By the time Idina Menzel wraps her 39-city North American tour in October, her name should come rolling off even John Travolta's tongue. The big-voiced singer-actress, best known for her award-winning rendition of “Let It Go” in the Disney animated hit movie “Frozen,” was famously introduced by Travolta at the 2014 Academy Awards as “Adele Dazeem.”
Today, the Tony Award-winner (for “Wicked”) can laugh off the incident, as she preps for the next stops on her world tour, now in its U.S. half. That her audience will likely include young girls still smitten with Elsa, as well as more mature fans from her Broadway musical-turned-movie “Rent” and the more recent "If/Then," makes the assignment that much more challenging.
“I've always had to figure out how to navigate around a wide demographic,” Menzel says, “which is a very lucky thing, but can also be tricky.”
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Big arenas, small moments
Menzel will draw on her eight-shows-a-week Broadway chops to ensure she stays in the moment for each stop of the tour. “The thing I'm most proud of with my touring is my ability to give a very intimate performance and for people to feel like they really get to know me,” she says. “It's very important that I'm able to connect with every single person in the audience.”
Drawing on her “hits”
Although “Let It Go” counts as Menzel's only true radio hit, her repertoire includes material from her Broadway shows that mean as much to her audience, as well as covers of popular songs she can put her own stamp on.
“I consider songs like 'Defying Gravity' [from 'Wicked'] and songs from 'Rent' to be my other hit songs. My barometer for that is if I can put the microphone out and the audience can sing every word, then it's a hit,” she says.
For Menzel, who has spoken openly about the challenges of navigating a music and acting career as a divorced mom (her ex-husband is actor Taye Diggs), singing “Let It Go” has become a very personal anthem: “It speaks to me as a woman and as a reminder of the things that I think are important and the things I need to learn, [like] not hiding what makes us really powerful as women.”
See her live
Idina Menzel is in Philadelphia on July 16 at 8 p.m., at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Fairmount Park (5201 Parkside Ave.). Tickets are $29.50 to $125 at 215-546-7900 or www.manncenter.org.
On July 17 at 8 p.m., she performs at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, at 1000 Ocean Pkwy. in Wantagh, New York. Tickets are $20-$100 at 516-221-1000 or www.livenation.com.
On August 28 at 8 p.m., she'll make a Boston stop at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion (290 Northern Ave.). Tickets are $35-$125 at 617-728-1600 or www.livenation.com.