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Idina Menzel navigates the stage


Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel is a little bit of everything. She's a Broadway star ("Rent," Wicked"), TV actor ("Beaches," "Glee"), and she's the one belting out "Let It Go" from Disney's "Frozen." At the root of Menzel's drive is her amazing, sky-busting voice.

Menzel is bringing it to the CMAC stage to amaze and delight everyone within a 10-mile radius. See you there.

CITY gave Menzel a jingle at her home in Los Angeles to discuss who she is, what still inspires her, and a dream duet with Bono. An edited transcript of our conversation follows.

CITY: How was Japan?

Idina Menzel: It was great, really great. I'm in love with Japan. I brought my little boy and my 14-year-old nephew, who loves all things Japanese. It was wonderful. The first show of the tour was there.

Are you an actor who sings or a singer who acts?

I don't know. What do you think? I'd like to say I belong on both. I belong on the stage. Period. I'm comfortable there. It doesn't matter whether I'm in character or not. I just love live performance. I love feeding off the audience. I love being in the moment. I love happy mistakes.

What excites you still?

The energy from the audience, the reciprocity, the give and take. I love my musicians. I love feeding off my band. I love improvisation, whether it's in the music or just in the banter.

I just love the spontaneity of it. I've grown really comfortable with spontaneity. I actually prefer it. And I think that comes from doing Broadway eight times a week on a Broadway stage where you are at the risk of being stagnant and I'm always looking for a change, a nuance, something to throw you in a new direction. I welcome it. It doesn't scare me.

Do you prefer composing or covering other's material?

I don't love songwriting, especially by myself. I enjoy it now because I can get in a room with some pretty accomplished songwriters and producers. I like being able to throw out my ideas melodically or lyrically and have them help me construct them. But I don't like the solitary experience of it; I'm too hard on myself.

Who would be dream duet for you?

I've said for years and years I'd do anything to stand on stage with Bono.

Have you approached him with the idea?

I don't know him. I passed him in the hall at the Oscars. That's as close as I got.

What inspires you?

My child inspires me, he motivates me. You see everything through a new lens once you have a child. I'm kind of a homebody. All this touring I love, but I also enjoy this new home I have with my boyfriend and my son, nesting.

What's something your fans don't know about you?

I dunno ... They don't know to what extent I have anxiety sometimes on stage, but more in social settings. That's why I keep more to myself. I only go to parties when I have to. I guess another thing would be that I really struggle to reconcile my life experience with my age and that of my fan base, because people think my fan base is just little girls. But I've been around a long time. I've got people from the "Rent" days, the gay community has always been best friends. There's a wide demographic at shows where I really have to figure how to navigate an audience so I don't offend some mother who's brought her little girl and still be myself which is an East Coast, Long Island loudmouth.