Warning: Fangirl post ahead. Proceed with caution…
If you know me if any capacity greater than “her“, you’re probably aware of my ever-so-slight infatuation with Idina Menzel. If you don’t know who she is, she’s worth a Google. But, to save you a bit of time, I’ll go over the basics: Broadway superstar, Tony award winner, phenomenal singer, actress, and overall awesome live performer.
In spring 2004 while on a high school trip to New York we went to see a little show called Wicked. Believe it or not, it was still a relatively little show at the time! This was during it’s original Broadway run, before the Tony’s, the tours, the media frenzy, and the general insanity that was/is the Wicked hype truly took hold. I’d not heard of the show before that trip. In fact, I recall us even debating showing up for it because the Harry Potter cast was going to be down the street at Radio City at the same time. Thank goodness we went!
We sat in the back row of the top balcony, and I had forgotten my glasses back in Canada. Figures! So, I started watching a blurry performance of a show I knew nothing about. And then this green/blue figure appeared on the stage and started singing The Wizard and I, and I was hypnotized! As the show went on I was completely entranced by this woman’s voice, and was so gutted when the show was over.
When I arrived home from the trip I immediately got my hands on the album and started learning a bit about the cast. I will admit, I didn’t get overly obsessed immediately for some strange reason. But during my first year of university it really started to stick! I started getting my hands on Idina’s music (theatre, albums, live show recordings, anything that was out there), and by my second year I was slightly crazed. That was the year she opened London’s West End production of Wicked and I even found myself trying to figure out a way to get there to see it! I didn’t, of course, but lived vicariously through friends I’d met in her fandom who went. It was a fun year.
Like all obsessions, it faded a bit after that year. But, I still completely adored her! And, as it happens, she was signed by Warner Brother records, released an album, and did her first tour. And there was even a date in Toronto. So, my mom got us tickets, and I finally saw Idina in concert on November 7th, 2008. And it was awesome! At this time I didn’t know much about stage-dooring, and being with my mom she insisted we get out as quickly as possible. But, that was okay. The concert was a lot of fun, and I was happy to have just been there.
This first tour had a strict no photography rule, so I sadly only got a few terrible shots on my phone, like this:
Having heard so many recordings of her previous live shows (Zipper, Ars Nova, etc) I knew what to expect going in. She forgets her own lyrics, swears like a sailor, and changes her stories. A lot. Her performance style is fabulous, lively, and fun. It’s what makes seeing her shows such a treat.
Another few years passed, and my love for Idina remained. I saw her films, watched her shows, and continued to listen to her music. And, what luck, in 2011 she went on tour again! This time with a symphony behind her. I could not contain my excitement! Idina has a powerhouse voice, and putting a full symphony behind her was so very fitting.
On September 17, 2011 I drove solo to downtown Buffalo to see her perform with the Buffalo Phil Harmonic. It was an absolutely phenomenal performance that blew her previous concert out of the water. She was as funny and charming as ever, and this time had the accompaniment to support the sheer diversity of her performance.
The lighting in this venue was poor, so I wasn’t able to get good pictures. But, they beat the previous shows’, so that was a win. And to top it off, I got to meet Idina in all of her glory after the show! She didn’t take photos, as she was feeling under the weather, but she still went through the block long queue to sign for everyone waiting.
And, believe it or not, my luck only increased when they announced that PBS would be filming a live performance in Toronto, where I just happened to be living for grad school! What?! So, I a friend and I immediately grabbed some side balcony seats and squeed with excitement.
And come to the week of the performance, I get a Groupon offer for $20 rear view seats. Now, they were filming the concert over 2 nights, and we’d gotten tickets for the second. And paid way more than $20… So, I decided day-of to just splurge and get the ticket for the first performance. And I’m so glad I did. Turns out they seats were fantastic! The acoustics were slightly off, being behind, but knowing I was seeing it the next night, I didn’t worry too much about it. So, on November 17th and 18th 2012 I watched the filming of Barefoot At The Symphony (watch it all, it’s hilarious):
Seriously, who else but Idina Menzel could get a Julliard trained symphony, conducted by the incomparable Marvin Hamlisch, to perform a Glee version of Lady Gaga? They also cut out the numerous (and I mean numerous!) cursing fits for the DVD version posted. Heh.On the second night Catherine and I waited for hours and hours at the stage door, and were able to meet and get a photo with Idina!
This past summer it was announced that she would be doing a UK tour starting in October. And, I just so happened to be moving to London in August! I couldn’t not get a ticket. But, I resisted my inner fangirl and only got a ticket to one show. On October 14th, 2012 I went to see a matinee performance at the London Apollo Theatre. I got second row seats, the best I’d had before, brought along my trusty Canon, and enjoyed the wonder that was another Idina concert. And this time, managed to get some photos I’m quite proud of!
Sigh. I don’t know when/if I’ll get the chance to see Idina perform again, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m more than happy with the experiences I’ve had! But, if there’s a date I can easily get to, I certainly wouldn’t pass it up… ; )
(And a note: I got to see Kristin Chenoweth when she came to Toronto this past summer and got the Playbill pictured above signed by her as well! Mission accomplished!)
Alright. Fangirling over. We now return to our regularly scheduled programme.