Menzel’s voice has always been a force of its own. Her consistent career as one of Broadway’s best has definitely given her a leg up on her own pop material. Known initially as the originator of Maureen Johnson in the coveted musical Rent, Menzel has become a beloved Broadway star through originating the role of Elphaba from Wicked. Between the wondrously tragic character and Menzel’s show-stopping voice, Menzel’s immortalization was quick to happen. Arguably, it wasn’t until her debut as Elsa in Disney’s Frozen that she was really solidified as one of show business’s biggest assets. “Let It Go” was an absolute phenomenon, nabbing the film an Oscar and a Grammy.
Menzel’s voice has always stunned with its ability to flawlessly take on a variety of textures. From more gentle, melismatic tones to grander, belting melodies, Menzel can easily wow live audiences. Her voice matches her spectacular stage ability, which can easily carry on a show of its own. Menzel’s meteoric rise to becoming one of Broadway’s best is easily explained by her level of talent. So, it’s no surprise that Menzel also made a foray into the pop world.
Not many know that some of Menzel’s first projects included making albums. While her debut Still I Can Be Still initially struggled to make waves, Menzel’s popularity helped it rebound back. Her EP Here was recorded shortly thereafter. But Menzel’s moment truly came with the release of I Stand. This album netted 80,000 in sales and hit #58 on the Billboard 200. The mix of contemporary pop balladry and adult-contemporary vibes capitalized well on Menzel’s voice and songwriting ability.
Menzel followed I Stand with her successful Christmas album, Holiday Wishes, which hit the top on the Billboard 200. A delightful reinterpretation of Christmas classes like “Silent Night,” “River,” and Mariah Carey’s classic “All I Want for Christmas is You,” Mendel’s Christmas album is the new contemporary standard for holiday records.
It’s then all the more amazing to see Menzel slip into her latest sound—with her newest album idina.—which is her most personal record thus far. Finding a nice mix of Menzel’s theatricality and impressive voice combined with her more intimate impulses, idina. is a wonderfully crafted record. And it’s particularly notable that with the exception of two tracks, all of the music was co-written by Menzel. The result is an album filled with rich, emotive pop that exemplifies what we love about her.
Her live performances make her a true wonder to see on stage. She has always been effortlessly able to balance her charisma with vulnerability, and this is as true live as it is in her albums. Menzel will be bringing her world tour to the Saenger Theatre on July 25. It’s the perfect opportunity to see one of the world’s most talented theater artists and vocalists perform showstoppers, pop hits, and more. Don’t miss out.
Idina Menzel plays the Saenger Theatre on Tuesday, July 25, at 8 p.m. For tickets, go to saengernola.com.