are Gay,' and then the reason for her delay. She explained how she ran late for the plane only to find the doors already closed at the gate. She tried to bribe her way onto the plane with 'Don't you know any little girls who like Frozen?' but that it didn't work. But she made it, and that was the important factor.

She then continued on with a tribute to one of her mentors and sang, 'Don't Rain on My Parade.' The rafters in the theater rang easily! She eventually sang one of her songs from RENT, 'Take Me or Leave Me.' This song is a duet so, traditionally, Ms. Menzel descends to the audience and mingles, selecting random people to sing the alternative lead. The moment she started walking down the stage steps, however, audience members rushed towards the stage, causing her to retrace her steps back onstage. She went down the other side with a 'Now that was scary' commentary, only to be received on the other side by people blocking her way with offerings of flowers, posters proclaiming their devotion, or just wanting their five minutes of fame.

Once back on the stage Ms. Menzel turned up the volume and showed the audience why she is beloved. She sang an almost lullaby version of Jonathan Larson's 'No Day But Today.' The song is haunting enough and when Ms. Menzel lends her powerful vocal talent, there oughtn't be a dry eye in the house. She continued with songs from women that influenced her including Joni Mitchell and Ethel Merman. Then, with complete ease she moved into her hit song from If/Then*, 'Always Starting Over.'

The concert concluded with, of course, the mega-hit from the Disney movie Frozen, 'Let it Go.' Here again, Ms. Menzel went out into the audience and selected a little girl dressed like a princess, from the first few rows, and invited her to come up on stage. On the way back, Ms. Menzel selected another little girl and the three of them went up on stage together. Within moments, children from all over the theater were climbing over seats and running to the front of the theater. Like an expert, Ms. Menzel handled it perfectly and sang the song along with the children. 'I bet your parents aren't tired of this yet, are they?' she joked, holding the microphone for each child to sing a verse of the hit song.

The encore came with a hit song from yesteryear. 'This was the 'Let it Go' when I was a little girl,' Ms. Menzel explained. She proceeded to sing the hit song from Annie, 'Tomorrow.' During this number the guy next to me, literally, pulled his phone out of his pocket six separate times to record the encore. The final time, I'm sure my voice was preserved saying, 'Put your fucking phone away. Enough is enough!' Ms. Menzel didn't hear me.

It is without a doubt that audiences love Idina Menzel's performances. They will scream their devotion without hesitation not realizing this is a concert, not a conversation. And what's not to love? Her voice belts easily from one end of the theater to the other. Her choice of music has proven to be extremely popular. The parts she has played have proven to be wonderful role models, and John Travolta naming her 'Adele Dazeem' assured that the world would never get her name wrong again.

*SPECIAL NOTE: Idina Menzel will be appearing in the musical If/Then in Seattle, at the Paramount Theatre, November 3-8.

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Arts in Nature Festival
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Special concert slated for roof of Pike Place Market
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Marvelous Shaun the Sheep sheer animated perfection
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Ricki and the Flash a rocking good time
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