© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

WEB EXTRA: Interview with Idina Menzel

Tony Award winning performer Idina Menzel has had a career on stage, in films and television, and in music. This weekend, she joins the Kansas City Symphony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kansas City Young Audiences.

By Steve Walker


Kansas City, Mo. – Performer Idina Menzel appeared in the original casts of "Rent" and "Wicked" (she won a Tony for Best Actress as Elphaba). Currently, she has a recurring role on the musical television program, "Glee."

Arts Education at a Young Age

"I was very fortunate to be in choir and school plays and speech and debate, all those things that I can't imagine not having had those in my upbringing, especially being a kid who needed to express herself so fully through music and acting."

Importance of "Glee"

"I think that for other children all over the world to see themselves on television when they don't normally see themselves depicted in such successful shows, it's definitely a way of really honoring those kids and who they are. And so many of them - who might feel different or afraid to come out, just idiosyncratic - they feel honored to see themselves up on that screen."

Early Years for Husband, Actor Taye Diggs

"(As a child) he didn't feel like he belonged. He didn't come from money. He moved around a lot as a kid. Then in high school, his mom enrolled him in a school of the arts, and he just completely changed. As a kid, (then) as a man, he found out who he was."

On the Longevity of "Wicked"

"She (actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth, who starred on Broadway in "Wicked" with Menzel) and I have talked about it many times. You just go with your gut and what feels good. It was striking a chord with people and we knew it was special even in its early workshop days."

Kansas City Young Audiences 50th Anniversary Celebration (SOLD OUT)
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Kansas City, Mo.

Download recent arts stories or subscribe to the KCUR Arts Podcast

Since 1998, Steve Walker has contributed stories and interviews about theater, visual arts, and music as an arts reporter at KCUR. He's also one of Up to Date's regular trio of critics who discuss the latest in art, independent and documentary films playing on area screens.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.