Concert: Idina Menzel, Marvin Hamlisch, New York Philharmonic

NEW YORK — Idina Menzel, the Tony-winning “Wicked” star, was making her Philharmonic debut with a one-woman show over the weekend, part of an ongoing concert tour. And despite the rarified environment of Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, she wasn’t going to ignore any Gleeks that might have been lurking in the audience — fans, that is, of the Fox megahit “Glee,” on which she has a recurring guest role.

And so Menzel and the orchestra, conducted by none other than Marvin Hamlisch, launched into “Poker Face,” the Gaga song she’d performed on the show with Lea Michele, who plays the lead character Rachel.

Idina Menzel

The sellout crowd clearly did include some Gleeks, who squealed at the first mention of the show, and yelped when she began “Poker Face.” She dished a little, telling the crowd how she’d had a glass-half-full, glass-half-empty reaction to her new role: Thrilled to be on the show, but shocked that she’d be playing a mother to an actress who is 24. (Menzel is 39.) “It wasn’t one of my best days,” she quips of that realization.

The actress also pleased the “Wicked” fans in attendance with a couple of songs from that blockbuster show, in which she originated the role of Elphaba: the mournful “I’m Not That Girl,” and, as a finale, the showstopper “Defying Gravity” — one of the few moments of the concert in which the orchestra, going full force, threatened to drown out even Menzel’s huge voice.

Watch: Idina Menzel


In between, there was a wide range of music, sometimes within the same number: A Cole Porter song, “Love for Sale,” morphed into “Roxanne” by The Police. And from the groundbreaking musical “Rent,” her first Broadway show, there was “No Day But Today.”

There were also two iconic songs made famous by her idol, Barbra Streisand — “Funny Girl” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade” — accompanied by an amusing anecdote about meeting Streisand at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2008. (After singing to Streisand, an endeavor that made her hugely nervous, Menzel was then ignored by the iconic singer at dinner, until Streisand peered at her and said: “Did you sing to me? I didn’t have my glasses on. You were good.”)

Arriving onstage for an encore, Menzel was implored by Hamlisch to perform one of his own compositions; she obliged with “What I Did for Love” from “A Chorus Line.” She also sang a lovely, adult version of “Tomorrow” from the show “Annie,” which she dedicated to her mother.

But a true highlight of Menzel’s singing had to be the moment when she lowered the microphone and sang one more “Wicked” song — “For Good.” Voice totally unenhanced, she was still able to reach the rafters.

Source: Jocelyn Noveck, AP National Writer



  1. Hi Marvin! Thanks for the all the great music!
    Idina menzel doing Jimmy Webb on new cd / dvd (a nice version of J.W. tune “Asleep on the wind”)
    I am dear friend of Jimmy Webb and wife Laura, who was at “my place” in Denmark for a concert early in 2011.
    I flew to Tucson, Arizona to meet a dear friend of mine who is married into family Linda Ronstadt — and she one of the most mention lady in the music history in any songs — and it is not Linda!
    After there I flew in to Austin, Texas to be as all years since 2004 to The Mickey Newbury Gathering there in town!
    Dear friend to family Newbury, Susan and the top singing children and even dear Miss Mamie Newbury (91), Mickey mother, who always call me darling!
    Mickey N. (1940–2002) is as you and Jimmy W. also a music legend, and Mickey knew about me and sign a rare cd just to me.
    Mickey N. had one of the BEST EVER tenor voice someone ver have heard!
    Erik in Denmark!

  2. I saw Wicked in Chicago, too. I have to say it was a pretty awesome show. I had read the book before we saw it and while the musical was different from the book it was amazing to see the story play out on the stage. No big ugly tears moment for me but I do remember thinking how differently I felt about the Wizard of Oz after seeing Wicked!! Daniel