Idina Menzel Sings from If/Then, Discusses Motherhood, Developing New Characters, Her Name and More in Radio Interview (Plus Audio)

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25 Jul 2014

Tony Award winner Idina Menzel, currently starring in If/Then at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, stopped by WNYC Radio’s "Soundcheck" July 24 to record two songs from the new musical; she was also interviewed by host John Schaefer.

Menzel, who was joined by composer Tom Kitt, performed “You Learn to Live Without” and “Some Other Me."

Excerpts from her interview follow:

On developing new characters: “I try to seek out working with people on brand new material. It just takes a lot longer. People say, ‘Why haven’t you come back to Broadway in so long?’ These things take awhile to really develop.”

On motherhood: “When you talk about a dual character – it’s what it seems, but for me and for most women, it’s just different parts of the spectrum that we’re highlighting. They’re all me, they’re all of us. I’ve struggled with putting off having a child, worried that it would distract me from my ambition and my career. And then I realized once I had a child how that enriched my life, and me as an artist and as a woman. It’s constant, the balancing motherhood now with my performing and my career and the guilt that I’m constantly slaying myself with. But it’s wonderful to have a show that I can at least go and assess those things and work through them on stage.”



On younger fans seeing an “adult” side of Idina: “It’s not as much of a problem [at If/Then]. Actually, when I do my private concerts, that’s when I worry more. People come to bring their kids to hear 'Let It Go,' and I’m 43 years old and I’ve got stories to tell that aren’t necessarily appropriate. I don’t know how to do it so that I’m respectful but also true to myself.”

On her name: “It’s an Israeli name, a Hebrew name, it means gentle. I can be gentle, it depends who you ask. I was named after my great-grandmother Ida. In the Jewish religion, when someone passes, you name them after [them] and use the first letter.”

On recording a Christmas album as “a good Jewish girl from Long Island”: “A good Jewish girl from Long Island likes to make a Christmas tree. It might not have many colors – it might be all white lights and color-coordinated – but I still do the tree in my house.”

Listen to the complete session below: